✨ UK vs US Education Terminology ✨

icon-time 11 September 2018
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One of the biggest differences in terminology between British and American English is to be found in the language surrounding schools and education. This can be pretty confusing if you're thinking about going to study in either of the two countries, so hopefully this article can help clear a few things up for you. 😊

Public School 🎒📚

One of the most confusing terms between the two dialects is ‘Public School’, as they virtually mean opposite things. In England and Wales, people understand ‘public school’ to mean an old and prestigious private boarding school; whereas in the US, a ‘public school’ is what the English would call a ‘state school’, a school funded by the government.

These expensive boarding schools in England were originally called public schools as they took students from any religion, family or origin, which was not the case for other schools at the time.

Luckily, ‘private school’ means the same in both dialects. 😆

Miscellaneous Terminological Differences

 British English (BrE) 🇬🇧  American English (AmE) 🇺🇸 Thai
Break (time) Recess
Homework Assignment
TermSemester
Autumn TermFall Semester
Holiday(s)
Vacation / Break
Easter Holidays
Spring Break
“I studied Maths at university”
“Math was my major in college”
State School / Comprehensive School Public School
CanteenCafeteria
RubberEraser
Take/call/do the register
Take attendance / call the roll
Head teacher Principal


"What Year/Grade Are You In?"

Starting Age  UK Year  UK Institution  US Grade  US Institution 
2-3 Nursery / Playschool Day care / Preschool
4 Reception U+2191.svg




PRIMARY SCHOOL






U+2193.svg
Pre-Kindergarten / Pre-K
5 Year 1 Kindergarten U+2191.svg




ELEMENTARY SCHOOL



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6 Year 2 1st grade
7 Year 3 2nd grade
8 Year 4 3rd grade
9 Year 5 4th grade
10 Year 6 5th grade
11 Year 7 U+2191.svg




SECONDARY SCHOOL / HIGH SCHOOL



U+2193.svg
6th grade U+2191.svg

MIDDLE SCHOOL

U+2193.svg
12 Year 8 7th grade
13 Year 9 8th grade
14 Year 10 9th grade, freshman year U+2191.svg




PREP / HIGH SCHOOL




U+2193.svg
15 Year 11 10th grade, sophomore year
16 Year 12 U+2191.svg

SIXTH FORM

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11th grade, junior year
17 Year 13 12th grade, senior year
18 1st Year/ Fresher U+2191.svg


UNIVERSITY


U+2193.svg
Freshman U+2191.svg


COLLEGE


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19 2nd Year Sophomore
20 3rd Year/Final Year Senior