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Lower School


Lower School

Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. It is preceded by pre-school or nursery education and is followed by secondary education. In North America, this stage of education is usually known as elementary education and is generally followed by middle school.

In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education although it is permissible for parents to provide it. The major goals of primary education are achieving basic literacy and numeracy amongst all pupils, as well as establishing foundations in science, mathematics, geography, history and other social sciences. The relative priority of various areas, and the methods used to teach them, are an area of considerable political debate.

Typically, primary education is provided in schools, where the child will stay in steadily advancing classes until they complete it and move on to high school/secondary school. Children are usually placed in classes with one teacher who will be primarily responsible for their education and welfare for that year. This teacher may be assisted to varying degrees by specialist teachers in certain subject areas, often music or physical education. The continuity with a single teacher and the opportunity to build up a close relationship with the class is a notable feature of the primary education system.

Traditionally, various forms of corporal punishment have been an integral part of early education. Recently this practice has come under scrutiny, and in many cases been outlawed, especially in Western countries.


Main article Education in Albania


Main article Education in Australia

In Australia, students undertake preschool then 13 years of schooling before moving to vocational or higher education.[1] Primary schooling for most children starts after they turn 5 years old. In most states, children can be enrolled earlier at the discretion of individual school principals on the basis of intellectual giftedness.[2][3][4] In Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory, ACT and Tasmania students then move through Kindergarten/Preparatory School/Reception and Years 1 to 6 before starting high school. In Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia students do Year 7 while still enrolled at primary school, although most governmental primary schools are moving to a K to 6 structure to line up with the other states in order to ensure that Year 7 students are able to undertake laboratory practical components of the national syllabus.[5]

  • Pre-School/Kindergarten: 4-5 year olds
  • Prep./Reception/Kindergarten: 5-6 year olds
  • Grade/Year 1: 6–7 years of age
  • Grade/Year 2: 7-8 year olds
  • Grade/Year 3: 8-9 year olds
  • Grade/Year 4: 9-10 year olds
  • Grade/Year 5: 10-11 year olds
  • Grade/Year 6: 11-12 year olds
  • Grade/Year 7: 12-13 year olds (WA, SA, QLD)


Main article Education in Brazil

In Brazil, primary school is mandatory and consistis in nine years called Ensino Fundamental, separated in Ensino Fundamental I(1st to 5th grades) and Ensino Fundamental II(6th to 9th grades).

  • 1st grade: 6-7 year olds (former pre-school);
  • 2nd grade: 7-8 year olds;
  • 3rd grade: 8-9 year olds;
  • 4th grade: 9-10 year olds;
  • 5th grade: 10-11 year olds;
  • 6th grade: 11-12 year olds;
  • 7th grade: 12-13 year olds;
  • 8th grade: 13-14 year olds;
  • 9th grade: 14-15 year olds.

Primary school is followed by the optional three years called Ensino Médio (former Científico, Liceu or Ginásio).

  • 1st grade: 15-16 year olds;
  • 2nd grade: 16-17 year olds;
  • 3rd grade: 17-18 year olds.


Main article Education in Burma


Main article Education in Canada
  • Pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) or Early Childhood Education (ECE) (Ages 3-4) *
  • Primary (Kindergarten) (Ages 4–5) *
  • Grade 1 (Ages 5–7)
  • Grade 2 (Ages 6–8)
  • Grade 3 (Ages 7–9)
  • Grade 4 (Ages 8–10)
  • Grade 5 (Ages 9–11)
  • Grade 6 (Ages 10–12)
  • Grade 7 (Ages 12–13) ** Quebec, 1e secondaire
  • Grade 8 (Ages 13–14) ** Quebec, 2e secondaire
  • Grade 9 (Ages 14–15) ** Quebec, 3e secondaire
  • Grade 10 (Ages 15–16) ** Quebec, 4e secondaire
  • Grade 11 (Ages 16–17) ** Quebec, 5e secondaire
  • Grade 12 (Ages 17–18) (except Quebec) **

* students in the Prairie Provinces are not required by statute to attend pre-kindergarten or kindergarten ** Quebec only goes up to grade 11 then students are required to go to CÉGEP before University


In Denmark, 9 years of primary school (Folkeskole) are compulsory.

