Year Twelve

Year 12 is an educational year group in schools in many countries including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It is sometimes the twelfth year of compulsory education, or alternatively a year of post-compulsory education. It usually incorporates students aged between 15 and 18, depending on the locality. It is also known as "senior year" in parts of Australia. Twelfth grade – senior year in the US and parts of Canada – is Year 13 in New Zealand and Great Britain.


In Australia, Year 12 is either the 12th or 13th year of compulsory education or the first or second year of post-compulsory education, depending on the state. However, one may leave school in year 10, after completing a series of compulsory tests,[1] unless in Victoria, where no tests are required. It is the third year of "senior school", following Year 10/11 and fifth year of high school. Although there are slight variations between the states, most students in Year 12 are aged between 17 and 18.[2]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Year 12 is the 12th full year of compulsory education, with students entering Year 12 generally aged between 15.5 and 17.[3] The minimum age for leaving compulsory education is 16 years of age, so for some students this will be their last year of compulsory education. Year 12 pupils are educated in Secondary schools or in Area schools.[4] Year Twelve was previously known as the 6th form and most students will be studying for NCEA Level 2. It is followed by Year 13, the final year of secondary education in New Zealand.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

Year 12 is the 12th year after Reception. In England, it is one option for the second-to-last year of compulsory education[5] and usually forms part of a sixth form or sixth form college. It is also known as the "Lower sixth", with "Upper sixth" being Year 13 in a sixth form; in independent or vocational colleges these titles are not used. Years twelve and thirteen comprise Key Stage 5. In England, students in Year 12 must continue their education in some form, but this can be part-time as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship, or alongside work. In Wales, Year 12 is not part of compulsory education.

Students in Year 12 in England and Wales can study A Level qualifications in sixth form college, or alternatively the more vocational BTEC. Students have the option to stay at the school where they studied their GCSE (or equivalent) qualifications, or move to another educational facility. Students in Year 12 are 16 and 17 years old. There are many subjects available to study at AS Level in Year 12 including sciences, mathematics, humanities and languages but also vocational subjects such as art & design, drama and IT.


In Scotland, 'Year Twelve' is known as fifth year and is the second last year of High School. Pupils can legally drop out at the end of fourth year (aged 16), making fifth and sixth year not compulsory.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, Year 12 is the fifth and final year of compulsory post-primary education. Students in Year 12 are aged between 15 and 16. It is the final year of Key Stage 4.[6]


  1. "Investing in the Future". NSW Department of Education. 1 September 2016.
  2. "Cost/Benefit Analysis Relating to the Implementation of a Common School Starting Age and Associated Nomenclature by 1 January 2010" (PDF). Atelier Learning Solutions Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  3. "School years and levels". Team-up website. Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  4. "Types of schools". Team-up website. Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  5. "Increasing opportunities for young people and helping them to achieve their potential".
  6. "The Education (Northern Ireland) Order 2006". The Stationery Office. 2006. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
Preceded by
Year 11
Year Twelve
Succeeded by
Year 13
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