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uk usa education system
IMPORTANT CORRECTION: We have been advised that each part of the UK has a different school structure (e.g. Scotland does not use 'Key Stages') so when using this page please read "UK" as "England only". We will leave UK in some of the text for the time being as we know from visitor stats that many people use this as a search criteria.

USA school grades compared to English (UK) years and Key Stages have similarities but distinct differences too. Our table (below) provides a quick and simple guide to American school years compared to English (UK) stages and throws some light on that big question often asked here in England after watching an American school-based TV show .... "What on earth is a Sophomore?". (Turns out a Sophomore is equivalent to a Year 11 pupil in England). As it can be confusing for UK and American parents or teachers when a website says "Suitable for Key Stage 3" or "Suitable for 8th Graders" the table should also help them match internet resources to age and ability.

ROUGH GUIDE to US School Grades Compared to English (UK) School Years

Age UK Year (England Only) Key Stage (England Only) U.S. Level
 3 to 4 years  ----  Early Years  Pre-Kindergarten
 4 to 5 years  Reception  Early Years  Pre-Kindergarten
 5 to 6 years  Year 1 - Infants School
 (aka Primary School)
 Key Stage 1  Kindergarten
 (Elementary School)
 6 to 7 years  Year 2  Key Stage 1  1st Grade
 (Elementary School)
 7 to 8 years  Year 3 - Junior School
 (aka Primary School)
 Key Stage 2  2nd Grade
 8 to 9 years  Year 4  Key Stage 2  3rd Grade
 9 to 10 years  Year 5  Key Stage 2  4th Grade
 10 to 11 years  Year 6  Key Stage 2  5th Grade
 11 to 12 years  Year 7 - Secondary School  Key Stage 3  6th Grade - Middle School
 12 to 13 years  Year 8  Key Stage 3  7th Grade
 13 to 14 years  Year 9  KS3 (or KS4 for
3 year GCSE programmes)
 8th Grade
 14 to 15 years  Year 10  Key Stage 4  9th Grade (Freshman)
 - High School
 15 to 16 years  Year 11  Key Stage 4  10th Grade (Sophomore)
 16 to 17 years  Year 12 (6th Form) ----  11th Grade (Junior Year)
 17 to 18 years  Year 13 (6th Form)
 often used as a
 route to University
----  12th Grade (Senior Year)

In England - from September 2013 - the education leaving age increased to 17 years and then from 2015 it will increase once again to 18 years. This does NOT mean that young people have to stay in school until they are 17 or 18 but it does mean that they must stay in 'education or training' which could also include an apprenticeship, part-time education or training, home education, or even some types of volunteer work.

The table above is for guidance only and shows USA school years compared to years and grades in England. Please DOUBLE CHECK the above data on an official education website before you rely upon it for any purpose. It may be inaccurate or may have been superseded since we last checked it.

For further information and facts on the US school grades and education system, visit the most excellent and knowledgeable Wikipedia for a detailed description of the United States' Education System.

For further details of National Curriculum Key Stages take a look on

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