i'm turning 19, so not to long ago I finished mandatory school
anyway, the schools I attended were in Belgium, Europe. (Flanders to be precise, schools are totally different and i don't know anything about walloon schools)
BG: around here, you have two types of schools. catholic schools and goverment schools. Both are public schools, but around 80% are catholic schools. the only difference really is that a catholic schools teach a subject called "godsdienst" litterally religion, goverment schools teach a subject called "zinsgeving", in theory its the same subject, but the goverment one doesn't teach about religions. altough both are more focused on being good to other people, charity, etc. (I went to a catholic school.)Kleuterschool (preschool)
there are 3 years of this. you can have a fourth year, or half a fourth year also.
there are 4 moments in the year in which you can start (all after a vacation) and when you start, depends on when you turned 2.5 years old. if you are 2.5 on any of the starting moments you start after that vacation. otherwise you just start the first class the year you turn 3 years old. if you started at 2.5, then you mostly have to double the first year.
preschool is not mandatory, but the last year of it is. in reality I don't know anybody who hasn't gone to preschool.
it is mandatory to receive education when you turn 6 till 18, but a school is not mandatory, like babylonsisterlagere school (elementary)
you start the year you turn 6. and normally you finish when you are or become 12. So it spans 6 years. being held back a year is very common too. school starts at 8.30 AM you get 3 breaks for playing outside. at 10 AM, 10 minutes, at 12AM, 45 minutes including lunch, and around 3 PM, 5 minutes. school finishes at 3.30 pm, but on friday most schools finish at 3 PM. the basics are covered of almost all subjects and in the 5th year you start getting french lessons. all classes are given by the same teacher of sometimes you get a shared class with 2 teachers. P.E. is almost always given by a teacher that only gives that subject and gives it to the entire school. 2 hours a week per class. mostly there are 2 classes per grade with around 20 kids per class. middenschool (middleschool)
the year you turn 12 you go to middleschool. this takes 2 years. most often you get 7 classes a day. 2 classes, break of 10 minutes, 2 classes, lunch around 30 minutes, 2 classes, 5 minute break, 1 class. the classes are all set up for you. you don't get any choice in the matter. your subjects are chosen depending on what study direction you picked in the beginning. you have Latin, Modern extra, Modern Basics and "Beroeps voorbereidend jaar" Latin has more languages and latin classes, most start off doing this, because we have a waterfall system. the you have modern extra, this contains both economics classes and sciences modern basics is an easier version of modern extra, and "Bvj" is a direction that is picked by the one that had it very hard in elementary school. it's the easiest study direction. in the second year of middleschool everybody starts learning english. college, TI, ... (high school)
the year you turn 14 you begin high school. there are different types of school depending which study directions they offer. I will talk about two to keep it easy, the two I went to.
First the basics of the studydirection system, you have ASO, TSO, BSO and KSO.
ASO: the highest, contains, latin-greek, latin-maths, humane sciences, economics-maths, economics-languages, sciences-maths, .... this also is mandatory to do a german course starting in the 2nd year of high school. which otherwise only would turn up if you studied a language based direction.
TSO: it's one step lower and there are two types of TSO, you have the theory type and the practic type, the theory type looks like ASO, just easier. it mostly contains studydirections that are partly the same to the ASO ones, just made easier. the practic type are directions in which you learn to work with your hands like: woodwork, metalwork, plumbing, car mechanics, printer,..., sometimes there are internships paired with exams
BSO: the easiest direction, made for those for who the rest is to hard, and who will in most cases start working immediatly after school, a diploma in BSO will also not get you accepted into college without an additional year, called the 7th year. it contains directions like child care, elderly care, secretary... these have no examsn but internships
KSO: art school, not very well known but there are a few, top sport schools are also included in this. mostly focused on the practices of the sport and the art, not the basic knowledge.
At the end of any year you get an evaluation if you get to continue in your direction (A-attest), need to lower a level (B-attest) or need to be held back a year (c-attest). this is dependant on exam periods. there can be a total up to 5 exam periods, but mostly in the last year this are only 2 moment. autumn break for 1st november, christmas break, spring break, easter and june.
it is expected that you complete both the 1st and 2nd year of high school in the same direction, but it is not mandatory and you can change after one year. in the 3rd and 4th year it is mandatory to do these in the same direction, so a B-attest doesn't exist in these years, but some schools can make expections if the directions are really much the same, but of different difficulty levels. since also a lot of directions only exist in either the first 2 or the last 2 years of high school, most people pick a different one in year 3.
some rare schools also have subjects that you can choose, but that is mostly only 1 hour a week. there is also the possibility to work part time and only go to school 2 hours a week, when you turn 16, mostly for people who are schoolsick and do a practic TSO direction. hoge school, universiteit (college, uni)
the year you turn 18, you pick a college or uni direction that interests you. there are courses that take 3 of 4 year (college) or courses that take 5 year or longer (uni). not taking into account doctorates or stuff. if you're lucky you get to pick 2 or 3 choice subjects out of a choice of 10 that the school finds fits into the course. you mostly have internships every years. as always you pick a course and this has almost all subjects set in stone.
every schoolyear always starts on 1 sept. and ends on 30 june. exept when you are in college or uni, then it mostly start somewhere at the end of sept., beginning of Oct. and ends somwhere in between late may, till early july. depending on your school and direction you picked.
P.S.: sorry for any unclear words, I tried to translate the words as good as possible