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Middle school


Middle school


  • Afghanistan 1
  • Algeria 2
  • Australia 3
  • Brazil 4
  • Canada 5
  • People's Republic of China 6
  • Czech Republic 7
  • Egypt 8
  • France 9
  • Gibraltar 10
  • India 11
  • Indonesia 12
  • Iran 13
  • Israel 14
  • Japan 15
  • Italy 16
  • Lebanon 17
  • Malaysia 18
  • Mexico 19
  • New Zealand 20
  • Pakistan 21
  • Poland 22
  • Portugal 23
  • Romania 24
  • Saudi Arabia 25
  • Singapore 26
  • Somalia 27
  • South Korea 28
  • Taiwan 29
  • Tunisia and Morocco 30
  • Countries of former Yugoslavia 31
  • United Kingdom 32
    • England 32.1
    • Scotland 32.2
    • Northern Ireland 32.3
  • United States 33
  • Uruguay 34
  • Venezuela 35
  • See also 36
  • Notes 37
  • References 38
  • Further reading 39
  • External links 40

A middle school or junior high school is a school for students older than elementary school, but not yet in high school. The ages covered varies between, and sometimes within, countries.


In Afghanistan, middle school consists of 6, 7 and 8 grade.


In Algeria, a middle school includes grades 6 through 10, consisting of students from ages 10 or 11 to 15.


Most regions of Australia do not have middle schools, as students go directly from primary school (for years K–6) to secondary school (years 7–12, usually referred to as high school).

As an alternate to the middle school model, some secondary schools divided their grades into "junior high school" (years 7 to 8) and "senior high school" (years 9, 10, 11, and 12.)[note 1]

In 1996 and 1997, a national conference met to develop what became known as the National Middle Schooling Project, which aimed to develop a common Australian view of

  • early adolescent needs
  • guiding principles for educators
  • appropriate strategies to foster positive adolescent learning.

The first middle school established in Australia was The Armidale School,[1] in Armidale (approximately 570 km north of Sydney, 470 km south of Brisbane and approximately 170 km inland from the coast). Schools have since followed this trend, such as The King's School.

The Northern Territory has introduced a three tier system featuring Middle Schools for years 7–9 (approx ages 12–15) and high school year 10–12. (approx ages 15–18)[2]

Many schools across Queensland have introduced a Middle School tier within their schools. The middle schools cover the grades/years 5 to 8.

On the Gold Coast, Upper Coomera State College (Prep-12) has three sub-schools; Junior School (Prep-6), Middle School (7–9) and Senior School (10–12).[3]


In Brazil, middle school is a mandatory stage that precedes High School called "Fundamental Education II"[note 2] consisting of grades 6 to 9, ages 11 to 14.


In Canada, the terms "middle school" and "junior high school" are both used, depending on which grades the school caters to.[4] Junior high schools tend to only include grades 7, 8, and 9 (some older schools with the name carved in concrete, still use "junior high," as part of their name, although grade nine is now missing), whereas middle schools are usually grades 6–8 or only grades 7 and 8 (i.e. around ages 11–14), varying from area to area and also according to population vs. building capacity. Another common model is grades 5–8. Alberta, Nova-Scotia, and Prince Edward Island junior high schools (the term "middle school" is not commonly used) include only grades 7–9, with the first year of high school traditionally being grade 10. In some places students go from elementary school to secondary school.

Quebec uses a grade system that is different from those of the other provinces. The Secondary level has five grades, starting after Elementary Grade 6. These are called Secondary I to Secondary V.

People's Republic of China

In the People's Republic of China, middle school has two stages, junior stage (grades 7–9, some places are grades 6–9) and senior stage (grades 10–12). The junior stage education is the last 3 years of 9-year-compulsory education for all young citizens; while the senior stage education is optional but considered as a critical preparation for college education. Some middle schools have both stages while some have either of them.

