Education in Albion has a fairly sensible structure. Everyone begins with some degree of basic schooling. The quality and depth varies, but tends toward the more competent and thorough end of the spectrum for the time period in general.
ChildhoodUp to the age of 11 or so, children are educated at home (for the upper classes, usually by a tutor or governess), in village schools (for those near enough a magical village to go there for school), or by a visiting teacher making rounds every week or two, along with supervision from the adults nearby. They learn basic skills - reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, the fundamentals of science, especially those that have magical applications.
Age 11At the age of 11, many children from better off families (those expecting to go to Schola, Alethorpe, Dunwich, and possibly also Forvie and Snap) go off to a tutoring school. These are usually based in larger households, with three to five children in each of the two years. The goal is partly educational, but the tutoring schools largely exist to reinforce family connections and bonds, similar to historical fostering practices. It's uncommon these days to betroth children that young, even in the most aristocratic families. However, the tutoring houses are seen as a chance for a child to become familiar with a different family's magics, customs, and cultures, in hopes of a good marriage into that family or a closely related one later.
Age 12When each child turns 12 - no matter what their education is at that point - they are examined by a representative from the Ministry. This includes academic testing (an entrance exam to see if one or more of the Five Schools is a possible placement), but more practical testing reveals the general strength and tendency of their magic. At this point, they also make their oaths to the Silence to avoid revealing magic to those without it, and become part of the magic of the Pact. Those without sufficient magic to make the oath are given choices about what they do next. They can live in magical society if they wish, or there are some options to guide them into schooling and apprenticeships and employment in the non-magical community. (A number of people in the magical community live or work or have part of their lives in the non-magical community as a matter of course.) A specific office of the Ministry also monitors the non-magical communities for children of the proper age who might have noticeably strong magic, so as to bring them into the magical community and make sure they get the training they need (for the safety of the community). Rathna Stone is an example here.
Age 13The September they are 13, the next stage of education begins. The majority go directly into apprenticeship, but about 2,800 students attend one of the Five Schools in any given year.
- Schola, the most academically elite of the five.
- Alethorpe, focused on crafting magics
- Dunwich, trade-related magics
- Forvie, ocean and some weather-working
- Snap, agricultural magics