The UK School System | Achieve Education

The UK School

We support a large portfolio of loyal schools in London and the surrounding areas. The British school system allows for a broad range of teaching styles and techniques in a wide spectrum of school environments, from challenging inner city schools to leafy, affluent schools in suburban areas. High expectations and standards are driving the success of our schools and London is probably the most innovative and exciting place to teach anywhere in the UK.

School Types


These schools are entirely funded by the Government.


Whilst funded by the Government, students must complete entrance exams to be considered for admission.

Voluntary Aided

Religious in ethos, they set their own admissions procedures. They work with local governments but are independent in practice. There are no fees to these schools.


'Private’ schools – funded through tuition fees paid by parents.


These schools are independent and can create their own curriculum.

The British National Curriculum is taught in all ‘state’ schools, as well as in some private schools.  The curriculum comprises of a number of subjects, with its core areas being English (Language Arts), mathematics (math) and science. Other subjects taught include: design & technology, computing, history, geography, art & design, music, physical education, religious education and modern foreign languages. 

For more information on the national curriculum please go to to find planning ideas and for some further useful resources.

Curriculum Key Stages

The school system in the UK categorises age groups as ‘Key Stages’. Below is a breakdown of the different stages in primary and secondary schools.



Ages 3-5


Ages 5-7
Year 1 & Year 2


Ages 7-11
Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 & Year 6



Ages 11-14
Year 7, Year 8 & Year 9


Ages 14-16
Year 10 & Year 11


Ages 16-18
Year 12 & Year 13 (6th Form)

A Typical School Day

The school day for the students generally begins at 8.45am and ends at 3.45pm with a lunch break for an hour at midday. As a substitute teacher, you will be expected to be present in school by 8.15 a.m. This gives you a chance to sign in and to familiarise yourself with the school. This will also give you plenty of time to set up the classroom, to consult the absent teacher’s planning and to deal with any other duties that could be assigned to you, such as playground supervision before school starts. 

The Academic Year

The school year starts in September and ends in July with schools operating a three term system. 195 teaching days and 65 days of holiday.

Term 1

September – December
One week holiday in October & two weeks in December for Christmas.

Term 2

January – April
One week holiday in February & two weeks in April for Easter.

Term 3

April – July
One week holiday in May & six weeks from July for Summer break.

No half term teaching period is ever more than 8 weeks long without a break, so you will have plenty of opportunities and time to travel around the UK or Europe, should you wish to in the holidays.

2019/2020 Term Dates

First Term
Monday 2 September to Friday 18 October

Half Term Break
Monday 21 October to Friday 25 October

Second Term
Monday 28 October to Thursday 19 December

Christmas Break
Friday 20 December to Friday 3 January

First Term
Monday 6 January to Friday 14 February

Half Term Break
Monday 17 February to Friday 21 February

Second Term
Monday 24 February to Friday 3 April

Easter Break
Monday 6 April to Friday 17 April

First Term
Monday 20 April to Friday 22 May

Half Term Break
Monday 25 May to Friday 29 May

Second Term
Monday 1 June to Tuesday 21 July

Summer Break
Wednesday 22 July to Tuesday 1 September