Is High School the same as Secondary School?

High School technically can be said to be the same as secondary School in many countries but the term secondary School cannot be used in the United States of America. Let us see reasons why it is so.

Every country of the world wants a bright future for their young population and as such there is provision of elementary, middle school, high school and secondary School for them to help them study right from a very young age. This is very important and has had good results over the centuries. 

There have been arguments about the terms used by different countries to represent the school grades, especially the ones after elementary school. Is High School the same as secondary School? Will I have to go to high school after secondary School in the UK? Is middle school the same as secondary schools? These and more questions about post elementary school will be answered in this article.

Let us begin with the most controversial term in our educational system – secondary School


What is secondary School

In most of the British colonized countries in Africa and other English speaking countries, secondary School is known to be the grades students take before going to Universities or post elementary school. When children move from daycare to elementary school, after graduation they are now moved to secondary School.

With a secondary School certificate in places like the UK, Nigeria, South Africa, you can apply for University education and can be admitted if you reach the requirements. Also you can apply for jobs after secondary School or go for apprenticeship or enter the military.

While in secondary School you are taught basic sciences that will prepare you for the advanced education in Universities, the same is done in high school. Both those who want to go into the commercial and political profession will have to pass through the secondary School.

What is elementary school?

Elementary school as it is commonly known in the United States and primary school in the United Kingdom and most African countries is a school for primary education of children under the ages of 4 to 12. This school proceeds pre-school and preceed the secondary or middle school.

The elementary school is designed in such a way that students are taught the basic skills in reading, writing and education ethics. With these skills they will be well positioned to understand the lessons that will follow during their secondary School time.

What is Middle school?

In the United States, middle School or intermediate school is a school between elementary school and high school. It contains grades 5-7 or 6-8 depending on the state. It can also be known as junior high school.

There is quite a difference between middle school and elementary school. While in elementary school, students are taught by one or two teachers all through the day, but in middle School you have different teachers teaching each subject. In most schools, you will be taught 6 different subjects everyday.

Apart from the basic courses like English, mathematics, history and basic sciences, children have the opportunity to choose other courses of their choice. With different teachers taking them on the courses unlike the elementary school, they will build self confidence and also start to be independent of their teachers.

What is high school?

Unlike the United Kingdom where there is a two party school system where you have only primary and secondary School, the United States has a three party school system, you have elementary, middle and high school.

The high school is a school that students go for grades 9 to 12. This is the last year that children are allowed by law to go. You can stop schooling after high school. Students can go to high school until they are 17 or 18 years depending on the school and they will stop if they become over aged.

At high school, STEM courses and others are well taught and this helps students to prepare for their university education. In the United States, high school can be divided into freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year.

Is high school the same as secondary School?

Apart from the United States, high school is the same as secondary schools. Secondary School is a school term used by European countries and the British colonies to the last grades before you get into the university. In the United States, high school is part of secondary School. You can say that high school is the senior secondary School.

Is middle school the same as secondary School?

Yes, middle school is part of secondary School in the UK, Nigeria, South Africa and other countries. In the United States, middle School is different from high school. You have to finish middle school before you enter high school