Three-tier education

Three-Tier Education

Three-tier education

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Three-tier education refers to those structures of schooling, which exist in some parts of England, where pupils are taught in three distinct school types. A similar experiment was also trialled in Scotland. (See separate article)

In three-tier authorities children begin their compulsory education in a First school. Sometimes also called a Lower school (or more simply, primary school), these schools cater for children aged up to an age between 8 and 10, and cover all of Key Stage 1 and the first years of Key Stage 2. Children then transfer to a Middle school, sometimes called an Intermediate school. These schools cater for children during a period of 3 to 4 years between the ages of 8 and 14, depending on the local authority. These years cover parts of both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Following this, children transfer to a High school, sometimes known as an Upper school for the remainder of their compulsory education, and sometimes on into sixth form.

Many local authorities trialled systems as this for a period from as early as 1968, with many more following suit during the early 1970s, particularly in 1972 when the Raising of school leaving age in England and Wales from 15 to 16 saw many secondary schools lacking the adequate class space for 11-16 year olds.

However, most have since reverted to align their schools to the National Curriculum.

Some areas reverted to the traditional age ranges as long ago as the late 1970s. One of the first areas to revert...
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