United Kingdom Schools

Many students study in the United Kingdom to improve their academic transcripts and curriculum vitae and to win a place at university.

The education system in the United Kingdom is well-respected around the world for high quality teaching and learning and world class facilities.

Schools and colleges in the United Kingdom are comparable with education systems in other major developed countries. Students who spend a semester or academic year in the United Kingdom can usually claim credits for their studies when they return home.

Many students study in the United Kingdom to improve their chances of winning a place at their first choice university in their home country. It is a test of character to study abroad. Students who study in the United Kingdom demonstrate personal qualities which help to strengthen their applications to university.

If you wish to study at a British university, studying at a school or college in the United Kingdom is excellent preparation. Students in the United Kingdom can study for qualifications which are recognised by British universities. Students in the United Kingdom can receive expert help on how to apply to British universities. Also, students can familiarise yourself with life in the United Kingdom before starting at a British university.

Many students study in the United Kingdom to improve their English language skills.

Students in the United Kingdom quickly learn new vocabulary and expression by speaking and listening to English speaking people.

Students who improve their English language skills improve their future career prospects.

An ability to speak English is now necessary for many careers in national government, multinational corporations, the European Union or the United Nations.

It is very important for students to improve their English language skills because English is the most widely used language in the world.

In the 21st century, the number of people speaking English around the world will increase. English will remain the main language for arts, business, commerce, politics, science, technology and the media.

  • English is the most widely spoken and written language in the world
  • More than 750 million people use the English language
  • English is spoken in 104 countries
  • English is the official language of the Olympics and the United Nations
  • 75% of the world's post and telecommunications are in English
  • 80% of information on the world's computers is in English
  • The largest broadcasting companies in the world (CBS, NBC, BBC) transmit programs in English

Exchange students who study in the United Kingdom aged 16 to 18 years usually join a Sixth Form.

The Sixth Form is the most senior part of high school. The Sixth Form is for those students who wish to study for a place at university or gain qualifications for a profession.

Students in the Sixth Form must be ambitious, motivated and intelligent to achieve their goals.

Students in the Sixth Form tend to be the most friendly, sociable and open-minded people for their age group.


As students choose to attend the Sixth Form rather than have to go, teachers treat students as young adults and give them greater freedom. Students are allowed to wear smart casual clothing in many Sixth Forms, but in some students still wear school uniform.

The Sixth is a lively and friendly place for exchange students to study:

  • An informal and relaxed atmosphere
  • Expert tuition from highly qualified teaching staff
  • Small numbers of students in classes
  • National curriculum to guarantee quality and standards
  • Enrol for internationally recognised academic or vocational qualifications
  • Expert advice on careers and university applications from highly qualified guidance counsellors and teaching staff
  • Excellent learning resources
  • Excellent facilities, including common rooms, private study areas, computer workstations and sports facilities

Schools in the United Kingdom have world class facilities for study, sports and socialising - facilities are great and getting better all the time.

There are many learning resources for exchange students studying in a Sixth Form, including:

  • School libraries
  • Quiet study areas
  • Private study facilities, including computer workstations

Schools in the United Kingdom use the latest technology for teaching and learning. Most schools in the United Kingdom have some or all of the following:

  • High speed internet access with full multi-media provision
  • Subject based network areas
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Video conferencing and editing facilities
  • Specialist laboratories

Sports facilities vary from one school to another. Most schools in the United Kingdom have some or all of the following:

  • Indoor sports halls
  • Swimming pools
  • Football pitches
  • Fitness suites and gymnasium
  • Sports fields and athletic track
  • Dance or drama studios

There are social areas in the Sixth Form where students can get together to talk and relax between classes. There is often a small kitchen with tea and coffee making facilities in these social areas.

School restaurants serve a range of meals for lunch - including traditional foods, fast food and healthier options.

Vending machines are located in schools for students to buy snacks - including soft drinks and confectionary.

The school calendar for schools in the United Kingdom gives students lots of time for study and relaxation.

The academic year starts in September and ends in July.

There are generous school holidays, including:

  • 2 week school holiday for Christmas
  • 2 week school holiday for Easter
  • 1 week school holiday in October
  • 1 week school holiday in February

There is also generous study leave in May to help students to prepare for end of year examinations.

Schools in the United Kingdom usually start around 9am and end around 3.30pm. However, some schools have more flexible patterns of attendance.

There is usually a short 15 minute break in the morning and a 1 hour break for lunch.

Exchange students in the United Kingdom select what subjects they want to study.

Students who study in the Sixth Form can select their favourite subjects to study. Students can reject subjects they find boring or difficult.

There are many interesting and exiting subjects for students to choose from.

Exchange students often follow the instructions of their guidance counsellor and study the same subjects as they would have done back home. Most traditional academic subjects taught in Europe and North America are also taught in the United Kingdom - for example, humanities and social sciences, mathematics and science and creative and artistic subjects.

However, exchange students can study new and different subjects that may not taught in their own country. In recent years, modern and contemporary subjects and skill based and professional studies have been offered as alternative subjects in many United Kingdom Sixth Forms.

The subjects available to study vary from one school to another.

This table gives an idea of the main subject areas and individual subjects on offer in many United Kingdom Sixth Forms.

Exchange Students normally choose 2 or 3 subjects to study. Subjects are studied intensively.

Humanities & Social Science Mathematics & Science Creative & Artistic Modern & Contemporary Skill Based & Professional Subjects
English Language Mathematics Art Film Studies Accountancy
English Literature Information Technology Art Textiles Media Studies Business Studies
History Engineering Music Photography Law
Geography Biology Music Technology Product Design Health & Social Care
Sociology Chemistry Drama Leisure & Tourism Hospitality & Catering
Psychology Physics Theatre

Credits & Qualifications

Exchange students in the United Kingdom can gain official recognition and accreditation for their studies when they return home.

To gain credits, exchange students have to study similar subjects in the United Kingdom to what classes they are missing from school in their home country whilst in the United Kingdom.

Before arriving in the United Kingdom, students should discuss with their guidance counsellors what subjects they need to study as part of their school timetable.

Once exchange students arrive in the United Kingdom, our team of student coordinators liaise with schools to arrange school timetables for students.

Student coordinators help exchange students to select subjects recommended by guidance counsellors in their home country. If not all subjects are available in the United Kingdom, student coordinators help students to select the most suitable alternatives in adjacent or overlapping subject areas.

Schools in the United Kingdom can provide academic transcripts for exchange students at the end of their program, confirming the subjects and levels studied. Study Abroad United Kingdom can provide supporting documentation, verifying participation in the program and extra-curricular activities. Such documentation is usually sufficient for students to gain credits for exchange programs in their home country.

Exchange students in the United Kingdom can enter for formal academic qualifications from official awarding bodies in the United Kingdom.

Schools may decide to enter an exchange student for formal examinations if (1) a student is making satisfactory progress and (2) if a student is staying in the United Kingdom long enough to complete the program of study.
Exchange students can still receive official credits for work done even if they do not enter for formal examinations.
Many qualifications in the United Kingdom are divided into modules. Exchange students can receive credits for each module they complete.

Details of modules completed can be included in academic transcripts as evidence of achievement for exchange students to show guidance counsellors when they return home.