The admissions for most students to enroll in senior middle schools from junior stage are on the basis of the scores that they get in "Senior Middle School Entrance Exam",[note 3] which are held by local governments. Other students may avoid the exam, based on their distinctive talents, like athletics, or excellent daily performance in junior stage.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic after completing the nine-year elementary school (compulsory school attendance) a student may apply for high school (gymnasium).[5]

Students have the opportunity to enroll in high school from Grade 5 or (less commonly) Grade 7 of elementary school, spending eight or six years respectively at high school that otherwise takes four years. Thus they can spend five years in elementary school, followed by eight in high school. The first four years of eight-year study program at high school are comparable with junior high school. Gymnasium focuses on a more advanced academic approach to education. All other types of high schools except gymnasiums and conservatories (e.g. lyceums) accept only students that finished Grade 9.[5]


In Egypt, middle school precedes high school. It is called the preparatory stage and consists of three phases: first preparatory in which students study more subjects than primary with different branches. For instance, algebra and geometry are taught instead of "mathematics." In the second preparatory phase, students study science, geography, the history of Egypt starting with pharaonic history, including Coptic history, Islamic history, and concluding with modern history. The students are taught three languages. Arabic is obligatory. Two others are chosen as first and second languages: English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian. Middle school (preparatory stage) lasts for three years.


In France, the equivalent period to middle school is collège, which lasts four years from the Sixième (sixth, the equivalent of the Canadian and American Grade 6) to the Troisième (third, the equivalent of the Canadian and American Grade 9), accommodating pupils aged between 11 and 15. Upon completion of the latter, students are awarded a Brevet des collèges if they obtain a certain amount of points on a series of tests in various subjects (French, history / geography, mathematics) and oral examinations (history of arts). They can then enter high school (called lycée), which lasts three years from the Seconde to the Terminale until the baccalauréat, and during which they can choose a general or a professional field of study.[6]


There are four middle schools in Gibraltar, following the English model of middle-deemed-primary schools accommodating pupils aged between 8 and 12 (National Curriculum Years 4 to 7). The schools were opened in 1972 when the government introduced comprehensive education in the country.[7]


Indian Middle School children in uniform, Hnahthial, Mizoram, India

CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) classifies Middle School as a combination of Lower (Class 1 – 5) and Upper Primary (Class 5 – 8).[8]

There are other Central Boards / Councils such as CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination).

Each state has its own State Board. Each has its own standards, which might be different from the Central Boards.[8]

In some institutions, providing education for 5th to 10th are known as secondary school.[8]


In Indonesia, middle school covers ages 12 to 15 or Class 7 to class 9 [note 4]

Although compulsory education ends at junior high, most pursue higher education. There are around 22,000 middle schools in Indonesia with a balanced ownership between public and private sector.[9]


Iran calls Middle School Secondary School, which caters to children between the ages 13 and 16, i.e. 7th, 8th and 9th grade.[10]


In Israel middle school covers ages 12 to 15. From the 7th grade to the 9th.[11]


Junior high schools (中学校 chūgakkō) serve ages 12 through 15.


In Italy the equivalent is the "scuola secondaria di primo grado" formerly and commonly called "middle lower school" (Scuola Media Inferiore), often shortened to "middle school" (Scuola Media). When the "Scuola secondaria di secondo grado", the equivalent of high school, was formerly called "middle higher school" (Scuola Media Superiore), commonly called "Superiori". The Middle School lasts three years from the student age of 11 to age 14. Since 2009, after "Gelmini reform", the middle school was renamed "Scuola secondaria di primo grado" ("junior secondary school").


In Lebanon, middle school or intermediate school consists of grades 7, 8, and 9. At the end of 9th grade, the student is given the National diploma examination.


In Malaysia, pre-schools (Kindergarten) are meant for children from 5–6 years old. 7–12 year old kids attend Primary School/Elementary School[note 5] from Standard 1 to Standard 6. There are three types of schooling depending on the child's spoken language: Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. 13–17 year old students study in secondary school/high school. These schools are numbered from Form 1 to Form 5. There is also an optional Form 6 (Pre-university or A level equivalent). This is divided into Lower Form 6 and Upper Form 6. Students may choose to study other equivalent courses instead of taking Form 6 classes.

Form 1 to 3 students are called lower secondary students[note 6] and Form 4 to 6 are called upper secondary students.[note 7]

There are three major exams: 1) Standard 6. 5 Subjects for Malay Schools(government school) and 7 subjects for Chinese and Tamil Schools (non-government schools), 2) Form 3. 7 subjects for non-Muslim students and 8 subjects for Muslim students, and 3) Form 5. O level equivalent -subjects varying, according to the elective and extra subjects chosen by the students.


In Mexico, the middle school system is called Secundaria and usually comprises three years, grades 7–9 (ages: 7: 12–13, 8: 13–14, 9: 14–15). It is completed after Primaria (Elementary School, up to grade 6: ages 6–12.) and before Preparatoria/Bachillerato (High School, grades 10–12 ages 15–18).