Kindergarten (optional): 5–6 years

  • 0th grade: 5–7 years
  • 1st grade: 6–8 years
  • 2nd grade: 7–9 years
  • 3rd grade: 8–10 years
  • 4th grade: 9–11 years
  • 5th grade: 10–12 years
  • 6th grade: 11–13 years
  • 7th grade: 12–14 years
  • 8th grade: 13–15 years
  • 9th grade: 14–16 years

10th grade (optional): 15–18 years


Main article: Education in Estonia

In Estonia, 9 years of primary school (Põhikool or "basic school") are compulsory. The first three grades of primary school are called Algkool which can be translated as "beginning school" and can be confused with primary school. In some low density population areas Algkool is the only school available and students enter primary school in bigger towns.

  • 1st grade: 7–8 years
  • 2nd grade: 8–9 years
  • 3rd grade: 9–10 years
  • 4th grade: 10–11 years
  • 5th grade: 11–12 years
  • 6th grade: 12–13 years
  • 7th grade: 13–14 years
  • 8th grade: 14–15 years
  • 9th grade: 15–16 years


Main article: Education in Finland

9 years of primary school (Peruskoulu) are compulsory.

  • Kindergarten (optional): 6–7 years
  • 1st grade: 7–8 years
  • 2nd grade: 8–9 years
  • 3rd grade: 9–10 years
  • 4th grade: 10–11 years
  • 5th grade: 11–12 years
  • 6th grade: 12–13 years
  • 7th grade: 13–14 years
  • 8th grade: 14–15 years
  • 9th grade: 15–16 years
  • 10th grade (optional): 16–17 years


Main article Education in France

Education is mandatory from 6 years old to 16 years old. Grade is determined by the age on September 1 (year ends around July 5th). Free public and free private education is offered from 3 years old (sometimes 2 years old). Home education is allowed. Occasionally classes are of a double level to make up the number of pupil per class, usually to 29.

Pré-élémentaire (day care)
  • garderie (day care)
  • crèche (0–4 years old)
  • Élémentaire
École maternelle (pre-school)
  • très petite section (2 years old) (rare)
  • Cycle I
petite section (3 years old)
moyenne section (4 years old)
grande section (5 years old) (September - January)
  • Cycle II
grande section (5 years old) (February - July)
École primaire (primary/elementary)
  • CP (cours préparatoire) (6 years old) (may be tried a second time (7 years old) if reading and writing are not learned the first time)
  • CE1 (cours élémentaire 1) (7 years old)
Cycle III
  • CE2 (cours élémentaire 2) (8 years old)
  • CM1 (cours moyen 1) (9 years old)
  • CM2 (cours moyen 2) (10 years old)
  • Collège (11 - 15/16 years old - junior high school) Brevet diploma
  • Lycèe (15/16 – 19 years old - senior high school) Baccalauréat diploma supérieur
Premier cycle (17-... years old) - Second cycle (20-... years old) - Troisième cycle (22-... years old)

Collège and Lycée are usually separate establishments, with large communes having a collège, while the Lycée are usually in the larger towns and cities.


Main article Education in Germany

The first school for German children is called Grundschule. It takes usually four years, the pupils are between six and ten years old. The education consists of learning to read, write, basic math and general knowledge. In some schools, a first foreign language is introduced, usually English. In the final year of primary school, children receive a recommendation as to which further school they can attend.

  • Kindergarten: 3–6 years
  • Grade 1: 6–7 years
  • Grade 2: 7–8 years
  • Grade 3: 8–9 years
  • Grade 4: 9–10 years
  • Grade 5: 10–11 years (Berlin and Brandenburg only)
  • Grade 6: 11–12 years (Berlin and Brandenburg only)

Depending on the recommendation they received from their teacher, children proceed to their mandatory secondary education in either Hauptschule (Grades 5-9, sometimes 10th grade is added which is then called "Werkrealschule"), Realschule (Grades 5-10), or Gymnasium (Grades 5-12). Upon the successful completion of Grades 11 and 12 in the Gymnasium, students receive the Abitur, a diploma with the permission to enter post-secondary education (similar to the A-level or High School Diploma). The Abitur will not be received at the end of Haupt- and Realschule, but graduating students are eligible to enter the 11th Grade of the Gymnasium if they wish to obtain the Abitur.


Main article Education in Hungary

Primary School education for children in Hungary takes 8 years.

