Understanding Key Stages

All schools in the UK follow a National Curriculum which is divided into 5 Key Stages:

School LevelKey StageYear GroupAge of Children
Primary11, 25-7
Primary23,4,5,67-11
Secondary37,8,911-14
Secondary410,1114-16
AS and A Levels512, 1316-18

At the end of KS (Key stage) 1 and 2, all students take Standard Assessment Tests (SATS) in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. Visit SATs Guide for more information.

At the end of KS4, pupils sit GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations in a variety of subjects. There are also some vocational qualifications which can be gained at this stage.

At the end of Year 12, the students take AS (Advanced Subsidiary) level examinations followed by A (Advanced) level examinations at the end of Year 13. This is the most common form of entry into university and other further education courses.