The Education system in the UK

5 Reasons to Study in the UK

The United Kingdom (UK) is renowned for its excellent academic standards, engaging teaching methods, prestigious universities, and high levels of student satisfaction. UK universities frequently achieve high rankings in global university leagues tables, such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Times Higher Education Ranking, and QS World Rankings. Additionally, degrees earned in the nation are valued internationally and in high demand by employers. Let’s dive deeper to get detailed insights into UK education system.

How is the UK Education System Set Up?

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England are the four nations that have control over the UK’s educational system. In the UK, there are numerous educational systems, educational standards, and regional norms and regulations in each of these sectors. The main differences between general and secondary education in the UK are what give rise to the distinctive credit systems and diplomas for each region.

Key Levels

In the United Kingdom, there are five educational levels: primary, secondary, further education (FE), and further education (HE). All children must attend school between the ages of 5 (or 4 in Northern Ireland) and 16 years old. The term “FE” refers to non-advanced courses that can be taken in HE institutions and colleges for further (including higher) education (HEIs) but are not required. Study beyond the GCE A levels and their equivalents, or the fifth stage, is what is referred to as the higher education (HE) system in the UK. Full-time students frequently complete this stage in universities, other HEIs, and colleges.

All three and four-year-olds in England have been entitled to 38 weeks of free nursery education since September 2010. In the UK, early years education is given in a variety of contexts, including state-run nurseries, nursery classes, and reception classes in primary schools, as well as settings outside the state sector, including charity pre-schools, for-profit nurseries, or child-minding services. Recent years have seen a substantial expansion in early childhood education and childcare. The Education Act of 2002 added the Foundation Stage, which was first adopted in September 2000 and initially covered children’s education from the age of three to the end of the reception year, when children are age five, to the National Curriculum for England. 

British Primary Education

The primary stage is divided into three age groups: junior (for students in grades 11 or 12) and nursery (for students less than 5). However, infant and junior schools are often not separated in Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

The Early Years (from 3 to 5 years old) and Key Stage 1 (from 5 to 7 years old) of the National Curriculum have been integrated to form a single phase of education for children between the ages of three and seven, even if the types of schools are the same in Wales. Children in primary schools in England typically range in age from 4 to 11 years old. 

Most public primary schools have mixed classes, which include both boys and girls. Students often transition from elementary to secondary education at ages 12 or 11, respectively, in Scotland and England. However, some pupils opt to move through middle schools in England that cater to students between the ages of 8 and 14. Depending on their student numbers, middle schools fall into one of two categories: primary or secondary. All kids should acquire core literacy and numeracy skills by the end of elementary school. This will lay the foundation for later study in science, maths, and other subjects. 

Years 7 and 8 of Secondary School

Years 7 and 8 make up the first two years of secondary education in the UK. In some independent schools, they are a part of the junior school, whereas in others, they are a component of the senior school. All students must take English, maths, science, humanities and a modern language in the UK. Along with this, each school offers a selection of elective courses that students can choose from. this include classes in computer science, design technology, Latin, music, drama, sports science, and the arts. Seventh graders may take the Common Entrance Examination in some schools. November, January, and May/June exam dates are all available. The transfer from junior to senior school (years 8 to 9) may be impacted by the outcomes of the Common Entrance Exam for certain schools. 

Year 9 in secondary school

Year 9 is an important year in the British educational system since it is when the majority of students transition from junior to senior high school. It also acts as a gateway to all universities and a strong foundation for the GCSE programme. English, math, science, humanities, and languages are studied by students. Additionally, students choose a few subjects from each institution’s list of electives.

Years 10 and 11 of secondary education

In the final two years of secondary school, Year 10 and Year 11, students start studying for the GCSE exams at the age of 14. GCE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. For the GCSE programme, students in the UK’s educational system take nine to twelve courses. While some of them are chosen by each student depending on their skills and interests (such as English, Math, two or more sciences, history or geography, a current language, etc.), others are obligatory. At the end of the two-year GCSE programme, after passing exams in each subject they have studied, students receive their GCSE certificates.

Rear 12 and 13 A Level Study for University Preparation

A student can enrol in a two-year course of study leading to A (Advanced) level exams in the United Kingdom once they turn 16 years old. The majority of students decide to concentrate on three or four fields of study in college that are essential to their future employment. A-levels are recognised as adequate documentation of preparedness for higher education in the United Kingdom by all foreign institutions and universities. Students who successfully complete all necessary assessments are given A level Certificates at the end of their 13th year of school.

