Educational System in the UK
Education is equal in England and Wales. There are some education differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland. School is compulsory for children and young people between the ages 5 and 16. Some of them receive nursery education. The great majority of parents send their children to state schools, where education and equipment are completely free. Other children are sent into independent schools „public school“. These schools are usually boarding. The school year is divided into three terms. It starts in September and students have some holidays during the year. The subjects taught at schools are given by National Curriculum ( legislation passed in 1989 – gives greater responsibility to schools and colleges and gives parents more possibilities to choose the school.)
Primary and Secondary education: Primary school is for children from 5 to 11 and the teachers are mainly woman. Secondary school is for young people between the age of 11 and 16. ( In some areas there are middle schools (age 9–13)
There are several types of secondary schools. The most of pupils attend comprehensive ones. Grammar schools offer a mainly academic education.
At the age of 16 students take the principal examinations GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education. Those who don’t want to study more take GCE. People who want to continue study take GCSE at O level (ordinary) Later a new exam Advanced Supplementary (AS) was introduced. Students can learn more subjects after passing this exam. At 18 students take A-level exam ( Advanced level ) It’s the standard examination for entrance to higher education.
Higher education: Britain has 47 universities ( including the open universities ). The most famous and the oldest ones in Britain are Oxford and Cambridge. They date from the 12th and 13th centuries. The Scottish universities Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh date from 14th and 15th centuries.
University courses last usually over 3 to 4 years. Students have to pay for courses, food and accomodation. They receive loans and they have to pay back when they start to work. Undergraduates are the students who study for a degree of Bachelor. The title is put after the name. Then students are graduates and they can study further to get degree of Master – they must work on thesis. The degree of Philosophy is given only for a thesis which originally contributes to human knowledge. The head of university is a vice-chancellor, but it is only honorary title. Each students goes to his tutor who directs him during the studies.
Further education: It is for people over 16. They take courses up to GCE A level standard. This courses are taught at colleges of further education. Most of them are vocational ( technical, commercial ). Many students attend schools in the evening or they are released from employment.