Secondary school

Tóth Árpád Gimnázium, a secondary school in Debrecen, Hungary

A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education (levels 2 and 3 of the ISCED scale), but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle and high school system.

Secondary schools typically follow on from primary schools and lead into vocational and tertiary education. Attendance is compulsory in most countries for students between the ages of 11 and 16. The organisations, buildings, and terminology are more or less unique in each country.[1][2]

Levels of education

First 'Early levels' of the ISCED 2011 levels of education and comparison with ISCED 1997[3]
Level ISCED 2011 Description Corresponding ISCED 1997 level
0 Early childhood Education (01 Early childhood educational development) Education designed to support early development in preparation for participation in school and society. Programmes designed for children below the age of 3. None
0 Early childhood Education (02 Pre-primary education) Education designed to support early development in preparation for participation in school and society. Programmes designed for children from age 3 to the start of primary education. Level 0: Pre-primary education.
1 Primary education Programmes typically designed to provide students with fundamental skills in reading, writing and mathematics and to establish a solid foundation for learning. Level 1: Primary education or first stage of basic education.
2 Lower secondary education First stage of secondary education building on primary education, typically with a more subject-oriented curriculum. Level 2: Lower secondary education or second stage of basic education
3 Upper secondary education Second/final stage of secondary education preparing for tertiary education or providing skills relevant to employment. Usually with an increased range of subject options and streams. Level 3: Upper secondary education
4 Post-secondary non-tertiary education Programmes providing learning experiences that build on secondary education and prepare for labour market entry or tertiary education. The content is broader than secondary but not as complex as tertiary education. Level 4: Post-secondary non-tertiary education
5 Short-cycle tertiary education Short first tertiary programmes that are typically practically based, occupationally specific and prepare for labour market entry. These programmes may also provide a pathway to other tertiary programmes. Level 5B: First stage of tertiary education: typically shorter, more practical/technical/occupationally specific programmes leading to professional qualifications.