Education in Northern Ireland differs from systems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom, though it is more similar to that used in Wales than it is to Scotland. A child’s age on 1 July determines the point of entry into the relevant stage of education unlike England and Wales where it is the 1 September. Northern Ireland’s results at GCSE and A-Level are consistently top in the UK. At A-Level, one third of students in Northern Ireland achieved A grades in 2007, which is a higher proportion than in England and Wales.
For some useful overviews of the education system in Northern Ireland visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Northern_Ireland or http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/schools-and-infrastructure-2.htm