International Baccalaureate – IB

Few elite private institutions that participate in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme enable their pupils to enrol in classes in more than three or four topics. Six courses, three at the higher level (HL), the most challenging, and three at the standard level (SL), the easiest, must be completed by students enrolled in the IB curriculum. For HL and SL courses, each university provides a variety of subject areas. Three elements are required for the IB’s Core Curriculum (CAS): Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS). At the end of each unit, students are given a written exam covering the material they have learnt.

Foundation Courses in College

In the UK, 17-year-old international students can choose to register in a one-year foundation programme rather than an A-level or IB curriculum. These programmes are intended to help students get ready for independent tests that can be taken in place of A-levels. The credits from the college’s basic courses will be accepted by universities that have partnerships with community colleges. You’ll be ready to enrol in their degree programmes after you graduate from one of these institutions, some of which even provide prerequisite courses. We are able to help students get accepted to foundation and diploma programmes in London and across the entire UK because to the numerous connections Bright World has made with UK institutions and pathway providers.

DisciplineUndergraduate Courses
BusinessBusiness Administration, International Business, Finance
Computer ScienceComputer Science, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence
EngineeringMechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering
MedicineMedicine, Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacology
LawLaw, International Law, Criminal Justice
PsychologyPsychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology
BiologyBiology, Genetics, Ecology
LiteratureEnglish Literature, Creative Writing, Comparative Literature
HistoryHistory, Ancient History, Modern History
MathematicsMathematics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics
Art and DesignFine Art, Graphic Design, Fashion Design

College – Graduate Studies

In the UK, postgraduate education often comprises in-depth research in a specialized topic. Since most master’s degrees only take a year to finish, you can start working again sooner than your counterparts who earned their degrees in other nations. There is a huge variety of classes, including many highly sought-after specialized ones.

Requirements for entry

Prospective students should examine the specific requirements of their preferred university before submitting an application to one in the UK. Find out what courses are required for the degree you want to pursue.

However, there are some requirements that colleges and universities take for granted:

  1. It is expected that Level students take at least two subjects at that level.
  2. The competition is not much ahead of those who took four or five AS Levels in their final year of high school. Universities are aware that students cannot obtain AS levels because the majority of schools and institutions no longer offer them electives.
  3. For the majority of courses, candidates with at least two GCSEs—typically maths and English—will be given preference.

Instead of “general entrance,” some schools use the term “matriculation,” while others do not. This could be a list of prerequisites that all students need to fulfill, like

English language proficiency is necessary. Discredit brought on by a criminal record, as determined by a Disclosure and Barring Service check or something analogous. For occupations like medical and nursing, it would be comparable to taking a driving test. It’s best to double-check even if the vast majority of kids will be an excellent fit. In order to accept great individuals who do not meet such standards, several schools grant exceptions to their general entrance requirements.

Popular Study Courses in the UK

Business Administration (MBA):

Description: The MBA is a postgraduate degree that focuses on developing business management skills and knowledge. It covers areas such as finance, marketing, strategy, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The program prepares students for leadership roles in various industries and provides a global perspective on business.

Computer Science:

Description: Computer Science programs in the UK offer a comprehensive study of computing technologies, algorithms, software development, and computer systems. Students learn programming languages, database management, artificial intelligence, and computer networking. The program equips students with the skills needed for careers in software development, data analysis, cybersecurity, and more.

Engineering (Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, etc.):

Description: Engineering programs in the UK cover various specializations such as mechanical, civil, electrical, and more. Students learn theoretical concepts and practical skills related to their chosen field, focusing on design, analysis, and problem-solving. The programs prepare students for careers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, energy, and transportation.


Description: Medicine programs in the UK provide comprehensive training for aspiring doctors. Students learn medical sciences, clinical skills, patient care, and ethical considerations. The programs combine classroom learning with practical experience in hospitals and clinics. Graduates can pursue careers as medical practitioners, researchers, or specialists in various medical fields.


Description: Law programs in the UK offer a comprehensive study of legal principles, systems, and practices. Students learn about various branches of law, including international law, criminal law, and human rights law. The programs develop legal research, analytical, and advocacy skills. Graduates can pursue careers as solicitors, barristers, legal advisors, or work in legal departments of organizations.


Description: Psychology programs in the UK explore the scientific study of human behavior and the mind. Students learn about cognitive processes, developmental psychology, social psychology, and psychological research methods. The programs develop critical thinking, research, and counseling skills. Graduates can work in areas such as clinical psychology, counseling, human resources, or research.