New Zealand

In New Zealand middle schools are known as intermediate schools. They generally cover years 7 and 8 (formerly known as Forms 1 to 2). Students are generally aged between 10 and 13. There are full primary schools which also contain year 7 and 8 with students continuing to high school at year 9 (formerly knowen as Form 3). Some high schools also include years 7 and 8.

In the last decade there has been an increased interest in middle schooling (for years 7–10) with at least seven schools offering education to this age group opening around the country in Auckland, Cambridge, Hamilton, Christchurch and Upper Hutt.


In Pakistan, the Middle School is a combination of Lower (Class 1 – 5) and Upper Primary (Class 5 – 8). In some institutions, providing education for 5th to 10th are known as secondary school.[8]


Middle school in Poland, called gimnazjum, was first introduced in 1932. The education was intended for pupils of at least 12 years of age and lasted four years. Middle schools were part of the educational system until the reform of 1947, except during World War II.

The middle schools were reinstated in Poland in 1999 now lasting three years after six years of primary school. Pupils entering gimnazjum are usually 13 years old. Middle school is compulsory for all students, and it is also the final stage of mandatory education. In the final year students take a standardized test to evaluate their academic skills. Higher scorers in the test are allowed first pick of school if they want to continue their education, which is encouraged.


In Portugal, the middle school is known as 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic education (2º e 3º ciclos do ensino básico). It comprises the 5th till 9th year of compulsory education, for children between ten and fifteen years old. After the education reform of 1986, the former preparatory school (escola preparatória) or liceu, became part of basic education (educação básica).

Basic education now includes:

  • 1st cycle (1º ciclo) – former primary education
    • 1st year (6–7 years old)
    • 2nd year (7–8 years old)
    • 3rd year (8–9 years old)
    • 4th year (9–10 years old)
  • 2nd cycle (2º ciclo) – former preparatory education
    • 5th year (10–11 years old)
    • 6th year (11–12 years old)
  • 3rd cycle (3º ciclo) – former preparatory education (continuation)
    • 7th year (12–13 years old)
    • 8th year (13–14 years old)
    • 9th year (14–15 years old)


Middle school in Romania, or gymnasium, includes grades 5 to 8. At the end of the eighth grade students take an written exam that counts for 75% (before 50%) of the average needed to enroll in high school. Also, because of a new law, you cannot finish middle school and attend high school if you receive a lower grade than 5 in the exams. [12]

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, middle school includes grade 7 through 9, consisting of students from ages 12 to 50.


Students of Nan Hua High School, a secondary school in Singapore, in the school hall

In Singapore, middle school is usually referred to as secondary school. Students start secondary school after completing primary school at the age of 13, and to 16 (four years if they are taking the Special or Express courses), or 17 (five years if they are taking the Normal (Academic and Technical) courses). Students from the Special and Express courses take the GCE 'O' Levels after four years at the end of secondary education, and students from the Normal (Academic and Technical) courses additionally take the GCE 'N' Level examinations after four years, before the 'O' Levels. After completing secondary school, students move on to pre-tertiary education (i.e. in institutes such as junior colleges, polytechnics).


In Somalia, middle school identified as intermediate school is the four years between secondary school and primary school. Pupils start middle school from form as referred to in Somalia or year 5 and finish it at year 8. Students start middle school from the age of 11 and finish it when they are 14–15. Subjects, which middle school pupils take are: Somali, Arabic, English, Religion, Science, Geography, History, Maths, Textiles, Art and Design, Physical Education (PE) (Football) and sometimes Music. In some middle schools, it is obligatory to study Italian.

South Korea

In South Korea, a middle school is called a jung hakgyo (Hangul: 중학교; Hanja: 中學校) which includes grades 7 through 9 (referred to as: middle school 1st–3rd grades; approx. age 13–15).[13]


Junior high schools (Three years from 7th to 9th grade) in the Republic of China (Taiwan) were originally called "primary middle school".[note 8] However, in August 1968, they were renamed "nationals' middle school"[note 9] often translated "junior high") when they became free of charge and compulsory. Private middle school nowadays are still called "primary middle school". Taiwanese students older than twelve normally attend junior high school. Accompanied with the switch from junior high to middle school was the cancellation of entrance examination needed to enter middle school.[14]

Tunisia and Morocco

In Tunisia and Morocco, a middle school includes grades 7 through 9, consisting of students from ages 12 to 15.

