A school is an institution where pupils/students learn from teachers. In most systems of formal education, students progress through a series of schools: primary school, secondary school, and possibly University or vocational school. A school may be also dedicated to one particular field, such as a school of economics or a school of dance. In home schooling and online schools, teaching and learning take place outside of a traditional school building.

Regional varieties Edit

In the United Kingdom, the term school refers primarily to pre-university institutions, and these can, for the most part, be divided into pre-schools or nursery schools, primary schools (sometimes further divided into infant school and junior school), and secondary schools which are termed 'high school', 'academy', 'comprehensive' or 'grammar'. In Scotland school performance is monitored by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. Ofsted reports on performance in England and Wales.

In Australia, the term school also refers primarily to pre-university institutions.

In North America, the term school can refer to any institute of education, at any level, and covers all of the following: preschool (for toddlers), kindergarten, elementary school, middle school (also called intermediate school or junior high school, depending on specific age groups and geographic region), senior high school, college, university, and graduate school. In the US, school performance through high school is monitored by each state's Department of Education. Many of the earlier public schools in the United States were one-room schools where a single teacher taught seven grades of boys and girls in the same classroom. Beginning in the 1920s, one-room schools were consolidated into multiple classroom facilities with transportation increasingly provided by kid hacks and school buses.

In much of continental Europe, the term school usually applies to primary education, with primary schools that last between six and nine years, depending on the country. It also applies to secondary education, with secondary schools often divided between Gymnasiums and vocational schools, which again depending on country and type of school take between three and six years. The term school is rarely used for tertiary education, except for some upper or high schools (German: Hochschule) which are more accurately translated as colleges.

School sizes and structuresEdit

The size and scope of schools varies depending on the resources and goals of the communities that provide for them. A school might be simply an outdoor meeting spot where one teacher comes to instruct a few students, or, alternatively, a large campus consisting of hundreds of buildings and tens of thousands of students and educators.

The basic unit of a school building is generally the classroom, where the act of instruction takes place. Other places typically found in schools include:

  • a cafeteria (Commons), dining hall or canteen where students eat lunch.
  • an athletic field, playground, gym, and/or track for students participating in sports or physical education.
  • an auditorium or hall where student theatrical or musical productions can be staged and where all-school events such as assemblies are held.
  • an office where the administrative work of the school is done.
  • a library where students consult and check out books.
  • specialist classrooms including laboratories for science education.

Boarding schools, where students live full-time amongst their peers, will also include dormitories.

School ownership and operationEdit

Most modern states consider it a duty of the government to provide at least a basic education to the children of its citizens. For this reason, many schools are owned or funded by states. Private schools are those which are operated independently from the government. Private schools usually rely on fees from families whose children attend the school for funding; however, sometimes such schools also receive government support (see charter schools). Many private schools are affiliated with a particular religion; these are known as parochial schools.

In the United Kingdom most schools are publicly funded and known as state schools or maintained schools in which tuition is provided free. There are also private schools or independent schools that charge fees. Some of the most selective and expensive private schools are known as public schools, a usage that can be confusing to speakers of North American English. In North American usage, a public school is one that is publicly funded or run.

School securityEdit

The safety of staff and students is increasingly becoming an issue for school communities. In the wake of the Columbine High School massacre, many school administrators in the United States have created plans to protect students and staff in the event of a school shooting (Some also taking measures such as installing metal detectors). For some schools, these plans have included the use of Door Numbering to aid public safety response. Other security concerns faced by schools include bomb threats and the presence of gangs. Bullying is of major concern in many schools.

School health servicesEdit


Online schools Edit

Template:Sectstub Template:Details Some schools offer remote access to their classes over the Internet. Online schools also can provide support to traditional schools, as in the case of the School Net Namibia.

Schools in popular culture Edit

Schools in the new age are becoming a larger and larger driving force in popular culture. It is not unheard of to hear of schools coming together to perform large tasks for current world events. Schools and schoolchildren are frequently portrayed in fiction and the media, ranging from Harry Potter and Grange Hill to Battle Royale. See List of fictional schools


  • Nakosteen, M. (1964). ‘History of Islamic origins of Western Education A.D 800-1350’, University of Colorado Press, Boulder, Colorado,
  • Dodge, B. (1962). ‘Muslim Education in the Medieval Times’, The Middle East Institute, Washington D.C.
  • Makdisi, G. (1980). ‘On the origin and development of the college in Islam and the West’, in Islam and the Medieval West, ed. Khalil I. Semaan, State University of New York Press
  • Ribera, J. (1928). ‘Disertaciones Y Opusculos’, 2 vols. Madrid
  • Traditions and Encounters, by Jerry H. Bentley and Herb F. Ziegler

See alsoEdit

Template:Sisterlinks Template:Wikiversity


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png