Creative Writing:

Description: Creative Writing programs in the UK focus on developing students’ writing skills and creativity. Students explore various genres such as fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, and learn techniques for crafting compelling narratives. The programs provide workshops, mentorship, and opportunities to showcase creative work. Graduates can pursue careers as writers, editors, or work in the publishing and media industries.

Environmental Science:

Description: Environmental Science programs in the UK focus on the study of environmental systems, sustainability, and conservation. Students learn about climate change, biodiversity, environmental policy, and environmental management. The programs provide fieldwork and laboratory experience. Graduates can work in environmental consulting, conservation organizations, and government agencies, or pursue further research.

As an International Student studying in the UK 

As a foreign student studying in the UK, you should be aware that not all institutions of higher education in the country use the word “university.” This issue is governed by the law. A higher education institution is permitted by law to refer to itself as a “university” in the following circumstances:

  • In the event that approval is granted under the Companies Act of 2006 or the Further and Higher Education Act of 1992 by the Privy Council.

To study in the United Kingdom, international students from nations outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland must get a student visa. As soon as they turn 16, students from these nations can apply for a Tier 4 visa (General Student) to study in the UK. Before continuing, you should make sure you have enough money to support your living expenses while attending school there. With your visa application, you must provide evidence of your ability to pay for both your studies and living expenses.

The majority of undergraduate education in the United Kingdom is sponsored by the government, with students only contributing a tiny additional amount to cover costs, with the exception of the private Buckingham University and BPP University College. Students in the UK are aware of the academic hierarchy present in all of the institutions in the nation. 24 of the top public research universities in Britain make up the Russell Group. This elite group of universities includes institutions like the University of York, Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Birmingham. These organizations are all well-known in their respective professions and draw potential students from all over the world.

Student fees

In terms of prestige and cost, higher education in the UK is a case of you getting what you pay for. Before making any further arrangements for your studies, you should check the institution’s website because tuition costs can differ from one university to the next and from one administrative zone (England, Scotland, and Wales) to another. Undoubtedly, attending a university in the UK will cost a lot of money, whether you’re local or not. Fortunately, there are numerous scholarship programs available, so it’s worthwhile to check into them.

Permission to Work While Studying in the UK

The new graduate visa, which will go into effect on July 1, 2021, would enable international students to seek to stay in the UK for up to two years following graduation. You can apply for the visa even if you don’t have a work offer waiting for you when you arrive because it is employer-independent. You merely need to have graduated from a college or institution with a track record of upholding legal requirements in order to be eligible.

You are free to work or hunt for jobs after graduation regardless of your level of experience or education since the Graduate Route does not require sponsorship. You have complete freedom in the UK to select an internship, unpaid labour, or independent work. The number of international students who can use the Graduate Route to stay in the UK is not capped or subject to any defined income requirements. You will be qualified to shift to a skilled job path and continue to live in the nation after your visa expires if you are successful in finding employment in the UK within the first two or three years of your visa.

The UK’s Career and Salary Landscape

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average full-time salary in the UK was £38,600 in 2020, while the average part-time salary was £13,803. In the past, they predicted that the average full-time wage in the UK would be £36,611 in 2019, while the average part-time wage would be £12,495. Furthermore, the median annual wage for full-time workers climbed from the previous year to £31,461, while it stayed the same for those working fewer than 20 hours per week at £11,234 (an increase from the previous year).

Since the median pay in the UK is less likely to be skewed by a small number of exceptionally high earners, it serves as a more reliable comparison than the average compensation. The median pay serves as a true “middle point” against which your individual earnings can be measured. It is the wage that sits exactly in the middle of all the incomes. In contrast, the average is distorted by the top 10% of income, who each make at least £62,589 per year. According to the preliminary ONS projections, top executives will once again earn the highest wages of any occupation, surpassing even those of airline pilots.

A chief executive’s average annual salary is £97,083. Despite having the highest average pay, airline pilots’ incomes are typically more uneven, which lowers their median pay. Doctors and other medical professionals earned an average of £79,767 and a median income of £75,855, making them the second highest-paid profession.


The United Kingdom’s educational system is known for being among the best in the world. The British educational system normally consists of five distinct levels, from pre-school through secondary school, vocational training, and university (HE). British citizens must attend school (compulsory education) from the time they are three years old until they are sixteen years old. The educational systems in England, Scotland, and Wales all have certain distinctive characteristics despite having many things in common. These differences are not sufficiently significant to prohibit us from referring to the UK’s higher education system as a single system.

Make your route to your desired university in the UK with the help of study-abroad experts at Zoom Abroad Academy who have assisted many students just like you! Connect with us today for unlimited opportunities and a seamless experience in making your way into your dream business university in the UK! 

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