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School in Agrestina, Brazil.
Village school in Sudan, 2002

A school is a place where people go to learn. In a school, one or more teachers help pupils or students to learn.[1] Today, most countries require by law that children go to school for a number of years. They learn some of what they need later in life, such as reading, writing, and some basic mathematics. Colleges and universities are also places to learn, for students over 17 or 18.[2] Vocational schools teach skills people need for jobs.

Some people attend school longer than others. This is because some jobs require more training than others. For young children, one teacher is able to teach all subjects, but teachers for older students are specialized and they only teach a few subjects. Common subjects taught include science, arts such as music and humanities, like geography and history, and languages.

Children with mental issues that are too much for the school to handle are not required to attend regular schools. These children must be given other ways to receive required schooling. There also are special schools which teach things which regular schools do not.

Schools for boys and schools for girls

Education for all is quite modern. In England, for example, most people could not read or write, even in the 18th century. We know this because when they got married, those who could not write put an 'X' on the certificate, and someone else wrote their name. Mass education for reading and writing began in the 19th century.

Originally, in most countries, boys were taught differently and separately from girls. Some schools are for boys and some schools are for girls; they only accept boys, or girls, but not both. Long ago, most schools were run by religious denominations. That is because clerics were once almost the only people who were literate. Since there are only men in a monastery, this was often also true for the school, which only accepted boys. Going to a school also meant learning about religion. Some places still do not have schools for girls.

School as a place to learn for life

In many parts of the world, schools also help children learn things about life.

  • In school, pupils develop their personality
  • Because of religion and ethics, schools help pupils to know the difference between right and wrong.
  • Schools help people recognise socially accepted norms and behaviour.

Pedagogy is the science of teaching (children). There are different approaches to teaching. Similarly, certain schools use different approaches. There is quite a lot of disagreement about what and how students should be taught.[3] Many countries solve this by allowing different types of school, so parents and children have some choice.


  1. In some coutries teachers are called "professors"
  2. In some countries they are also informally called "schools".
  3. Woodhead, Chris 2002. Class war: the state of British education. London: Little Brown. ISBN 0-316-85997-4

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