School Age Calculator UK
Enter country and date of birth to determine year of
entry into primary and secondary school
Child starts school in
[1st Year] in--
[2nd Year] in--
Grade Level Year of Entry
|School Stage||Grade Level||Entry Year|
Key School Information: --
What Age Do Children Start School?
Education in the United Kingdom starts with pre-school, known as nursery or kindergarten, followed by primary school and then secondary school.
In total the formal schooling system can run for a total of 14 years from reception through to Year 13.
Each country in the UK administers their own education program and there are significant differences in the entry requirements, key stages of school and naming conventions between each nation.
For parents looking to move between countries within the UK, admission rules and or exemptions are not transferrable between countries and parents should be mindful they may need to re-apply under the rules of the country they are moving to.
The table below outlines the child age for each school grade in the England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In the UK students start school in Reception at the age of 4 or 5 years old. In Year 1 students are 5 or 6 years old. In year 3 students are 7 or 8 years old. Students finish primary school in year 6 at the age of 10 or 11 years old.
As one of the key school years, students start secondary school in year 7 at 11 or 12 years old.
How Old Are You in Each School Grade?
|Age (Years)||England and Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
|3 - 4 yrs old||Nursery||Nursery||Nursery|
|4 - 5 yrs old||Reception||Primary 1||Primary 1|
|5 - 6 yrs old||Year 1||Primary 2||Primary 2|
|6 - 7 yrs old||Year 2||Primary 3||Primary 3|
|7 - 8 yrs old||Year 3||Primary 4||Primary 4|
|8 - 9 yrs old||Year 4||Primary 5||Primary 5|
|9 - 10 yrs old||Year 5||Primary 6||Primary 6|
|10 - 11 yrs old||Year 6||Primary 7||Primary 7|
|11 - 12 yrs old||Year 7||Secondary 1||Year 8|
|12 - 13 yrs old||Year 8||Secondary 2||Year 9|
|13 - 14 yrs old||Year 9||Secondary 3||Year 10|
|14 - 15 yrs old||Year 10||Secondary 4||Year 11|
|15 - 16 urs old||Year 11||Secondary 5||Year 12|
|16 - 17 yrs old||Year 12||Secondary 6||Year 13|
|17 - 18 yrs old||Year 13||Secondary 6||Year 14|
High School Graduation
Students in the UK will usually commence their final year, Year 13, at the age of 17 or 18 years old. At the end of the school year most students are 18 years when they graduate. Use the tool above to calculate what the year of high school graduation, noting students will finish the year after they commence their final year.
Admission into Pre School
Across all countries in the UK children may attend preschool prior to entry into the public schooling system, known as nursery or kindergarten.
Nursery is operated in childcare centres, crèches, nurseries, kindergartens or playgroups. These are run independently and are not part of the formal Government education system.
All countries in the UK have some form of government funding or subsidy available for pre-school and early learning. Pre-school is not mandatory but is taken up by the majority of students.
In England, any child who has turned 3 by September 1st is provided free childcare or preschool for 15 hours per week, up to 38 weeks a year, paid for by the government. Data suggests that by age of 4, 99 percent of children in Great Britian have started reception.
Admission into Primary School
The first year in primary school is reception, with children commencing in September in the year after the child has turn four. This means that the child must have turned four by the 1st of September to commence in that year. If the child is born between September to Dec they will start the following year. Following reception year, primary school then runs from Year 1 through to Year 6.
There are several variations to the standard entry age, exclusively for England as outlined below.
Children born between April and August, known as ‘summer born’ children, may apply to delay entry into school until the following year and start in September after they turn five.
The rules around delaying the year of entry are somewhat ambiguous as the child can either start in reception or move straight into Grade 1, and this is usually determined by the local admissions board.
The legislation around this is currently under review by the government but no outcome has been finalised at this stage.
Parents may also choose to defer their child’s entry into school to start mid way through the first year. The latest point at which the child can start is the start of the school term following their fifth birthday.
This is known as the compulsory school age, where once the child is 5 years old by either 31 December, 31 March or 31 August, they will start in the school term immediatley following.
In England and Wales, secondary education commences at Year 7, also known as first form, and runs through to Year 13, also known as sixth form, if the student is taking A levels.
Entry into secondary school in the UK is not subject to distinct age requirements, and the entry follows the students’ progression out of the primary school system.
The first year of primary school in Northern Ireland is known as Primary 1, with children commencing in September who have turned four by the 1st of July in that year. Children turning four after 1 July will start the following year. Primary school grades in Northern Ireland run from P1 to P7.
Northern Ireland currently does not have an option to defer entry for children who are born close the July 1 cutoff date e.g. those born in May or June. In recent years the government has announced it is considering policy options for any child to defer the entry year into primary regardless of birth date but this has yet to be finalised.
In Northern Ireland, after primary 7, secondary school starts in Year 8 and runs to Year 14.
The first year of primary school in Scotland is known as Primary 1, with children commencing in August who have turned five by the 1st of March in that year. Children turning five after 1st of March will commence school in the following year.
Scotland does have a deferral policy for younger children. Any child born in January and February can apply and will automatically be granted a deferral to the following year if they request it. In this case they will automatically be granted funding for an additional year in nursery.
Meanwhile parents of children born between the start of the autumn term (usually August) to the end of December can apply for a deferred entry, but the outcome is at the discretion of the admissions board and is not guaranteed.
In Scotland, after primary year 7, secondary school runs from S1 (Secondary 1) and runs through to S6 (Secondary 6).
The Welsh schooling system closely mirrors that of England. First year if primary school in Wales is reception, with children commencing in September in the year after the child has turn four. This means that the child must have turned four by 1 September in that year. Following reception year, primary school then runs from Year 1 through to Year 6.
In Wales, secondary education commences at Year 7, also known as first form, and runs through to Year 13, also known as sixth form, if the student is taking A levels.