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A Pakistani primary student.
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.

In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education, though in many jurisdictions it is permissible for parents to provide it. The transition to secondary school or high school is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about eleven or twelve years of age. Some educational systems have separate middle schools with the transition to the final stage of education taking place at around the age of fourteen.

The major goals of primary education are achieving basic literacy and numeracy amongst all pupils, as well as establishing foundations in science, geography, history, math, 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 attack, and in many cases been outlawed, especially in Western countries.


Main article Education in Albania


Main article Education in Australia


  • Kindergarten: 4-5 year olds
  • Preparatory / Reception / Kindergarten (QLD, NSW,VIC and ACT): 5-6 year olds
  • Year 1: 6-7 year olds
  • Year 2: 7-8 year olds
  • Year 3: 8-9 year olds
  • Year 4: 9-10 year olds
  • Year 5: 10-11 year olds
  • Year 6: 11-12 year olds
  • Year 7: 12-13 year olds (WA, SA, QLD)


Main article Education in Brazil


  • Year 1: 6 year olds (former pre-school)
  • Year 2: 7 year olds
  • Year 3: 8 year olds
  • Year 4: 9 year olds
  • Year 5: 10 year olds
  • Year 6: 11 year olds
  • Year 7: 12 year olds
  • Year 8: 13 year olds
  • Year 9: 14 year olds


Main article Education in Burma


Main article Education in Canada

  • Kindergarten (Ages 5–6) students in the Prairie Provinces are not required by statute to attend kindergarten.
  • Grade 1 (Ages 6–7)
  • Grade 2 (Ages 7–8)
  • Grade 3 (Ages 8–9)
  • Grade 4 (Ages 9–10)
  • Grade 5 (Ages 10–11)
  • Grade 6 (Ages 11–12)


In Denmark, 9 years of primary school (Folkeskole) 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 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
  • Nursery:Petite Section (3 years old)
  • Reception:Moyenne Section (4 years old)
  • Year 1:Grande Section (5 years old)
  • Year 2:CP (cours préparatoire)(6 years old)
  • Year 3:CE1 (cours élémentaire 1)(7 years old)
  • Year 4:CE2 (cours élémentaire 2)(8 years old)
  • Year 5:CM1 (cours moyen 1)(9 years old)
  • Year 6:CM2 (cours moyen 2)(10 years old)


Main article Education in Germany

The first school for German children is called :de: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.


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 India

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is the apex body for school education in India.India 2009: A Reference Annual (53rd edition), 233 The NCERT provides support and technical assistance to a number of schools in India and oversees many aspects of enforcement of education policies. In India, the various bodies governing school education system are:


Main article Education in Iran


Main article Education in Israel


Main article Education in the Republic of Ireland

Primary school teaching in Republic of Irelandmarker consists of 8 class levels. These are:
  • Junior Infants (4–5 years)
  • Senior Infants (5–6 years)
  • 1st class (6–7 years)
  • 2nd class (7–8 years)
  • 3rd class (8–9 years)
  • 4th class (9–10 years)
  • 5th class (10–11 years)
  • 6th class (11–12 years)

Junior and Senior infants correspond to Kindergarten.

The subjects mainly taught in primary school are:
  • English
  • Maths
  • Gaeilge
  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • PE (Physical Education),
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Music
  • SPHE (Social, Personal, Health Education),
  • Religion

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 a handful run by other religions such as Muslims, or to a new group called "Educate Together" which advocates a neutral approach to religion. 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 materna in Italian), but it's 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.


Main article Elementary schools in Japan


Main article Education in Morocco


Main article Education in Singapore

Primary education in Singaporemarker, normally starting at age six, 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 free, though there is a fee of up to SGD 13 monthly 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"[499563], they take individual subjects either at the standard or foundation level. Conversely, higher mother tongue is offered for higher ability students.

The Netherlands

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 scholing). During the first two years (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 children are free on Wednesday afternoon. 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: [499564]

New Zealand

Main article Education in New Zealand

Palestinian territories

Main article Education in the Palestinian territories


Main article Education in Poland

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 often 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:

  • Foundation Stage 1 (in a pre-school/childcare environment)
    • Nursery, age 3 to 4

  • Key Stage 1 (in an Infant or Primary school)
    • Year 1, age 5 to 6
    • Year 2, age 6 to 7

  • Key Stage 2 (in Junior or Primary school)
    • 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, writing, mathematics and science 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.

Northern Ireland

Main article Education in Northern Irelandmarker

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.

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


Main article Primary Education in Wales

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


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 4–5)

Primary 2 (aged 5–6)

Primary 3 (aged 6–7)

Primary 4 (aged 7–8)

Primary 5 (aged 8–9)

Primary 6 (aged 9–10)

Primary 7 (aged 10–11)

At the age of 11 children usually transfer to local State Secondary Schools or Public/Private (fee-paying)Schools

United States

Main article Education in the United States

Elementary school in California.
In the US the first stage of compulsory education is generally known as elementary education. It takes place in elementary schools which usually incorporate the first five grades and sometimes have a kindergarten. 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 back to the third grade the following year to start the process all over 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 mould. Multi-age programmes, 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. An 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, two-class mould, or a rotation, 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.


In Malaysia,children usually will spend 6years being in elementary/primary school.

They will get into kindergarten when they are 5 or 6 .

When they age reach 7,they will go to the primary school.

Year 1 : age 7 - age 8

Year 2 : age 8 - age 9

Year 3 : age 9 - age 10

Year 4 : age 10 - age 11

Year 5 : age 11 - age 12

Year 6 : age 12 - age 13

In year 6 , they will take a big major exam , Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah(UPSR) and usually,the kids with excellent result for the UPSR exam , will go to the boarding school , while the other kids will go to usual high school.

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

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