- This article is about educational institutions. For other uses of the term school, see School (disambiguation).
A school is most commonly a place designated for learning. The range of institutions covered by the term varies from country to country.
In the United Kingdom, the term school refers primarily to pre-university institutions, and these can, for the most part, be divided into primary schools (sometimes further divided into infant school and junior school), and secondary schools. School performance is monitored by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education.
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), high school, college, university, and graduate school. In the US, school performance through high school is monitored by each state's Department of Education.
In both, a school may also be a partially autonomous or indeed entirely separate institution, not necessarily a part of a system of compulsory public education at all, dedicated to learning within one particular field, such as a school of economics (e.g. the London School of Economics), a school of dance, or a school of journalism.
The King's School, in Canterbury in the south east of England, may be the oldest existing school in the world. It was founded in 597 AD.
In parts of Europe, a Gymnasium is a school of secondary education. In Germany, after thirteen (in some states twelve) grades, the Gymnasium finishes with the Abitur (Matura in Austria and Switzerland).