Countries of former Yugoslavia

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Republic of Macedonia, the countries of former Yugoslavia, srednja škola (Serbo-Croatian)/srednja šola (Slovene)/средно училиште (Macedonian), literally "middle school", refers to educational institutions for ages between 14 and 18, and lasts 3–4 years, following elementary school (which lasts 8 or 9 years). Gymnasiums are the most prestigious type of "middle" school in these countries.

The final four years of elementary school are actually what would be called junior high school in the USA. Students have up to 12–15 different subjects in each school year (most of them only two 45-minute class periods per week). For example, 7th and 8th grade students do not have one subject called Science but three separate subjects called Chemistry, Physics and Biology.[15]

United Kingdom


In England, local education authorities introduced middle schools in the 1960s and 1970s. The notion of Middle Schools was mooted by the Plowden Report of 1967 which proposed a change to a three-tier model including First schools for children aged between 4 and 7, Middle Schools for 7–11 year-olds, and then upper or high schools for 11–16 year-olds.[16] Some authorities introduced Middle Schools for ideological reasons, in line with the report, while others did so for more pragmatic reasons relating to the raising of the school leaving age in compulsory education to 16, or to introduce a comprehensive system.[17][18]

Different authorities introduced different age-range schools, although in the main, three models were used:

  • 4–6 First schools, followed by 7–11 middle schools, as suggested by Plowden
  • 5–9 First schools, followed by 9–13 middle schools
  • 5–10 First schools followed by 10–13 middle schools, or intermediate schools

In many areas primary school rather than first school was used to denote the first tier.

In addition, some schools were provided as combined schools catering for pupils in the 5–12 age range as a combined first and middle school.[17]

Around 2000 middle and combined schools were in place in the early 1980s. However, that number began to fall in the later 1980s with the introduction of the National Curriculum. The new curriculum's splits in Key Stages at age 11 encouraged the majority of local education authorities to return to a two-tier system of Primary (sometimes split into Infant schools and Junior schools) and Secondary schools.[19] There are now fewer than 200 middle schools still operational in the United Kingdom, meaning that approximately 90% of middle schools have closed or reverted to primary school status since 1980.[20]

Under current legislation, all middle schools must be deemed either primary or secondary. Thus, schools which have more primary year groups than KS3 or KS4 are termed deemed primaries or middles-deemed-primaries, while those with more secondary-aged pupils, or with pupils in Y11 are termed deemed secondaries or middles-deemed-secondaries. For statistical purposes, such schools are often included under primary and secondary categories "as deemed".[21] Notably, most schools also follow teaching patterns in line with their deemed status, with most deemed-primary schools offering a primary-style curriculum taught by one class teacher, and most deemed-secondary schools adopting a more specialist-centred approach. Legally all-through schools are also considered middle schools (deemed secondary), although they are rarely referred to as such.

Some middle schools still exist in various areas of England. They are supported by the National Middle Schools' Forum. A list of middle schools in England is available.


In Scotland, a similar system to the English one was trialled in Grangemouth middle schools, Falkirk between 1975 and 1987.[22] The label of junior high school is used for some through schools in Orkney and Shetland which cater for pupils from 5 up to the age of 14, at which point they transfer to a nearby secondary school.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, in the Craigavon Borough Council area in County Armagh, the Dickson Plan operates, whereby pupils attend a primary school from ages 4–10, a junior high school from 11–14, and a senior high school or grammar school from 14–19. This is not dissimilar to the middle school system.

United States

Historically, in the United States, local public control (and private alternatives) have allowed for some variation in the organization of schools. Elementary school includes kindergarten through fourth grade, fifth grade, or sixth grade. Basic subjects are taught in elementary school, and students often remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for physical education, library, music, and art classes. There were in 2001 about 3.6 million children in each grade in the United States.[23]

Typically, "middle school" is 6th through 8th grade, though in some schools, it starts in 7th or 5th. "Junior high" usually includes only seventh, eighth, and sometimes ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.[24] At this time, students are given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives). Usually, starting in ninth grade, grades become part of a student's official transcript.

The middle school format has now replaced the junior high format by a ratio of about ten to one in the United States, but at least two school districts had incorporated both systems in 2010.[25][26]

The "junior high school" concept was introduced in 1909, in Columbus, Ohio.[27] In the late 19th century and early 20th century most American elementary schools had grades 1 through 8. As time passed, the junior high school concept increased quickly as systems modernized buildings and curriculum. This expansion continued through the 1960s. Jon Wiles, author of Developing Successful K–8 Schools: A Principal's Guide, said "A major problem" for the original model was "the inclusion of the ninth grade" because of the lack of instructional flexibility due to the requirement of having to earn high school credits in the ninth grade, and that "the fully adolescent ninth grader in junior high school did not seem to belong with the students experiencing the onset of puberty."[28] The new middle school model began to appear in the mid-1960s. Wiles said "At first, it was difficult to determine the difference between a junior high school and a middle school, but as the middle school became established, the differences became more pronounced[...]."[28]

Junior high schools were created to "bridging the gap between the elementary and the high school," an emphasis credited to academic departments that operate more or less independently of one another.


