Compulsory education in Poland starts at the age of six from the mandatory „0” reception class. The reception class is a part of kindegarten/pre-school rather than school.
The actual school education, primary school (szkoła podstawowa), starts at the age of 7 (earlier entry is possible on the condition of receiving a positive opinion on emotional and intellectual school readiness of the child).
Polish education system
Primary school (szkoła podstawowa)
There are 8 years of education in primary school in Poland with a division into:
- grades 1 – 3 – early education where teaching is delivered in the form of teaching blocs rather than single subjects; the class teacher delivers classes in literacy and numeracy as well as in musical education and art; the marks at this stage are descriptive rather than numerical;
- grades 4 – 8 – there is a clear division into subjects (Polish language, English language, Mathematics, Nature, History, Computing, PE, Music, Art, Practical skills, Religion/Ethics, and from grade 7 also Chemistry, Biology and a foreign language); students receive numerical marks for all subjects on a scale from 1 to 6 (1- failed, 6 – excellent).
The primary school ends with end-of-school exams the results of which are taken into account when applying to a secondary education school.
Secondary school (szkoła średnia)
At the age of 15 young people in Poland start secondary education which can take a form of:
- 4-year general secondary school (high school),
- 5-year technical (vocational) secondary school,
- 3-year vocational school (stage I),
- 2-year vocational school (stage II)
Students of vocational schools – basic vocational schools and technical secondary schools – may take exams confirming vocational qualifications in a given occupation during the course of study or upon completion of school to receive a diploma confirming their vocational qualifications.
Graduates of general upper secondary schools (liceum ogólnoształcące) and technical secondary schools may take the school-leaving examination (egzamin maturalny) to obtain the Matura certificate, which gives access to higher education.
At Regent International Schools in Elbląg we offer private primary school education (szkoła podstawowa) and general secondary school education/high school (liceum ogólnokształcące).
In the Polish education system full-time compulsory education and part-time compulsory education are defined. Full-time compulsory education (obligation to attend primary school applies to pupils aged 7-15 years while part-time compulsory education (obligation to be in education) concerns pupils aged 15-18 and it may take place either in school settings (the student attends secondary school) or in non-school settings (e.g. the student follows vocational training offered by employers).
For more information about the Polish education system (including beyond secondary school) please go to the Eurydice website.