Education in United Kingdom

Population: 62,783,000 (2011)

GDP p.c. growth: 1.7% p.a. 1990–2012

UN HDI 2012: World ranking 26

Net primary enrolment: 99.8% (2012)

Net secondary enrolment: 94.6% (2012)

Gross tertiary enrolment: 61.9% (2010)


Public spending on education was 6.2 per cent of GDP in 2010.

As well as the primary and secondary stages of education, the Department for Education is responsible for all aspects of policy affecting children and young people. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is responsible for science and innovation, as well as further and higher education and skills.
There are 12 years of compulsory education starting at the age of five. Primary school comprises six years and secondary seven, with cycles of three and four years. The school year starts in September.

After the age of 16, when it is no longer compulsory, most young people stay in education, either at school or at further education colleges, and may then go on to higher education institutions.

According to the higher education admissions service, UCAS, there are more than 300 institutions providing higher education courses, including universities, colleges of higher education and further education colleges. The female-male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 1.40:1 (2012). There is virtually no illiteracy among people aged 15-24.