In Uruguay, the public middle school consists of two stages, one mandatory called "Basic Cycle" or "First Cycle". This consists of three years, ages 12–13, 13–14 and 14–15, and one optional called "Second Cycle", ages 15–16, 16–17 and 17–18. The Second Cycle is divided into 4 options in the 5th grade: "Human Sciences", "Biological", "Scientific" and "Arts", and 7 options in the 6th and last grade: "Law" or "Economy" (if Human Sciences coursed in 5th), "Medicine" or "Agronomy" (if Biological coursed in 5th), "Architecture" or "Engineering" (if Scientific coursed in 5th) and "Arts" (if Arts coursed in 5th).

Both of this stages are commonly known as "Liceo" (Spanish for "high school"). Middle school starts at grade6th through 8th.


In Venezuela, public middle schools have a different Spanish name than private schools.[note 10] The school system includes a preparatory year before first grade, so nominal grade levels are offset when compared to other countries (except those countries who have mandatory pre-school). Middle schools are from 7th grade (equivalent to 8th grade US) to 11th grade, which is equivalent to 12th grade.

In some institutions called "Technical Schools" there is an extra grade, for those who want to graduate as "Middle technician" in a certain area. This education would allow them to be hired at a higher level, or get introduced more easily into a college career.

There is a "college test" from main universities of the country. Their score on this test might allow them to more quickly obtain a spot within an institution. Students with high qualifications during the high school, have more chances to have the spot.

See also


  1. ^ An example of this is McCarthy Catholic College – originally named Our Lady of the Rosary College, established in 1981.
  2. ^ "Ensino Fundamental II"
  3. ^ Commonly referred as "Zhong Kao" (Simplified Chinese:中考)
  4. ^ Sekolah Menengah Pertama
  5. ^ Sekolah Rendah
  6. ^ Pelajar Menengah Rendah
  7. ^ Pelajar Menengah Tinggi
  8. ^ chuzhong (初級中學, 初中
  9. ^ guozhong (國民中學, 國中
  10. ^ "Liceo"; private schools are called "Colegio"


Specific citations
  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Definition of junior high school, accessed June 12, 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  5. ^ a b Czech Act No. 561/2004 Collection of Law, on Pre-school, Basic, Secondary, Tertiary Professional and Other Education (the Education Act)
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c d
  9. ^ Middle school statistics between 2004–2005
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ archived, 2009-10-31.
  25. ^ USD, Concordia, Kansas retrieved 2010-10-28
  26. ^ retrieved 2011-06-17
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^ "Junior high plan outlined", The Dallas Morning News, September 22, 1929, section 1, page 9.

Further reading

  • Arnold, J. "Needed: A Realistic Perspective of the Early Adolescent Learner." CLEARINGHOUSE 54:4 (1980).
  • Atwell, Nancie. "In the Middle: New Understanding About Writing, Reading, and Learning." Boynton/Cook Pub (1987).
  • Beane, J. "Dance to the Music of Time: The Future of Middle Level Education." THE EARLY ADOLESCENT MAGAZINE 2 (September 1987):18–26.
  • Beane, J. A MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM: FROM RHETORIC TO REALITY. Columbus, Ohio: National Middle School Association, 1990a.
  • Cross Keys Middle School. A PLACE OF OUR OWN. Florissant, Missouri: Florissant Public Schools, 1990.
  • Jennings, W., and Nathan, J. "Startling/Disturbing Research on School Program Effectiveness." PHI DELTA KAPPAN 59 (1977): 568–572.
  • Fenwick, J. (Primary Author) Taking Center Stage: A Commitment to Standards-Based Education for California's Middle Grades Students. Sacramento: California Department of Education, 2001
  • "Why Middle Level Schools Are KEY to Young Adolescent Success" Westerville, OH: NMSA, 2003.

External links

  • Canada: Provincial Systems of Education
  • Association for Middle Level Education formerly National Middle School Associationl.
  • National Middle Schools' Forum (UK)
  • Australian Middle School Program
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