Primary and Secondary Schools in Poland

British International School Gdansk

Gdansk, Poland
British International School Gdańsk is an international school in Poland established in 2007. The school educates children from the ages 2.5 to 18. The institution is based on the British educational system, for which reason students take the GCSE and A Level examinations and apply to world-renown universities. All classes are conducted by native English speakers or well-qualified Polish tutors, who have gained teaching experience in the UK. British International School Gdańsk has become the first choice for international families in the city as well as for local citizens, who wish to... See full description.

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About Primary and Secondary Schools in Poland

The current primary and secondary school education system in Poland was established following the reforms of 1999. Under the present system, education is compulsory until the age of 18. Upon completing at least one year of kindergarten and no later than the age of seven, students must enroll into a primary school. The system mandates six years of primary school followed by three years in gymnasia (lower secondary schools). At the end of the third year of the gymnasia (9th grade), students take a compulsory examination to determine the upper secondary school they will attend.  There are many options for post gymnasia education, with a three year liceum or a four years technikum being the most common. Both are concluded with students taking a maturity examination called Matura, which is a standardised national secondary school achievement examination and determines eligibility for higher education.

Primary Education in Poland

Students must enrol for six years of primary schooling, no later than the age of seven as mentioned, and pass out at the age of 13.  Polish primary schooling comprises two stages.
  • Stage 1 includes grades one, two and three and is known as integrated teaching. This stage is structured to allow a smooth transition from pre-schooling to a formal schooling system.
  • Stage 2 includes grades four, five and six. Subject teaching is initiated during this stage and undertaken with an outlined timetable. The subjects covered include Polish, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, History, Civics, Foreign Language, Computer Sciences, Physical Ed., Music, Art and Ethics.

Apart from the above mentioned subjects in Stage 2, various “educational paths” are also introduced during primary schooling. The school administration bears the responsibility to include these in the curricula implemented by teachers. These education paths include health education, reading and media education, ecological education, education for family life, education for society, cultural education and patriotic and civic education.

There is no formal testing or examination of students during these six years and the age of the students primarily decides class composition. However, at the end of grade 6 they must take an exam to determine which lower secondary school or gymnasium they would be accepted in.

Secondary Education in Poland

Lower Secondary Schools have been established in the form of three-year gymnasia.  Further, in 2002, upper secondary schools were also introduced in Poland.
  • Lower Secondary Education: Also known as the gymnasium, it comprises students in grade seven, eight and nine. This program is full-time and obligatory for all students aged 13 to 16. At the gymnasium level, students are provided with a wide ranging, but basic level subject education. This educational stage aims at identifying the aptitude and interest of students in order to help them make better decisions regarding the educational course and vocation they wish to pursue in the future. The reforms also mandate learning two foreign languages at this level. English is usually one of them.
  • Upper Secondary Education: Students attend different kinds of post gymnasium schools depending on their aptitude, requirement and performance in the examination conducted at the end of gymnasium. Education in post gymnasium schools has a vocational focus and offers various alternatives such as the 3-year specialized lyceum and the 4-year secondary technical schools. Additionally there are also 2 to 3 years basic vocational schools which culminate in students obtaining a certificate of “Completion of Education in Basic Vocational School”.
Upon passing the Matura, or the end of secondary schooling, students receive świadectwo dojrzałości, which gives them the right to access higher education (college level). The only kind of post-primary school which doesn’t give access to higher education is the basic vocational school, the graduates of which may continue their education, should they choose to do so, in various complementary secondary schools such as a complementary lyceum or complementary technical secondary school. On completion of these, students can pass the Matura and thus become eligible for higher education.

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