Education on the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has a well-regarded education system, with high standards of teaching and a strong appetite for sports and culture.

Students in classroom
The Isle of Man has five secondary and 32 primary state-funded schools. The primary schools are located across the Island, while the secondary schools are situated around the major population centres of Douglas, Castletown, Peel and Ramsey. There are also two independent schools; The Buchan and King William’s College, which offer a highly regarded private education including the International Baccalaureate Diploma.There is a high performing education system in the Isle of Man, with all schools committed to meeting the requirements of the Island’s young people, not only through delivering a top-quality academic curriculum but also emphasising mental and physical wellbeing.

UK Comparison


In recent years, the Isle of Man Government has invested heavily into its education system. This has included the development of several new junior and secondary schools and a range of impressive new facilities created at a number of schools.


Given its size, the Island has a profile far beyond that which would be expected; there is a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities open to pupils across the education network, particularly in sports, arts, and music, with many schools competing in these areas at a national level. The Island has also attracted global praise for its innovative use of ICT in the classroom.


Unlike UK schools who are inspected by Ofsted, the Isle of Man state education services are monitored by a cyclical School Self Review and Evaluation (SSRE), a system by which schools consider how well they are performing under five headings. A senior officer from the Island’s Department of Education, Sport and Culture is responsible for quality assuring schools and performs regular visits to ensure a focus is maintained on striving for improvement. In addition, on a three-yearly cycle, an external validator from off-Island visits a school and can agree with, or revise, these judgments.

Curriculum and Pass Rates

The Island’s state school curriculum content is largely drawn from the English national curriculum, but also draws on the Island’s unique geographical, cultural, and historic features. The Isle of Man’s innovative primary and secondary education systems subscribe to an overarching approach to learning and curriculum, called Essentials4Learning (E4L) which values high academic standards, but also the development of a range of skills and capabilities vital for young people to flourish in life. The programme provides broad parameters for schools to develop flexible, exciting, and memorable learning experiences and positive learning dispositions.The Island’s pass rates at GCSE and A level also compare very favourably with those of the UK.


There is no state-run pre-school on the Isle of Man, but there are many privately run options to choose from and parents may also be eligible for credits from the Government.

Primary and Secondary School

The Isle of Man school year runs as in the UK. Children start school in the academic year in which they will turn five. The school year starts in early September and runs until late July with holidays at Christmas and Easter and half-term breaks in the autumn and spring.There are 32 state run primary schools, including one that teaches in Manx, and 5 secondary schools. The schools work on a catchment system and children are expected to attend the school designated to catchment area in which they live. School catchment areas, along with other useful local information, can be identified here.

University off-Island

Students follow the same path to university as in the UK, applying for places through UCAS. Most students from the Island are successful in securing a place at either their first or second choice universities and those who go through the clearing system are usually successful in obtaining places.

Tuition Fees

The Isle of Man Government contributes towards university tuition fees (up to a maximum of £9,250 a year in most cases – however this cap is waived for courses in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science). Students are required to contribute £2,500 a year to tuition fees, however, the Isle of Man Government does offer a loan facility to students to fund this contribution.Residential and academic criteria apply for students seeking funding for university courses. Students are required to have been resident in the Island for four years prior to commencing study at university and they must have attained a minimum of 80 UCAS points, regardless of any lower offer that might have been received from a university.

Maintenance Grants

A third of students who enter higher education also qualify for means-tested maintenance grants to help them pay for accommodation and other living expenses.

Higher Education on-Island

University College Isle of Man (UCM), which incorporates the former Isle of Man International Business School, offers academic, vocational, leisure and recreational courses, including a dozen subjects at degree level, through its partner, the University of Chester. Courses include health and social care, engineering, marketing, business studies and many more.

Visit our Isle of Man section to find out more

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