  • 1st grade: 6–7 years
  • 2nd grade: 7–8 years
  • 3rd grade: 8–9 years
  • 4th grade: 9–10 years
  • 5th grade: 10–11 years
  • 6th grade: 11–12 years
  • 7th grade: 12–13 years
  • 8th grade: 13–14 years


Main article Education in Iceland

In Iceland, 10 years of primary school (Grunnskóli) are compulsory.

Primary school teaching in Iceland consists of 10 grade levels. These are:

  • 1st grade: 6–7 years
  • 2nd grade: 7–8 years
  • 3rd grade: 8–9 years
  • 4th grade: 9–10 years
  • 5th grade: 10–11 years
  • 6th grade: 11–12 years
  • 7th grade: 12–13 years
  • 8th grade: 13–14 years
  • 9th grade: 14–15 years
  • 10th grade: 15–16 years


Main article Education in India

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the apex body for school education in India.[6] The NCERT provides support and technical assistance to a number of schools in India and oversees many aspects of enforcement of education policies.[7] In India, the various bodies governing school education system are:

Primary school teaching in India consists of 12 grade (Standard) levels. These are:

  • Kindergarten: nursery - 3 years, Lower Kindergarten (LKG) -4 years, Upper Kindergarten (UKG) - 5 years.
  • 1st Standard: 6 years
  • 2nd Standard: 7 years
  • 3rd Standard: 8 years
  • 4th Standard: 9 years
  • 5th Standard: 10 years
  • 6th Standard: 11 years
  • 7th Standard: 12 years
  • 8th Standard: 13 years
  • 9th Standard: 14 years
  • 10th Standard: 15 years
  • 11th Standard: 16 years
  • 12th Standard: 17 years


Main article Education in Iran


Main article Education in the Republic of Ireland

Primary school teaching in Ireland consists of 8 class levels. These are:

  • Junior Infants (4–5 years)
  • Senior Infants (5–6 years)
  • 1st class (Rang a haon, 6–7 years)
  • 2nd class (Rang a dó, 7–8 years)
  • 3rd class (Rang a trí, 8–9 years)
  • 4th class (Rang a ceathair, 9–10 years)
  • 5th class (Rang a cúig, 10–11 years)
  • 6th class (Rang a sé, 11–12 years)

Junior and Senior infants correspond to Kindergarten.

The subjects mainly taught in primary school are:

  • English (Béarla, Spellings are taught more in Primary education, not taught in Secondary although if you make a spelling mistake in Secondary English work, you would be corrected)
  • Maths (Mata)
  • Irish (Gaeilge)
  • Modern European language (i.e. French or/and German) (Very rarely)
  • History (Stair)
  • Geography (Tíreolaíocht/Tír Eolas, direct translation "Country-science/Country information")
  • Science (Eolaíocht)
  • PE (Physical Education), (Corpoideachas, direct translation "Body education"
  • Art (Ealaín)
  • Drama (Drámaíocht)
  • Music (Ceol)
  • SPHE (Social, Personal, Health Education), (OSPS, Oideachas Sóisialta, Pearsanta, Sláintiúil)
  • Religion (Reiligiún/Creideamh)

Secondary school teaching in Ireland consists of 5 class levels. These are:

  • 1st year (12-13 years)
  • 2nd year (13-14 years)
  • 3rd year (14-15 years)
  • 5th year (16-17 years)
  • 6th year (17-18 years)

The content of the Religion course taught depends on the management of the school. Many schools are managed and owned by the Roman Catholic Church, with a lesser number belonging to the Church of Ireland and to the Multi Denominational Group Educate Together and a handful run by other religions such as Muslims. Each school body decides on the emphasis of its religious instruction. In Catholic schools 2nd and 6th class prepare children for Holy Communion and Confirmation respectively. In the Church of Ireland this preparation is done when the pupil is aged about 14 years, and is in secondary school.

Children may start at primary school at any age between four and six years of age. Most children finish primary school at or around twelve years of age.


Primary school teaching in Italy consists of 5 grades. Before the First Grade, there is the kindergarten (scuola dell'infanzia in Italian), which is not compulsory.


First Grade (6–7 years)
Second Grade (7–8 years)
Third Grade (8–9 years)
Fourth Grade (9–10 years)
Fifth Grade (10–11 years)

Schools used to have a six day school week, Monday to Saturday. Lately, as of 2008, most elementary and middle schools have reduced the school week to five days, with high schools remaining with six.[8]


Main article Education in Israel


Main article Elementary schools in Japan

Kindergartens nursery schools are private institutions and attendance is not mandatory.

