A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education
and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (age 12 to 15) and upper secondary education (age 15 to 18) i.e. levels 2 and 3 of the ISCED
scale, but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle
and high school
system. In the UK, elite public schools
typically admit pupils between the ages of 13 and 18. UK state school
s accommodate pupils between the ages of 11 to 18.
Secondary schools follow on from primary schools
and prepare for vocational
or tertiary education
. Attendance is usually compulsory
for students until age 16. The organisations, buildings, and terminology
are more or less unique in each country.
Levels of education
In the ISCED
2011 education scale
levels 2 and 3 correspond to secondary education which are as follows:
* Lower secondary education - First stage of secondary education building on primary education, typically with a more subject-oriented curriculum. Students are generally around 12-16 years old.
* Upper secondary education - Second stage of secondary education and final stage of formal education for students typically aged 16–18, preparing for tertiary/adult education or providing skills relevant to employment. Usually with an increased range of subject options and streams.
Terminology: descriptions of cohorts
Within the English-speaking world, there are three widely used systems to describe the age of the child. The first is the 'equivalent ages'; then countries that base their education systems on the 'English model' use one of two methods to identify the year group, while countries that base their systems on the 'American K-12
model' refer to their year groups as 'grades'. The Irish model is structured similarly to the English model, but have significant differences in terms of labels. This terminology extends into the research literature. Below is a convenient comparison
Schools exist within a strict legal framework,where they may be answerable to the church, the state through local authorities and their stakeholders. In England (but necessarily in other parts of the United Kingdom) there are six general types of state funded schools running in parallel to the private sector. The state takes an interest in safeguarding issues in all schools. All state-funded schools in England are legally required to have a website where they must publish details of their governance, finance, curriculum intent and staff and pupil protection policies to comply with ' ''The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 and 2016'' '. Ofsted
School building design does not happen in isolation. The building (or school campus) needs to accommodate:
* Curriculum content
* Teaching methods
* Education within the political framework
* Use of school building (also in the community setting)
* Constraints imposed by the site
* Design philosophy
Each country will have a different education system and priorities. Schools need to accommodate students, staff, storage, mechanical and electrical systems, support staff, ancillary staff and administration. The number of rooms required can be determined from the predicted roll of the school and the area needed.
According to standards used in the United Kingdom, a general classroom for 30 students needs to be 55 m2
, or more generously 62 m2
. A general art room for 30 students needs to be 83 m2
, but 104 m2
for 3D textile work. A drama studio or a specialist science laboratory for 30 needs to be 90 m2
. Examples are given on how this can be configured for a 1,200 place secondary (practical specialism). and 1,850 place secondary school.
Building design specifications
The building providing the education has to fulfil the needs of: The students, the teachers, the non-teaching support staff, the administrators and the community. It has to meet general government building guidelines, health requirements, minimal functional requirements for classrooms, toilets and showers, electricity and services, preparation and storage of textbooks and basic teaching aids.
An optimum secondary school will meet the minimum conditions and will have:
* adequately sized classrooms;
* specialised teaching spaces;
* a staff preparation room;
* an administration block;
* multipurpose classrooms;
* a general purpose school hall;
* laboratories for science, technology, mathematics and life sciences, as may be required;
* adequate equipment;
* a library
or library stocks that are regularly renewed; and
* computer rooms or media centres.
Government accountants having read the advice then publish minimum guidelines on schools. These enable environmental modelling and establishing building costs. Future design plans are audited to ensure that these standards are met but not exceeded. Government ministries continue to press for the 'minimum' space and cost standards to be reduced.
The UK government published this downwardly revised space formula in 2014. It said the floor area should be 1050m2 (+ 350m2 if there is a sixth form) + 6.3m2/pupil place for 11- to 16-year-olds + 7m2/pupil place for post-16s. The external finishes were to be downgraded to meet a build cost of £1113/m2. ]
Secondary schools by country
A secondary school locally may be called high school or senior high school. In some countries there are two phases to secondary education (ISCED 2) and (ISCED 3), here the junior high school, intermediate school, lower secondary school, or middle school occurs between the primary school (ISCED 1) and high school.
* List of schools by country
* Secondary education
* Tertiary education
Australian CensusAtSchool (Australia)
Canadian Education Statistics Council (CESC) (United States)
Office for National Statistics (ONS) (United Kingdom)
BB103_Area_Guidelines_for_Mainstream_Schools (2014) UK
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (United States)
OECD Standardised designs (2011)
Category:High schools and secondary schools