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Every child between the ages of 7 and 18 living in Poland is subject to compulsory education or compulsory schooling, ie. he or she must attend school under pain of sanctions against the parents. This obligation also applies to children who do not possess Polish citizenship, regardless of the migration status of their parents in Poland. From school year 2014/2015, compulsory education shall apply to children from the age of 6 years.

The school year begins in Poland on 1 September and ends on the last Friday in June the following year. Lessons are held in schools for five days a week, Monday through Friday. Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are free for the children.

The school year is divided into two semesters. The first semester ends in January. The second term ends in June and this is also the end of the school year. Grades given out for the 2nd semester are also the final grades for the given year/form, and shall be entered on the school certificate - the document certifying that the child has completed education at a given form level.