  • Nursery School / Kindergarten (Junior): 3-4 year olds
  • Nursery School / Kindergarten (Intermediate): 4-5 year olds
  • Nursery School / Kindergarten (Senior): 5-6 year olds
  • Elementary School Grade 1: 6-7 year olds
  • Elementary School Grade 2: 7-8 year olds
  • Elementary School Grade 3: 8-9 year olds
  • Elementary School Grade 4: 9-10 year olds
  • Elementary School Grade 5: 10-11 year olds
  • Elementary School Grade 6: 11-12 year olds
  • Middle School Grade 1: 12-13 year olds
  • Middle School Grade 2: 13-14 year olds
  • Middle School Grade 3: 14-15 year olds
  • High School Grade 1: 15-16 year olds
  • High School Grade 2: 16-17 year olds
  • High School Grade 3: 17-18 year olds

English has become a compulsory subject at primary schools in Japan, since April 2011 in order to compete with other Asian countries in English proficiency; Japanese students have among the lowest English [1]


Main article:

Primary education is compulsory in Malaysia. Children spend 6 years in primary schools. In 6th year, students sit for a national standardized test known as the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR, Primary School Achievement Test).

Level One

  • Standard 1 : age 7-8
  • Standard 2 : age 8-9
  • Standard 3 : age 9-10

Level Two

  • Standard 4 : age 10-11
  • Standard 5 : age 11-12
  • Standard 6 : age 12-13 (UPSR: Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah or Primary School Achievement Test)

After completing Standard 6, students will go on to secondary schools.

Lower Secondary

  • Form 1 : age 13
  • Form 2 : age 14
  • Form 3 : age 15 (PMR: Penilaian Menengah Rendah or Lower Secondary Assessment)

Upper Secondary

  • Form 4 : age 16
  • Form 5 : age 17 (SPM: Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or Malaysian Certificate of Education)
  • Form 6 (Lower): age 18(optional)
  • Form 6 (Upper): age 19 (optional)

Next, the students will be moving on into universities or college


Main article Education in Mexico


See List of Morocco-related topics:Education


Main article Education in the Netherlands

Children in the Netherlands must be at least four years old to enter primary education. Almost all 4-year-olds (99.3%) in the Netherlands indeed attend primary school, although this is not compulsory until children reach the age of 5. Primary school is free of charge. In most schools, children are grouped by age in mixed ability classes, with one teacher for all subjects. Primary school consists of 8 groups (thus 8 years of schooling). During the first two years (both kindergarten), children receive an average of 22 hours of education, during the last 6 years children receive an average of 25 hours per week. Schools are open 5 days a week, but all children have a half day on Wednesdays (ending at noon). At the end of primary school, in group 8, schools advice on secondary school choice. Most schools use a national test to support this advice, for instance the 'Citotoets', a test developed by the Central Institute for Test development.

  • group 1: age 4-5 (kindergarten)
  • group 2: age 5-6 (kindergarten)
  • group 3: age 6-7 (school curriculum starts with writing, reading, etc.)
  • group 4: age 7-8
  • group 5: age 8-9
  • group 6: age 9-10
  • group 7: age 10-11
  • group 8: age 11-12 (last school year with advice on secondary school choice)

For more information: [2]


Main article Education in Poland

Primary School:

  • 0th - 6–7 years old
  • 1st - 7–8 years old
  • 2nd - 8–9 years old
  • 3rd - 9–10 years old
  • 4th - 10–11 years old
  • 5th - 11–12 years old
  • 6th - 12–13 years old

Middle School:

  • 1st 13–14 years old
  • 2nd 14–15 years old
  • 3rd 15–16 years old

Secondary School:

Higher education: 18 and over Children may end their schooling after passing secondary school if desired.


Main article: Education in Portugal

In Portugal, the primary education (ensino primário) is known as the 1st cycle of the basic education (1º ciclo do ensino básico). It includes the first four years of compulsory education (1ª classe, 2ª classe, 3ª classe and 4ª classe), their pupils being children between six and ten years old. After the education reform of 1986, the former primary education became part of the basic education (educação básica).

