Primary Education is free, full-time and compulsory for Gibraltar residents between the ages of 4+/7+ (Years R to 3) and in Middle Schools for the 8+/12 age-range (Years 4 to 7). All these schools are co-educational and English is the language of instruction.
Spanish is introduced formally as a subject in the Middle School (Year 4), although in certain circumstances relating to special needs and work with reception class children, the use of Spanish as an aid to teaching as and when necessary, is not discouraged in First schools.
All curricula are governed by the National Curriculum Regulations which is based on the National Curriculum for England. There are specific differences in respect of Spanish and other subjects (including Religious Education) which reflect local realities.
Entry to formal education in the First Schools and the Hebrew Primary School takes place at the commencement of the Autumn Term each year. This is organised in such a way that all children who will attain the age of 5 during the academic year are enrolled at the beginning of the academic year. To ease the transition into schooling, morning sessions only are attended for a period of time.
Morning sessions plus afternoon sessions follow this later on during the year. Finally, full attendance for both morning and afternoon sessions follow. Schools are free to determine when and how often children start attending afternoon sessions.
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