Childcare and schooling

Oxfordshire has some of the most highly-regarded state schools in the United Kingdom, while local independent schools have an international reputation that draw pupils from around the world. These web pages provide information on schools and pre-school childcare in the UK, with specific links to local authorities and education providers.  

Children must attend full-time schooling from the age of five. Depending on when their birthday falls, many children will actually start school at the age of four. If your child was born on or after 1st September 1997, they will need to remain in some form of education or training until their 18th birthday. Children usually attend the school nearest to their home, as priority is given to children who live within a school's 'catchment area'

Children start and progress through school as follows:

  • Primary school: ages 4-11 (sometimes divided into Infant School for ages 4-7 and Junior School for ages 7-11)
  • Secondary school: ages 11–16
  • Sixth Form: ages 16–18 (pupils may continue at a secondary school, or attend either a Sixth Form college or Further Education college)

Children who leave school at the age of 16 must remain in some type of education or training for at least 20 hours a week, such as work-based learning, apprenticeships, part-time education, training or volunteering. 

The UK Government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (known as Ofsted) is responsible for regulating and inspecting schools and other childcare providers. Schools and other providers, including nurseries, pre-shools and childminders, are inspected regularly and you can view the most recent Ofsted reports on their website, searchable by school name or by location.