Basic education now includes:

  • 1st cycle (1º ciclo) - former primary education
    • 1st year (6–7 years old)
    • 2nd year (7–8 years old)
    • 3rd year (8–9 years old)
    • 4th year (9–10 years old)
  • 2nd cycle (2º ciclo) - former preparatory education
    • 5th year (10–11 years old)
    • 6th year (11–12 years old)
  • 3rd cycle (3º ciclo) - former preparatory education (continuation)
    • 7th year (12–13 years old)
    • 8th year (13–14 years old)
    • 9th year (14–15 years old)


Main article Education in Singapore

Primary education in Singapore, normally starting at age seven, is a four-year foundation stage (Primary 1 to 4) and a two-year orientation stage (Primary 5 to 6). Primary education is compulsory and fees are low at public schools, there are also other fees per student to help cover miscellaneous costs.

During the foundation stage, all students are taught English Language as a first language, a mother tongue as a second language and Mathematics. Science is introduced from Primary 3 onwards. In addition to these examinable subjects, lessons in Civics and Moral Education, arts and crafts, music, health education, social studies and physical education are conducted at various levels. Students are also introduced to project work, receive pastoral care and career guidance, and are to participate in Co-Curricular Activities and Community Involvement Programmes. In the orientation stage, weaker students are banded based on their abilities in the four examinable subjects. Known as "Subject-based Banding"[3], they take individual subjects either at the standard or foundation level. Conversely, higher mother tongue is offered for higher ability students.

Sri Lanka

Main article Education in Sri Lanka


Main article: Education in Sweden
  • Pre-school class (not compulsory), age 6
  • Grundskola
    • Lågstadie
      • Year 1, age 7
      • Year 2, age 8
      • Year 3, age 9
    • Mellanstadie
      • Year 4, age 10
      • Year 5, age 11
      • Year 6, age 12
    • Högstadie
      • Year 7, age 13
      • Year 8, age 14
      • Year 9, age 15
  • Gymnasieskola (not compulsory), age 16-18

Gymnasieskola is not compulsory but most common. What you wish to read is your choice, if you have the right grades for your wanted education. If there are more people who wish to read than spots, the ones with the highest grades are accepted. This is either a preparation for University or for work.

During the year before children start compulsory school, all children are offered a place in a pre-school class (förskoleklass), which combines the pedagogical methods of the pre-school with those of compulsory school.[9] Between ages 7 and 15, children attend compulsory comprehensive school (grundskola), divided in three stages. The vast majority of schools in Sweden are municipally run, but there are also independent schools. The education in independent schools has many objectives in common with the municipal school, but it can have an orientation that differs from that of the municipal schools.[10]


Main article Education in Syria

9 years of primary school are compulsory.

Kindergarten (optional): 5–6 years

  • 1st grade: 6–7 years
  • 2nd grade: 7–8 years
  • 3rd grade: 8–9 years
  • 4th grade: 9–10 years
  • 5th grade: 10–11 years
  • 6th grade: 11–12 years
  • 7th grade: 12–13 years
  • 8th grade: 13–14 years
  • 9th grade: 14–15 years


Main article (Education in Tunisia)

In Tunisia pre-school education (3–6 years) is optional and provided primarily in three settings:

Kindergartens:socio-educational institutions that come under the supervision of Ministry of culture.

Kouttabs:religious institutions also cater for children between 3 and 5 years of age. Their task is to initiate them into learning the Quran as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic. They are under the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs

Preparatory year: It is also an integral part of basic education but it is not compulsory. It is supervised by the Ministry of Education and is provided in public, private and quasi-public primary schools

9 years of basic education are compulsory.

   Kindergarten (optional): 5–6 years
   1st grade: 6–7 years
   2nd grade: 7–8 years
   3rd grade: 8–9 years
   4th grade: 9–10 years
   5th grade: 10–11 years
   6th grade: 11–12 years
   7th grade: 12–13 years
   8th grade: 13–14 years
   9th grade: 14–15 years


Main article Education in Ukraine

United Kingdom

Main article Education in the United Kingdom

Primary education is provided by state schools run by the government and by independent fee-paying schools. In the state system children are either educated in separate infant and junior schools or in a combined primary school. Schools in the private sector providing primary education are generally known as preparatory schools or prep schools. In the private sector the transfer to the final stage of education sometimes takes place at 14.


