Middle school

"Junior High School" redirects here. For the junior half of secondary school, see high school.
"Junior Higher" redirects here. For the age group, see preadolescence.
Middle school girls in uniform in Mizoram, India

A middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high school) is an educational stage, which exists in some countries, and takes place between primary school and high school. The concept, regulation and classification of middle schools, as well as the ages covered, vary between, and sometimes within, countries.


In Afghanistan, middle school consists of grades 6, 7 and 8. Besides there is a change in the scenario.


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 alternative 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

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.


In Brazil, middle school is a mandatory stage that precedes High School called "Ensino Fundamental 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.[3] 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.


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).[4]

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.[4]


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 two languages, Arabic and English. 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.[5]


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.[6]


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).[7]

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.[7]

In some institutions, providing education for 5th to 10th are known as secondary school.[7]


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.[8]


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


In Israel middle school covers ages 12 to 15. From the 7th grade to the 9th.[10]


Main article: Education in Japan

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, the middle school equivalent is called lower secondary school which consists of students from age 13 to 15 (Form 1-3). [note 5] Usually, these lower secondary schools are combined with upper secondary schools to form a single secondary school which is also known as high school. Students at the end of their lower secondary studies are required to sit for an examination called PT3 (Form 3. 7 subjects for non-Muslim students and 8 subjects for Muslim students) in order to determine their field of studies for upper secondary (Form 4-5).


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 known as Form 3).[11] Some high schools also include years 7 and 8.[12]

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.[13][14]


Main article: Education in Pakistan

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.[7]


There is no Middle School in the Philippines but middle school in the Philippines is called to be now as junior high school which starts in the 7th Grade to 10th Grade. It Often Starts at the age of 12 to the age of 16.


Main article: Education in Poland

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.

Starting with the school year 2017/18, middle schools are scheduled to be disbanded and primary schools to be extended to lasting eight years, as it was before 1999.


Main article: Education in Portugal

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:


Main article: Education in Romania

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.[15]


Main article: Education in Russia

Middle school in Russia covers grades 5 to 9, and is a natural continuation of primary school activities (usually they share the building but are located in different wings/floors). Primary school lessons are taught by a handful of teachers: most are covered by one of them, and more specific areas such as English or gym may have dedicated teachers. The transition to middle school changes that to a one teacher per course model, where teachers stay in their classrooms and pupils change rooms during breaks. Examples of courses include mathematics (split from grade 7 into algebra, geometry and physics), visual arts, Russian language, foreign language, history, literature, geography, biology, computer science, chemistry (from grade 8), social theory (in grade 9).[16] The education process is done in numbered quarters, with the first quarter covering September and October, second quarter November and December, third quarter going from mid January to mid March, fourth quarter covering April and May. There are one week long holidays between quarters 1 and 2 as well as 3 and 4, somewhat longer holidays between quarters 2 and 3 to allow for New Year festivities, and a three-month break between the years.[17] At the end of middle school most people stay in school for two more years and get a certificate allowing them to pursue university, but some switch to vocational-technical schools.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, middle school includes grade 7 through 9, consisting of students from ages 12 to 15.


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).


Main article: Education in Somalia

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: ) which includes grades 7 through 9 (referred to as: middle school 1st–3rd grades; approx. age 13–15).[18]


Junior high schools (Three years from 7th to 9th grade) in Taiwan were originally called "primary middle school".[note 6] However, in August 1968, they were renamed "nationals' middle school"[note 7] 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.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22][23]

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

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.[22]

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.[24] There are now fewer than 150 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. The system of 8-12 middle schools has fallen into complete disuse.[25]

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".[26] 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.[27] 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 Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District 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 third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, or sixth grade. In some school districts, Intermediate School includes Fourth grade, Fifth Grade, or Sixth Grade. In some intermediate schools, it starts in 4th or 5th. 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.[28] "Middle school" or "junior high school" are schools that span grades seventh and eighth. It sometimes also includes sixth or ninth and very occasionally fifth grades as well.[29] 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.[30] 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. In the U.S., children within this grade-range are sometimes referred to as junior highers.[31]

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.[32][33]

The “junior high school” concept was introduced in 1909, in Columbus, Ohio.[34] 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 that “[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.”[35] 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 […].”[35]

Junior high schools were created for “bridging the gap between the elementary and the high school,” an emphasis credited to Charles W. Eliot.[36] The faculty is organised into academic departments that operate more or less independently of one another.


Main article: Education in Uruguay

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 grade 6 and ends at grade 8.


