A primary school (from French école primaire) is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. It can be divided into public and private.
Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In some countries, and especially in North America, the term elementary school is preferred. Children generally attend primary school from around the age of four or five until the age of eleven or twelve. In some places, primary schooling has historically further been divided between lower primary schools (LP schools) and Higher primary schools (HP schools).
In Australia, Primary School is generally for children aged 5–12. In South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland grade 7 is part of primary school; in other states it forms part of secondary education. In certain year groups, students in all schools take part in the National Assessment Programme (NAP). The year levels:
|Kindergarten||4-5||Referred to as "Kindergarten" in New South Wales, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia "Transition" in the Northern Territory .|
|Preparatory*||5-6*||Referred to as "Pre-primary" in Western Australia and "reception" in South Australia. *New South Wales does not include a Preparatory year, students move from Kindergarten to year 1.|
|7*||12-13*||*Only in QLD, SA and WA. Elsewhere, year 7 is the first year of high school.|
After primary school, students move on to high school.
In Canada, primary school (also known as elementary school) usually begins at the ages of four through six, starting with either Kindergarten or Grade 1 and lasts until age 13 or 14. Many places in Canada split primary school into two divisions, with primary (or elementary) lasting from Kindergarten to grades five or six (ages 10–11), and junior secondary or middle school lasting from grades six or seven to grades eight or nine (ages 13–15).
In Nova Scotia "elementary school" is the most common term. The provincial government of Nova Scotia uses the term "Primary" instead of Kindergarten.
In France, primary schools provide education from the age of 6 to 11. The students start in CP (cours préparatoire) then past in CE1, CE2 (cours élémentaires), CM1 and finally CM2 (cours moyens).
Depending on the federal state, primary schools provide education from Class 1 to Class 4 or from Class 1 to Class 6. After primary school students may attend a Hauptschule, Mittelschule, Regionale Schule or a Realschule, which are more vocationally orientated, a Gymnasium, which is more academically oriented, or a Gesamtschule, which is comparable to a Comprehensive School.
In Hong Kong, students attend primary schools for the first six years of compulsory education.
In Ireland, children aged between 4–6 years begin attending primary school. There are eight different 'grades'. Participation is compulsory. This is the first of 14 prescribed years of formal education from a standardised curriculum set by the Department of Education.
In Malaysia, the first six years of compulsory formalised education take place in primary schools, and starts at the age of seven.
|Year 1 / Standard 1||6-7|
|Year 2 / Standard 2||7-8|
|Year 3 / Standard 3||8-9|
|Year 4 / Standard 4||9-10|
|Year 5 / Standard 5||10-11|
|Year 6 / Standard 6||11-12|
In Pakistan, children aged between 4–6 years begin attending primary school.
The medium of instruction is English. After completing kindergarten, or pre-school years, children will then have to go through 6 years compulsory of primary education, from ages 7 to 12. At the end of primary education, students are required to take a standardised national exam, the Primary School Leaving Examination(also known as PSLE). Based on PSLE results, students apply and are sorted into secondary schools for a 4 or 5 year course.
In Somalia, pupils start primary school when they are 7 and finish it at the age of 11 starting from form 1 to form 4. Pupils must firstly have attended casual school known as dugsi and learnt the Muslim holy book Qur'an, and the meaning of the Arabic language. Pupils who had not done this are not permitted to start primary school as they will be examined before starting. Pupils' age may sometimes vary seeing that some pupils achieve higher than their predicted grade and may skip the year while some require to repeat the year if they had not achieved the grade required from them. After finishing primary, students move to intermediate school.
- Main article: Education in Sweden.
In Sweden kids go to the primary school (grundskola) through the ages of 7 and 15. After that they can choose to (although it is pretty uncommon not to) study at a gymnasium for three years where they pick a program devoted to a particular direction (i.e. Science, Aesthetics, Civics). During the gymnasium all students have some subjects they have to study, but not during all three years. Almost all children attend a preparatory year at the age of 6. This initial year is not mandatory.
The children don't start receiving grades until their eighth year. This is, however, about to change according to a new proposal from the Swedish government, where grades will be given from the sixth year.
In the UK schools providing primary education in the state sector are known as primary schools. They generally cater for children aged from four to eleven (Reception to Year Six; in Scotland Primary One to Primary Seven).
In areas that adopted a three-tier system, the term primary school is often used as an alternative to First School, taking in ages up to 9 or 10 years old, although for education planning purposes, the term "primary education" in these areas will still cover the age groups as in a two-tier system.
In the private sector, fee-paying schools which provide primary education are known as preparatory schools, and they often cater for children up to the age of thirteen. As their name suggests, preparatory schools are designed to prepare pupils for entrance examinations for fee-paying independent schools.
In the United States, the term primary school is used in a general way to describe a school housing the primary grades, usually meaning kindergarten (ages five to six) or first grade (ages 6 and 7) to fourth grade (ages 9 to 10), fifth (ages 10 to 11), or sixth grade (ages 11 to 12), though this is more commonly referred to as an elementary school. Very few schools in the US actually use the term primary school as part of their school name and such schools are generally private schools, serving very young children.
- Online Etymology Dictionary
- Primary school. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on 12 June 2007, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9061377
- Bruce Ryburn Payne, Public Elementary School Curricula: A Comparative Study of Representative Cities of the United States, England, Germany and France (1905), p. 155.
- "National Assessment Program (NAP)". ACT DET website. ACT Department of Education and Training. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
- See the official version of Australian Government on https://aei.gov.au/AEI/CEP/Australia/EducationSystem/School/Primary/default.htm
- "Primary School Education".
- "More levels in new grading scale".