Main article Education in England

Children start school either in the year or the term in which they reach five depending upon the policy of the Local Education Authority. All state schools are obliged to follow a centralised National Curriculum. The primary school years are split into Key Stages:

  • Nursery, age 1 to 4
  • Reception, age 4 to 5
  • Year 1, age 5 to 6
  • Year 2, age 6 to 7
  • Year 3, age 7 to 8
  • Year 4, age 8 to 9
  • Year 5, age 9 to 10
  • Year 6, age 10 to 11

At the end of Key Stage 2 in Year 6 all children in state primary schools are required to take National Curriculum tests in reading and mathematics also called SATs. All state primary schools are under the jurisdiction of the Department for Children, Schools and Families and are required to receive regular inspections by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). Private schools are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

They then change schools to go to secondary school.

  • Year 7, age 11 to 12
  • Year 8, age 12 to 13
  • Year 9, age 13 to 14
  • Year 10, age 14 to 15
  • Year 11, age 15 to 16
  • Year 12, (6th form) 16 to 17
  • Year 13 (6th form) 17 to 18

Northern Ireland

Main article Education in Northern Ireland

Children start school either in the year or the term in which they reach four. All state schools are obliged to follow a centralised National Curriculum. The primary school years are split into Key Stages:

  • Primary education
    • Primary school

At the end of Key Stage 2 in P7, all children are offered the voluntary Eleven Plus (also called the transfer procedure) examinations, though the parents of thirty percent of children elect not to, and send their kids to secondary schools instead of grammar schools.[11]

All state primary schools are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education.


Main article Education in Scotland

In Scotland children typically spend seven years in a primary school, whose years are named P1 to P7. Children enter P1 at the age of four or five (according to a combination of birth date and parental choice).

Primary 1 (aged 4–6)
Primary 2 (aged 5–7)
Primary 3 (aged 6–8)
Primary 4 (aged 7–9)
Primary 5 (aged 8–10)
Primary 6 (aged 9–11)
Primary 7 (aged 10–12)

1st year - aged 12 to 13

2nd year - aged 13 to 14

3rd year - aged 14 to 15

4th year - aged 15 to 16

5th year - aged 16 to 17

6th year - aged 17 to 18


Main article Primary Education in Wales

Children in Wales spend 7 years at primary school between the ages of 4 and 11.

United States

Main article Education in the United States

In the United States the first stage of compulsory education is generally known as elementary education. It takes place in elementary schools which usually incorporates grades 1-5. Some schools have a kindergarten and some go up to sixth grade. Elementary schools in the US are also known as grade schools or grammar schools. In some schools, teachers utilize a "looping system" where the same teacher teaches the same group of students for two years. For example, a third-grade class may have one teacher who would teach those students for an entire year, then that teacher would teach fourth-grade the next year, and thereby teach the same class again. The teacher would then revert to the third grade the following year to start the process all over again with a different group of students.

Over the past few decades, schools in the USA have been testing various arrangements which break from the one-teacher, one-class model. Multi-age programs, where children in different grades (e.g. Kindergarten through to second grade) share the same classroom and teachers, is one increasingly popular alternative to traditional elementary instruction. Another alternative is that children might have a main class and go to another teacher's room for one subject, such as science, while the science teacher's main class will go to the other teacher's room for another subject, such as social studies. This could be called a two-teacher, or a rotation. It is similar to the concept of teams in junior high school. Another method is to have the children have one set of classroom teachers in the first half of the year, and a different set of classroom teachers in the second half of the year.

Preschool: Ages 3–4

Pre-K: Ages 4–5

Kindergarten: Ages 5–6

1st Grade: Ages 6–7

2nd Grade: Ages 7–8

3rd Grade: Ages 8–9

4th Grade: Ages 9–10

5th Grade: Ages 10–11

6th Grade: Ages 11–12

7th Grade: Ages 12–13

8th Grade: Ages 13–14

9th Grade: Ages 14–15

10th Grade: Ages 15–16

11th Grade: Ages 16–17

12th Grade: Ages 17–18

English as a second language

Main article: English as a foreign or second language


English as a second language (ESL) by definition refers to the specialized instruction designed for students who are either limited in English proficiency or have a primary language other than English. The government often refers to EL students as Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students.

History of the English language in the United States

During European settlement, early in the history of the United States of America a variety of languages were spoken, not to mention the language of the indigenous peoples who were the first to live in the continent. However, when the United States was forming as a country, it became clear that English would undoubtedly become the language of the country. As influential men such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay strived to establish a distinguished American society and culture, they created an American identity that reflected their own Anglo-Saxon cultural identity. English did not become the official language, but it was the language of schools, the government, and the laws.