In Venezuela, public middle schools have a different Spanish name than private schools.[note 8] 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 Médio"
  3. Commonly referred as "Zhong Kao" (Simplified Chinese:中考)
  4. Sekolah Menengah Pertama
  5. Pelajar Menengah Rendah
  6. chuzhong (初級中學, 初中
  7. guozhong (國民中學, 國中
  8. "Liceo"; private schools are called "Colegio"


Specific citations
  1. "A SHORT HISTORY of THE ARMIDALE SCHOOL" (PDF). The Armidale School. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  2. "About Middle Years". Middle Years – N8orthern Territory of Australia. Northern Territory Government. 200. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  3. "Definition of junior high school". Retrieved June 12, 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  4. 1 2 Czech Act No. 561/2004 Collection of Law, on Pre-school, Basic, Secondary, Tertiary Professional and Other Education (the Education Act)
  5. "Les niveaux et les établissements d'enseignement – Ministère de l'éducation nationale" (in French). Education.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  6. "Schools Gibraltar | Colleges Gibraltar". Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Amaidi. "Indian Education System" (PDF). Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  8. Middle school statistics between 2004–2005 http://www.depdiknas.go.id/statistik/thn04-05/SMP_0405.htm
  9. Mehrabi, Masoud. "Iran Chamber Society: Education in Iran: The Iranian Educational System". Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  10. "Israel Education System".
  11. http://www.tki.org.nz/Schools/(page)/search-results?schoolName=&regionId=&schoolTypeId=20&schoolAuthId=&genderId=&medium=&boarding=&Search=Search
  12. http://www.tki.org.nz/Schools/(page)/search-results?schoolName=&regionId=&schoolTypeId=30&schoolAuthId=&genderId=&medium=&boarding=&Search=Search
  13. http://www.tki.org.nz/Schools/(page)/search-results?schoolName=&regionId=&schoolTypeId=35&schoolAuthId=&genderId=&medium=&boarding=&Search=Search
  14. http://www.tki.org.nz/Schools/(page)/search-results?schoolName=&regionId=&schoolTypeId=92&schoolAuthId=&genderId=&medium=&boarding=&Search=Search
  15. Romania, Ministry of National Education and Research (2014). "Changes in Education (Romanian version)". Education (No english version).
  16. "Список предметов, изучаемых в начальной, средней и старшей школе.".
  17. "Учебные четверти и каникулы".
  18. Ministry of Education Science & Technology. "Education System". Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  19. Government Information Office. "Taiwan's Educational Development and Present Situation". Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  21. Central Advisory Council for Education (England) (1967). "Volume 1 Chapter 10 The Ages and Stages of Primary Education". Children and their Primary Schools. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  22. 1 2 "Middle schools decline due to haphazard development". Times Educational Supplement. 1981-11-13. p. 9.
  23. Andrew, Herbert; Department of Education and Science (1965-07-12). "Main forms of comprehensive organisation". Circular 10/65: The Organisation of Secondary Education. HMSO. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
  24. "Education: End of the Middle Way?". BBC News. 1998-06-28. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  25. "UK Middle Schools". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  26. "The Education (Middle School) (England) Regulations 2002". Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 1983. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  27. Meldrum, James (1976). Three-tier Education in Grangemouth.
  28. "Digest of Education Statistics, 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  29. Aud, Susan; Statistics, National Center for Education; (U.S.), Institute of Education Sciences; Nachazel, Thomas; Wilkinson-Flicker, Sidney; Dziuba, Allison (18 November 2013). "The Condition of Education 2013". Government Printing Office via Google Books.
  30. The major difference between a middle school and a junior high lies in the philosophy. The middle school philosophy focuses on the student where the junior high focus is more on the content. Definition of junior high school. encarta.msn.com. Retrieved July 24, 2007. archived webcitation.org, 2009-10-31.
  31. Gillham, Isabel. "Self-concept and Reading." The Reading Teacher 21.3 (1967): 270-273.
  32. USD, Concordia, Kansas retrieved 2010-10-28
  33. http://www.agawampublicschools.org/ retrieved 2011-06-17
  34. "First Junior High School in the United States". OhioHistoryCentral.org. Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  35. 1 2 Wiles, John, ed. (June 10, 2009). Developing Successful K–8 Schools: A Principal's Guide. Corwin Press. p. 3. ISBN 1412966175.
  36. "Junior high plan outlined", The Dallas Morning News, September 22, 1929, section 1, page 9.

Further reading

Look up junior high school in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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