• May 22, 2018, 03:33:46 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Schooling  (Read 10507 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Member
  • Posts: 12265
Re: Schooling
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2014, 12:05:48 AM »
I'm in Canada, but it's my understanding that even in the province of Ontario, JK is not universal.  Some districts offer it, some don't.  At my local school in BC, there were always some parents from Ontario who would show up at the school, trying to register their kids in JK..

Regular kindergarten is open to kids turning 5 before December 31 of that year, although kindergarten is not mandatory for entering grade 1 the next year.

The division re elementary/middle school/junior secondary/senior secondary depends on the particular district in the province.  Here, elementary is now K-grade 5, middle school is grade 6 -8, and senior secondary grades 9 - 12.  However, in a nearby adjacent district, it's still K-grade 7 for elementary and grades 8 through 12 for secondary.  I actually like the middle-school model.  The grades 7 and 8 classes are "combined" (not split) - meaning that the kids are learning the curriculum over a two-year period.  Math is the one exception, since the skills are so cumulative - the kids are indeed split-off for that one class.


  • Member
  • Posts: 2043
Re: Schooling
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2014, 12:09:11 PM »
Ontario has had universal part-time jk since I was a small child 30 years ago (except
Perhaps in very small school districts in rural areas) - as of 2014 it went to universal full-day, full-week in all boards except again any that applied for extenuating circumstance-exceptions where they weren't able to meet the deadline. The big issue has been overcrowding.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.


  • Member
  • Posts: 720
Re: Schooling
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2014, 10:15:46 AM »
In the UK you go to university or college to study, or read (to use what seems to be an old fashioned term these days) one specific subject e.g. English, History, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and you get your degree in that. Degree courses are usually 3 years duration, but some are more, Veterinary Medicine take 5 years. Entry in England depends on the number of GCSE (General Certificate of Education) subjects you have at A or Advanced level and the grades you get. If you want to you can go on and do postgraduate work, and get a PhD by producing a thesis on an aspect of your degree subject.

An American friend was studying Human Anatomy, IT and History of French Art at College. I lost touch with her, but often wondered if she got a degree, and in what.

You can also join the Open University in the UK and take a degree more or less by correspondance, but you attend summer schools and seminars too. Local authorities run evening classes for adults in various subjects. I too a French class for a while a few years ago.


  • Member
  • Posts: 2186
Re: Schooling
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2014, 08:41:24 AM »
University enty (In England) is focussed more on A level (advnaced Level) results than on GCSE's)

GCSEs are taken at age 16, usually in 8-10 subjects.
A-Levels are taken at 18, usually in 3 or 4 subjects. There are also AS levels which are broadly equivalent to 1/2 an A-level.

University offers usually require a specific number of  grades (e.g. AAB) at A level, although this is sometimes on a points system (so a 'A' grade at A-level would be worth 10 points, A at AS level 5 points, B 8 or 4,and so on. The offer might be for 28 points rather than AAB grades. There will also often be requirements to have A levels in specific subjects.

Many university courses now require students to take a 'minor' or supplemental course in addition to their main area of study (for instance, a language requirement for science students)

If you go to university as a mature student then factors other than A'level results may be taken into account in considering your application - my brother in law (who left school at 16) has recently graduated - before being able to start his degree course, he attended a one year access course designed to bring him up to speed and make sure he was going to be able to manage degree level work. His access course qualification is equivalent to A Levels.

Universities generally allow part time study and as ScotCat mentioned, there is also the Open University which allows you to get a degree in your spare time - you build a degree by modules, so it can be done over as long or short a period of time as you want - a full degree normally takes 5-6 years as it is assumed to be part time, but you can do it more quickly - my brother did an OU degree in 4 years (while working full time!)

I've found that evening classes are much more rigid than they used to be, as cuts in funding bite and local authorities have to justify the 'educational' aspect, so they have started imposing requirements for lesson plans, lots of paperwork etc. Fine for some types of class, less sos for others, and less encouraging for people to 'have a go' if you have to measure everything!

My pottery teacher stopped doing evening classes as she had to do so much paperwork, and felt pushed into doing one set of pre-planned, one size fits all lessons, rather than helping each student learn the kills they were most interested in. My mum's patchwork class ended (and reinvented itself as a private patchwork club) which was OK for the existing members but sad for any one who might have been inspired to join.


  • Member
  • Posts: 2321
Re: Schooling
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2014, 09:24:07 AM »
Québec, Canada

The cutoff date for determining age is sept. 30th.  The child must be of the right age (5YO) at the start of the school year.  So if the year starts August 28 and your kid is born Sept. 12, he'll have to wait until next year to be admited since he'll be only 4YO at the begining of the school year.

School year must be 180 days and school is mandatory until age 16.

Kindergarden : 5 YO

Elementary : grades 1 to 6

Secondary/high school : grades 7 to 11.  High school is common core for grades 7 to 9.  After, you can have either general or professionnal tracks. Most are 16/17 when the get at the end. 

