logo  ELT Concourse for learners of English
Concourse 2



Almost everyone went or goes to school so this is a topic of conversation everywhere.  This short lesson is about the words and expressions you need to talk and write about education.
Every country has a different system but usually there are only three or four main types of school.

write To start us off, write a list of all the types of school in your country.
Think about schools for very young children, schools for teenagers and schools for people over 18.
Do you know the English words for them?
Click here when you have done that.

secondary schools

test Now try a quick test to see if you can remember the words.


The three types of school

It will be different in different countries but, usually, the three types of school exist in most countries.  Think about a school you know and put it into the three types.

  1. Ages:
    1. Primary school: the first real school for young children
    2. Secondary: the second and main school for people up to 16 or 18 years old
  2. Money:
    1. State schools: the country pays and these schools are free
    2. Private schools: the parents must pay
      In Britain, a private secondary school is called a public school but it's certainly not open to the public!  In most countries, a public school is the same as a state school.
  3. Getting in:
    1. Selective: you must take a test or an examination to enter
    2. Non-selective: open to all children

What sort of school did / do you go to?



At primary school, you learn to read, write and calculate.  You may also learn a little about nature, history and religion.  In Britain, the following subjects are taught in primary schools and all schools do them.  It is called the National Curriculum.

In secondary schools the subjects are more or less the same but you study more of them.  You may also study, for example, ancient languages and a range of modern languages.
test Check in your dictionary for words you don't know and then take a little test to see if you understand.


Verbs, nouns and expressions in Education

Read this text about someone's education and then take a test to see if you can remember the vocabulary and expressions in black.

I started school when I was 5 and went to a state primary school in North London.  I don't remember much about the teachers or the lessons we attended but there was a maths mistress who taught me to love mathematics even then.  The English master also gave me a love of the language.
When I was 11, I
entered my first secondary, comprehensive school and took the same subjects at a higher level.  We even had a course in computer science and I was trained in writing code for websites.  At 16 I took a range of examinations and did well in mathematics and science so that's what I studied in the 6th form.  I passed most things but failed in history and French.
I think the teachers
prepared us well for our final examinations and I was quite successful in them.  I took a gap year after school and travelled around Asia volunteering in schools in the countryside.
After that, I
had an interview for university and was accepted to read computing science.  I graduated in computing science last year and now I'm doing my master's course.  If my dissertation passes, I want to go on to do a PhD and get my doctorate in web security.
Then who knows?

Now try the last test.