Secondary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale. Article 28, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that primary education diploma of creative development of children of senior preschool age be free and compulsory while different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, should be available and accessible to every child.
In classical and mediaeval times secondary education was provided by the church for the sons of nobility and to boys preparing for universities and the priesthood. As trade required navigational and scientific skills the church reluctantly expanded the curriculum and widened the intake. Secondary education is in most countries the phase in the education continuum responsible for the development of the young during their adolescence, the most rapid phase of their physical, mental and emotional growth. It is at this very education level, particularly in its first cycle, where values and attitudes formed at primary school are more firmly ingrained alongside the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
Within a country these can be implemented in different ways, with different age levels and local denominations. Within this system, national governments can call levels 2, 3 and 4, levels 2 and 3 or just level 2, secondary education. Level 1 and Level 2, that is primary education and lower secondary together form basic education. The start of lower secondary education is characterised by the transition from the single class-teacher delivering all the content to a cohort of pupils, to one where content is delivered by a series of subject specialist. The educational aim is to complete provision of basic education, completing the delivery of basic skills and to lay the foundations for lifelong learning. 3 courses, or employment, or vocational education after 9 or more years of education.
The end of lower secondary education often coincides with the end of compulsory education in countries where that exists. Level 5- non tertiary course, or direct entry into the workplace. More subjects may be dropped, and increased specialism occurs. 5 qualifications in the subject they are teaching.
A form of education for adolescents became necessary in all societies that had an alphabet and engaged in commerce. In Western Europe, formal secondary education can be traced back to the Athenian educational reforms of 320BC. England provides a good case study. When Augustine of Canterbury brought Christianity there in 597, no schools existed. He needed trained priests to conduct church services and boys to sing in the choir.
Over the centuries leading to the renaissance and reformation the church was the main provider of secondary education. Various invasions and schisms within the controlling church challenged the focus of the schools, and the curriculum and language of instruction waxed and waned. Whereas in mainland Europe the renaissance preceded the reformation, local conditions in England caused the reformation to come first. The reformation was about allowing the laïty to interpret the Bible in their own way without the intervention of priests, and prefereably in the vernacular.
During the 18th century their social base widened and their curriculum developed, particularly in mathematics and the natural sciences. Industry required an educated workforce where all workers needed to have completed a basic education. There was considerable opposition to the idea that children of all classes should receive basic education, all the initiatives such as industrial schools and Sunday schools were initially a private or church initiative. Three reports were commissioned to examine the education of upper, middle and labouring class children.