Similarly, throughout the course of United States history, there have been massive immigration into the country that have created communities where the population speaks languages other than English. [4]


  • 6% of all schools in the United States have English as a second language students, with certain states having large numbers of English as a second language students
    • 87% of Arizona schools have ESL students
    • 90% of California schools have ESL students
    • 96% of Hawaii schools have ESL students

Only 18% of all schools offer bilingual education programs and 43% offer ESL programs. However, 27% of these schools find it difficult or impossible to fill these teaching positions with qualified instructors. Therefore, many English as a second language students are inadequately served. [5]


  • 60% of ESL students in California high schools have not achieved written proficiency in the language, even after six years of a U.S. education
  • 1/4 of all public school attendees in California are English-learners — 1.6 million, "the largest bloc of English-learners in the nation" [6]

Unequal access to trained teachers

Students that are learning English as a second language require teachers with specialized training. However, the demand for teachers with specialized training does not meet the amount of ESL students; there is a significantly low percentage of teachers well prepared to teach. Thus, English learners are more likely to be placed in classes that are taught by teachers who are not fully credentialed. According to the 2000 Class Size Reduction (CSR) teacher survey, 53% of English learners enrolled in grades 1-4, in California, during the 1999-2000 school year, were taught by a teacher with prior specialized training. EL students are less likely than their English-speaking peers to have a qualified teacher direct classroom instruction in their classes. This inevitably creates challenges for the EL students as their needs are not met. [7]

Millennium Development Goals

Main article Millennium Development Goals

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

By the year 2015, the UN hopes to ensure that children everywhere regardless of race or gender, will be able to complete primary schooling.[8]


According to the United Nations, in 2008, overall enrollment in primary education in developing areas reached 89 percent. This was a major increase from the 83 percent in 2000. Due to the fact that the United Nations is specifically focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, as they are both home to the vast majority of children out of school, they hypothesize that they might not be able to reach their goal by 2015. According to the September 2010 fact sheet, this is because there are still about 69 million school-age children are not in school and almost half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa and more than a quarter are in Southern Asia. [9]

To achieve the goal

In order to achieve the goal by 2015, the United Nations estimates that all children at the official entry age for primary school would have had to be attending classes by 2009. This would depend on the duration of the primary level as well as how well the school schools retain students until the end of the cycle. In half of the sub-Saharan African countries, however, "at least one in four children of primary-school age were out of school in 2008." Also, not only is it important for children to be enrolled but countries will need to ensure that there are a sufficient amount of teachers and classrooms to meet the demand. As of 2010 and 2015, the number of new teachers needed in sub-Saharan Africa alone equals the current teaching force in the region.[10]

Close gender gap

The gender gap in the number of students not in school has also narrowed. Between 1999 and 2008, the number of girls not in school decreased from 57 percent to 53 percent globally. In some regions, however, there is a greater percentage; for example, in Northern Africa, 66 percent of "out-of-school children" are girls. [11]

What has been done

According to the United Nations, there are many things in the regions that have been accomplished. Although enrollment in the sub-Saharan area of Africa continues to be the lowest of all regions, by 2010 "it still increased by 18 percentage points—from 58 per cent to 76 per cent—between 1999 and 2008." There was also progress in both Southern Asia and Northern Africa, where both countries witnessed an increase in enrollment. Southern Asia increased by 11 percentage points and Northern Africa by 8 percentage points over the last decade. Also, major advances have been made even in some of the poorest countries, again the majority of them in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. With the abolition of primary school fees in Burundi, there was an increase in primary-school enrollment since 1999; it reached 99 percent in 2008. The United Republic of Tanzania experienced a similar outcome. The country doubled its enrollment ratio over the same period. Other regions in Latin America such as [12]

See also



  • India 2009: A Reference Annual (53rd edition), New Delhi: Additional Director General (ADG), Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, ISBN 978-81-230-1557-6.

External links

  • National Association for Primary Education (UK)
  • Teachers TV Free Resources and Downloads for Primary School Teachers
  • BBC schools website 4-11
  • Information for Elementary School Teachers in the U.S.
  • -logo.svg  A view from the United States in 1920.
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