What age do you start and finish school?
Many children start school in September after their 4th birthday.
However – if you do not think they are ready for school before this, or if they are young for that school year (born 1 April to 31 August), then they can start in the September after their 5th birthday.
All children should be in school by September after their 5th birthday, at the latest.
Children move to secondary school in September after their 11th birthday.
They must stay at school until they are 16.
In England, all students must continue with either study or training until they are 18.
They can choose to do this in school or at college.
Look at this School System Chart. It shows the age of the child on September 1st, level of school etc.
|Age on 1st |
|School Year||Key Stage||Start / Leave School||Level of schooling|
|Age 3||Nursery/Pre-school||Foundation Stage|
|Age 4||Reception||You can start school in September after 4th birthday. Maybe a mid-year start.|
You must start school by September after 5th birthday.
|Age 5||Year 1||Key Stage 1|
|Age 6||Year 2||Key Stage 1|
|Age 7||Year 3||Key Stage 2|
|Age 8||Year 4||Key Stage 2|
|Age 9||Year 5||Key Stage 2|
|Age 10||Year 6||Key Stage 2|
|Age 11||Year 7||Key Stage 3||You change schools in September after 11th birthday.||Secondary School|
|Age 12||Year 8||Key Stage 3|
|Age 13||Year 9||Key Stage 3|
|Age 14||Year 10||Key Stage 4|
|Age 15||Year 11||Key Stage 4|
|Age 16||Year 12||Post- 16||School or College or Work|
|Age 17||Year 13||Post- 16||Till aged 18, you must be in education, training, employment (e.g. apprenticeship)|
The school year
The school year starts in September, and ends in July. There are three terms during the school year. You can find out the dates of the school annual calendar here.
Find schools near you
You can also use the Schools Finder to search for schools in your area.
Search for a school in your postcode – and nearby postcodes.