CEGEP (Collège d'Enseignement Général et Professionnel): I think we are the only ones to have this.  It is 2 year programs that are preparation for university.  There are also 3 year professionnal programs (auto mechanic, plumbing, nursing, electronics, technical degrees, administration, etc.).  The 2 and 3 year programs have a common core and specific classes are added according to what degree is being followed.  They are located all across the province so even outlying areas have access to these levels. They also offer continued adult education.

University : Bacchelor's degrees (3 or 4 years), Masters and Doctorates in different fields. All of them offer Certificates which are usually adult education classes. For "adult" students, you don't need the CEGEP degree, work experience is often accepted to get certificates and some other degrees. Certificates can be done in a year (full time) or over 3 years (part-time).

"It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Office coffee cup.


  • Member
  • Posts: 7934
Re: Schooling
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2014, 10:23:57 PM »
I went to school in New Zealand and Australia, and my kids attend an Australian school.  For many reasons, I found the NZ system better than the Australian one.

Primary school - grades 1 - 6 (junior 1 - standard 4 in my day).  Age 5 (or very occasionally age 6) - 10/11 years.
Intermediate school - grades 7 - 8  (forms 1 - 2 in my day).  10/11 - 12/13 years.
High school - grade 9 - 13 (forms 3 - 7 in my day).  Age 12/13 -17/18 years.

Kids must be enrolled by their 6th birthday, but can start anytime in the year between their 5th or 6th birthdays. I love this system as it gives parents the chance to make the best decision for their child depending on their child's development. Most people I know start/ed school on the first school day after their 5th birthday. School is compulsory until age 16.

When I was young, kindergarten (ages 3 - 5) was free and maybe 50% of children attended. Very rarely affiliated with any school. Not sure about these days. In some (primarily rural) areas, primary/intermediate or intermediate/high school were combined into one school.

Qld, Australia (based on when my children started).
Pre-school/prep - optional, but probably 99% of kids attended. Usually attached to primary school. (Age 4/5 - 5/6). Was 5 days a fortnight, now 5 full days each week.
Primary school - grades 1-7 (age 5/6 - 12/13).
High school - grades 8-12 (ages  12/13-17/18).

This will change in 2015 so that year 7 will now be in high school . A few years ago the starting age was changed so that now all students start school at least 6 months older than they would've been prior to that. This means the minimum starting age for prep will be 4 1/2, as opposed to my DS2 who was just 4 when he started and turned 5 as preschool finished (and will be 16 when he leaves).

There is only 1 intake a year, which puts pressure on parents to send their child either before they are ready (and then repeat later), or a very school child ready has to wait up to a year to start (as was the case with DS1; missed cut off by 3 days, despite fact that school year didn't even start till a month after that). I realise this problem is prevalent in many countries, not just unique to Australia.

School year must be 180 days

I've been wondering about this. On some of the other US based boards I frequent there's often talk of school being extended because it was shut for X days or weeks due to snow. So, if school was to end on 30 May, but it had been shut for 5 days because of snow, would the students then be expected to come along to school till 6 June?  For a whole host of reasons, I can't even begin to imagine the outrage, protests and refusal to actually do it if it was even suggested here, and if that was my child, he'd be finishing on 30 May, full stop, especially if I'd made travel plans.  Actually, now I think about it, a while ago there was talk on the news of introducing Saturday detentions and the backlash was instant and unanimous: not happening; so I can't see extending the school year would get any support whatsoever.

Where I live the school year finishes in December, (and it seems as though the entire country stops between mid December and mid January), so there's not a lot of leeway to extend things with Christmas as a fixed point, anyway. Schools here have closed for the odd day here and there, or even a week or more due to floods, but there's never, ever, been talk of extending the school year to make up for it. Teachers/schools simply adjust the programme to incorporate the shorter time frame and get on with it.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 10:25:34 PM by sammycat »


  • Member
  • Posts: 200
Re: Schooling
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2014, 10:40:41 PM »
Addressing the 180....In our school district they rarely cancel school (the only reason is if the school buses can't make it through the snow drifts).  If school is cancelled, they have to make it up by taking a vacation day because teachers can't work beyond their contract.


  • Member
  • Posts: 2321
Re: Schooling
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2014, 08:39:16 AM »
Over here, snow days are a given... so the school calendar is set up to include a few of those.  If they are not used by springtime, they are used to as a day off for everyone. 
"It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Office coffee cup.

Harriet Jones

  • Member
  • Posts: 8892
  • Yes, we know who you are.
Re: Schooling
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2014, 08:50:30 AM »
We have a few snow days built into the calendar -- if they're not used, the school year is shortened by the number of unused snow days.   This year, since we had so many snow days, they extended the school year by a day, changed a teacher work day to a regular school day, and applied to the school board for a waiver for the remaining days.  Many people schedule vacations immediately after the school year lets out, so I imagine there'd be a big outcry if they extended the school year by all of the missed days.


  • Member
  • Posts: 6445
Re: Schooling
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2014, 10:10:35 AM »
Here in MD, if the are going to extend the school year the school board lets the public know as soon as possible.  Usually no later than spring break.  But yes, they can and do extend the school year if the kids have had a lot of days off.  I've never seen it extended more than a week or so.


