British vs American Curriculum

British vs American Curriculum: The Differences

Let’s start with the basics. Note the following differences in terminology between the US and UK:

  • ‘Year’ is used in the UK to describe a student’s ‘grade.’
  • The UK term ‘public schools’ refers to ‘independent’ (privately-funded) schools.
  • ‘College’ in the UK refers to the final two years of secondary school, while ‘university’ denotes undergraduate and postgraduate study.


Word of caution about switching school curriculums in Dubai

It’s absolutely important o remember that due to KHDA regulations here in Dubai, if your child switches from the British to the American Curriculum they go one ‘Grade’ down. Which is fine, because he/she will graduate a year earlier than colleagues in the British system. But here is the catch: There’s NO COMING BACK to the British system if you ever decide to, without actually losing a year.
It works like this… John is in the British system and is 11 years old and in Year 7. On completing the year he would move up to Year 8. But next year he moves to an American school. He will start in Grade 7. Which is fine because they are equivalent. But if John wants to come back to the British system the following year, he will do so in Year 8. Whereas, if you look at the table above, had he not moved at all in the first place, he would have been in Year 9 in the British system. So, while moving from British to American is fine in Dubai, remember it’s a one way street.