3 Pre-school educationPre-school education applies to children between 3 and 6 years old.From 2004/2005 all six-year-old children attend a compulsory „ O grade”, which is to prepare them to begin the compulsory education in primary school.„O grades” function in kindergartens or are attached to primary schools and called „pre-primary classes”They are administrated and financed by local governments.
4 Lower primary school The six-year primary school is divided into 2 stages:Stage I covers grades 1,2,3, and is calledintegrated teaching.Teaching at this stage is designed to ensure smooth transition from pre-school to school education. The classes are conducted by the teacher who is at the same time the class tutor. English classes are compulsory from the first grade.At this stage pupils may also attend classes such as physiotherapy exercises, music, teaching-compensatory classes. The Principal may grant additional classes for the pupils depending on the students’ educational needs.
5 Higher primary school Stage II covers grades 4,5 and 6. Teaching at this stage is arranged in subjects listed in the outline timetable: Polish language, modern foreign language, mathematics, natural science, history and civics, music, art, technology, computer science, physical education, religion or ethics (depending on parents’ decision).All those subjects are taught by different teachers. One of them is the class tutor who is responisible for his or her class.At this stage the Principals also have additional hours at their disposal so they can organise teaching-compensatory classes.
6 Primary schoolBefore the school year 2013/2014 children used to start school education at the age of 7, but the school starting age has been lowered to 6 years as of 2014/2015.In grade 6 students take an exam which tests their knowledge and level of competence. The test is identical and equal for all students . Regardless of the exam results, pupils graduate from Primary School and may be enrolled to the Junior High School. The exam is organised by the Central Examination Board.
7 Lower secondary school 3-year lower secondary school is another stage of compulsory education. At present it is attended by pupils aged years, but due to the lowering of school starting age, 12-year-old pupils will start education in lower secondary schools in the school year 2020/2021 and they will graduate at the age of 15. At the end of lower secondary school pupils take a compulsory external exam and its results influence admission to upper secondary schools.
8 Upper secondary school The following types of upper secondary schools are open to candidates: 3-year general upper secondary school, 4-year technical upper secondary school and 3-year basic vocational school. Pupils attend upper secondary schools at the age of (16-20 years in case of the technical upper secondary school). Although this stage of education is not compulsory (or in fact compulsory part time up to the age of 18) vast majority of students continues education in upper secondary schools. Graduates of general upper secondary schools and technical upper secondary schools may take the external upper secondary school leaving examination to obtain the Matura certificate, which opens access to higher education.
9 Post-secondary non-tertiary education In the Polish education system post-secondary education is considered to be a part of secondary education. Post-secondary schools are intended for graduates of general upper secondary schools who wish to obtain a diploma confirming their vocational qualifications. The schools offer courses lasting from 1 to 2.5 years. The students of post-secondary schools and students of basic vocational schools and technical upper secondary schools take the same type of vocational exams.
10 Higher educationThere are two types of HEIs: university-type and non-university-type. They both offer first- and second-cycle programmes as well as long-cycle Master’s degree programmes while only university-type HEIs can offer third-cycle programmes (doctoral studies) and are authorized to award doctoral degrees. Studies are organized in the form of full-time or part-time programmes.
11 Adult educationThis stage of education is open to adults who wish to complete school education on primary and secondary level or acquire new vocational qualifications and skills for professional or personal reasons. It is organised in school- and non-school settings by continuing education institutions, practical training institutions, in-service training centres or as non-degree postgraduate programmes (in HEIs). Training is offered also to the unemployed and to certain categories of people searching for a job.
12 ScaleGrading system used in the Polish education to rate students’ performance:1 (insufficient)2 (passing)3 (sufficient)4 (good)5 (very good)6 (excellent)In the first stage of primary school there are no marks. The teachers write descriptions of their students’ abilities.
13 TeachersTeachers must have a higher education qualification. The type of training required depends on the stage of education.Pre-primary and primary education level: the teacher is required to graduate from minimum first cycle studies with a degree of licencjat (equivalent of BA).Lower and upper secondary education level: a degree of magister (equivalent of MA) is required.Chartered teachers with an outstanding record may also be awarded the title of honorary school education professor.
14 subjects are in general spread over five days a week. Length of the school day/week/yearThe school year. comprises around 180 days and is divided into two semesters. The compulsorysubjects are in general spread over five days a week.
15 Assessment, progression and qualifications Assessment at this level of education is similar to the arrangements in compulsory education.A pupil is promoted to a higher grade if he/she has received “acceptable” marks or above for all compulsory subjects at the end of the school year. In the case of one "unsatisfactory" mark the pupil can take an exam in this subject. A pupil who is not promoted and has not passed the exam has to repeat the same grade. (There is also a possibility of a conditional promotion of a pupil with one "unsatisfactory" mark only once during the educational cycle upon the consent of the teachers’ council).