  • Member
  • Posts: 4247
Re: Schooling
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2014, 07:29:11 PM »
Let's see how well I remember all of this.  In my school district(s), it was the following:

Preschool - went to a family friend's company and had a blast.  Had to be at least 2 and potty trained, but even then, there was a book for that (family joke is that I was born reading).

Elementary School - Kindergarden through 5th.  I changed schools after 3rd and, in the district we moved to, you could start learning how to play an instrument.  I was stuck between violin and cello and took cello.  Others went into band or choir.  PE was a required class and was usually spent as an extra recess.

Middle School - 6th through 8th.  I was in special ed classes in 6th grade, due to my 5th being a spectacular mess (family issues due to dad being a donkey's behind).  I was able to transfer out of special ed because my grades went up from Ds to As, so I went into normal classes in 7th grade.  You could continue on with orchestra / band / choir here, but you also had to do the arts/shop/home ec trek as well.  Due to doing so well in art in 7th, I was asked to be a teacher's helper for the 6th graders during my 8th year and do independent work along with two others.  PE was continued as required, but was more running around this giant track outside in good weather.

High School - 8th through 12th.  There was advanced courses for those who had tested into them / got into them during middle school and there was also AP courses.  You had to get the following for a HS diploma: 4 credits in English, 3 credits of math (including an algebra unit), 2 to 3 credits of science, 3 credits of social sciences, 1 credit of foreign language, .5 credit for Health education, a quarter credit for each semester of physical education which you had to take all four years, a quarter credit for Driver's Ed (I got this waived due to being legally blind), a credit of fine arts, and some other things like pass an exam on the federal and state constitutions.

Yeah, it's a lot but I was never bored.  :)  After that, I went onto college, then community college (long story), and then another two years of college.  I have my AA and Bachelors.  Debating if I want to get my Masters as it would be hard for me to get letters of recommendations and other things.


  • Member
  • Posts: 89
Re: Schooling
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2014, 10:53:20 AM »
I went to a UK independent (i.e. private) school so mine went as follows:

Pre-prep - J1-J3 (ages 4-7).

Junior/Prep School - Form 1, Lower two, upper two, lower three

Senior School - upper three-  Upper five.

Sixth Form - lower and upper sixth.

Did anyone else's school use that terminology? I think it might be going out of fashion, but I get horribly confused by grades/years - I have no idea what age they mean!


  • Member
  • Posts: 6445
Re: Schooling
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2014, 12:09:00 PM »
Most kids in the US start 1st grade around 6 or so.  So:
1st grade -6ish
2nd grade 7ish
3rd grade 8ish
4th grade 9ish
5th grade 10ish
This is typically the end of elementary school

6th grade 11ish
7th grade 12ish
8th grade 13ish
This is typically the end of middle school

9th grade 14ish - Freshman
10th grade 15ish - Sophmore
11th grade 16ish - Junior
12 grade 17ish - Senior

I'm a May baby, so I turned 18 at the end of my Senior year


  • Member
  • Posts: 344
Re: Schooling
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2014, 12:36:53 PM »
When I was in school the system had just changed to starting school in Reception (all with 5th birthday between the start of that school year and the next) and GCSEs at year 11 (the year you turn 16). 6th form (lower and upper) was still used for the 2 years post GCSE, it was known as the upper school and there was a different uniform and you could sign yourself out during free periods after you turned 18 (so the youngest in the school year would never be able to).

School was also divided into houses and you could earn points for your house with good school work throughout the year. You also competed on house teams for different sports and for sports day. Kind of like Harry Potter :)
In high school they were very keen on houses the colour of the stripe in your tie showed which house you were in. As well as a head teacher for the school there were heads of house and organised events where pupils could raise money for the chosen house charity. each house was almost a school within a school. The idea was to help pupils adjust to attending such a big school (the biggest in the area) as some of the schools that fed into it were 1/8 the size it could be very intimidating.

is the idea of houses a UK only one?


  • Member
  • Posts: 4235
Re: Schooling
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2014, 07:20:12 PM »
School was also divided into houses and you could earn points for your house with good school work throughout the year. You also competed on house teams for different sports and for sports day. Kind of like Harry Potter :)
In high school they were very keen on houses the colour of the stripe in your tie showed which house you were in. As well as a head teacher for the school there were heads of house and organised events where pupils could raise money for the chosen house charity. each house was almost a school within a school. The idea was to help pupils adjust to attending such a big school (the biggest in the area) as some of the schools that fed into it were 1/8 the size it could be very intimidating.

is the idea of houses a UK only one?

Nope, we have houses in Australia but IME they're pretty exclusively used for sporting purposes.  Nothing academic was counted towards house achievements. 

I do recall a few other competitions where they were used, such as drama competitions but they were pretty rare and barely enforced.  My year 11 drama project we had to run the play each of our houses put on.  So my class was divided by house and we allocated ourselves crew roles in order to stage the play and we had to cast it from students in the other grades from within our house.  Pretty sure the casting wasn't ever checked though.

We had 4 houses and they were separated alphabetically by your surname to determine what house you'd be in.