Who you talk to, what part of England you are from, and your role or status in it will affect your view of the English education system. Even the names for different stages through the school system vary. In the Midlands, we generally name the steps: Nursery School, Primary School, Secondary School (Comprehensive or Grammar), College and finally University.
Schools, Colleges and Universities – educational institutions by any other name
There are all sorts of nuances and variations to the naming conventions used:
- Some people, mostly educationalists, call the stages Key Stage 1 to 5
- Others focus on the years so: Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 2 etc up to Year 13, with University to follow, if relevant.
- Try Elementary, High, Lower or Upper School too
- Some split Primary into Infant and Junior School and then throw in a few Kindergartens and Receptions too
- Some say: Primary Education, Secondary Education, Further Education, Higher Education, Postgraduate Education
- Others go with: Preparatory School, Senior School, Sixth Form / College, University Undergraduate, University Postgraduate
- Then we can throw in a few other varieties: Training Centre, Academy, Tech., Institute, Center, Specialist
- What about adding in some more qualifiers: Private, Public, State, Independent, Trust, Faith, Comprehensive, Grammar, Mixed, Girls, Boys, Selective, Non-Selective, Day, Boarding
Then, if things weren’t already bad enough, it gets to be more of a confusing mess when:
- LSE (London School of Economics) turns out to be a University
- King’s College, Cambridge is not a college in the same way as Leicester College is a college
- Nor is Brockington College – an 11-16 mixed secondary school (Enderby, Leicestershire)
- or Lutterworth College – an 11-19 school (Leicestershire) or as they describe themselves – “a large 11–19 non-selective, inclusive, comprehensive, Church of England Secondary School and Sixth Form College with academy status“
If you come to England from overseas you could easily get a little confused. Of course, you could make it even more confusing by talking about the differences between the systems in the rest of the UK too. But we are not doing so here.
Easy naming system – to avoid complications
At the Leavers Hoodies Company, we use the names our clients give us for specific orders. For ease in general use, on our website and when in non-specific situations for example when talking to prospective clients, we stick with the major groupings of School, College and University. It doesn’t much matter to us what the educational institutions we serve are called.
Common purposes of schools, colleges and universities
As we see it, all educational institutions are trying to achieve the same things—no matter what the governors, founders, sponsors, government or experts want to call them.
The balance varies depending on the age of the pupils/students and the nature of the institution but the prime aims, in our view, remain:
- Teaching skills, attitudes and facts to their pupils/students/cohorts/classes/individuals etc – covering the realms of academic, physical and social learning
- Promoting well-being – mental, physical and social
- Providing an environment where the students can fulfil their potential in all aspects of their life at that time
Leavers Hoodies Company working with Schools, Colleges and Universities
Especially true with the schools, we love seeing how some of them have changed and developed over time. A good few have gone through name changes too. We also enjoy seeing some of the things which remain constant. Not least, the schools’ desire for the pupils to have hoodies when they are leaving the institution.
As an aside it might be worth noting that the one category of school that we didn’t mention above and don’t come across at the Leavers Hoodies Company is the Home School. Because we have a minimum order quantity of 20 hoodies there aren’t many home school ‘institutions’ we can work with.