Year Twelve

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Year Twelve is an educational year group in schools in many countries including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It is sometimes the twelfth year of compulsory education, or alternatively a year of post-compulsory education. It usually incorporates students aged between 15 and 18, depending on the locality. It is also known as "senior year" in parts of Australia. Twelfth grade - senior year in the US and parts of Canada - is Year Thirteen in New Zealand and Great Britain.


In Australia, Year Twelve is either the 12th or 13th year of compulsory education or the first or second year of post-compulsory education, depending on the state. However, one may leave school in year 10, after completing a series of compulsory tests, unless in Victoria, where no tests are required. It is the third year of "senior school", following Year 10 and 11 and fifth year of high school. Although there are slight variations between the states, most students in Year Twelve are aged between 17 and 18.[1]

New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, Year Twelve is the 12th full year of compulsory education, with students entering Year 12 generally aged between 15.5 and 17.[2] The minimum age for leaving compulsory education is 16 years of age, so for some students this will be their last year of compulsory education. Year Twelve pupils are educated in Secondary schools or in Area schools.[3] Year Twelve was previously known as the 6th form and most students will be studying for NCEA Level 2. It is followed by Year Thirteen, the final year of secondary education in New Zealand.

United Kingdom[edit]

England and Wales[edit]

In schools in England Year Twelve is the 12th year after Reception. It is the second last year of compulsory education[4] and usually forms part of a sixth form or sixth form college. It is also known as the "Lower sixth", with "Upper sixth" being Year Thirteen in a sixth form; in independent or vocational colleges these titles are not used. Despite the titles, Years twelve and thirteen comprise Key Stage 5.

Students in Year 12 in the mainland United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) can study A Level qualifications in sixth form college, or alternatively the more vocational BTEC. Students have the option to stay at the school they studied their GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications or move to another educational facility which carries the A level. These students are usually 16 and 17 years old. There are many subjects available to study at AS Level including sciences, mathematics, humanities and languages but also vocational subjects such as art & design, drama and IT.

Northern Ireland[edit]

In Northern Ireland, Year Twelve is the fifth and final year of compulsory post-primary education. Students in Year Twelve are aged between 15 and 16. It is the final year of Key Stage 4.[5]


  1. ^ "Cost/Benefit Analysis Relating to the Implementation of a Common School Starting Age and Associated Nomenclature by 1 January 2010" (PDF). Atelier Learning Solutions Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  2. ^ "School years and levels". Team-up website. Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  3. ^ "Types of schools". Team-up website. Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "The Education (Northern Ireland) Order 2006". The Stationery Office. 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
Preceded by
Year Eleven
Year Twelve
Succeeded by
Year Thirteen
Sixth form