Secondary education is provided for children ages 11 to 18. There are 34 secondary schools, of which 22 are government-run and 12 are assisted private secondary schools. These schools fall into three categories: nine government-owned former grammar or older secondary schools, four of which have sixth forms; 13 assisted private schools; and newer secondary schools. In between the primary and secondary schools are the composite and senior schools. The function of these schools is to ensure that all students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will lay the basic foundation for future jobs and careers. In addition this level of schooling will ensure high levels of literacy, numeracy, and oracy by building on the primary foundation.
Admission to government secondary schools is based on the score the child receives in the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE), familiarly known as the Common Entrance Examination (CEE). On completion of five years of secondary education, pupils are tested for the Caribbean Examinations Certificate. On completion of a further two-year sixth-form course, pupils take the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced 'A' levels, which allows direct entry to university-level studies.
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