Education in great britain

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Education in Britain is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. Over 90 % of all schoolchildren attend state schools, which are free. Besides this state systém of education there are also private schools, when parents pay fees. The most important of the private schools are known as Public Schools, which are secondary schools for boys from the age of 13 to 18 years, and Preparatory Schools, which are private primary schools preparing pupils for Public Schools.
The education system is divided into 3 stages:(nursery) primary secondary higher

Nursery Schools:
Nursery begins at 3 years old. There are not enough state nursery schools ( or kindergartens) in Britain and people have compaigned for a long time to get more opened.There are private nurseries but these are expensive and a lot of families cannot afford them. Children start at 9 a.m. and finish at 3 p.m., they have their lunch at school and usually a rest in the afternoon. They play, paint, dance and sing and do the same things that all little children do.

Primary Schools:
At 5, by law, children start proper school. Infant school is from 5-7 years and Junior school from 7-11 years. The day begins at 9 a.m. and usually finishes at 3.30 p.m.The infant school has its own building and playground and is next to the junior school, with its own building and playground. There are usually about 35 children in a class and, in the infant school, as well as a teacher, there is a teacher´s assistant. Also mothers (and occasionally fathers) often go into the Infant School to help with painting, reading and practical lessons. Children have the same teacher for one year and she teaches nearly all of the lessons in the class. Perhaps another teacher has them once a week for music or P.E.
Classrooms are bright and cheerful with children´s work displayed on the walls and books, games and a computer in each classroom. The children usually sit in groups at tables and have drawers to keep their work in.
Children have to take tests at 7, 11 and 14. They learn English, maths, science and technology, history, geography and religious knowledge. A lot of learning is done through project or topic work, with an emphasis on children finding things out for themselves. They also learn about environment and, of course, do art, music and P.E.

Secondary Schools:
Children transfer from the primary school at 11.Secondary education takes from 5 to 7 years.
8% of British children go to Private Schools (called Public Schools). Another 4% don´t go to school at all.By law parents have the right to educate their children at home, if they can show they can do it properly. The rest go to the Comprehensive School. There are no vocational schools, or special art or music or technical schools in Britain.
Children study the National Curriculum that is: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Art, Music, Technology, Religious Education, Physical Education (P.E.) and a foreign language (usually French or German). At the age of 16 pupils take the main state examinations,the General Certificate of Secondary Education (G.C.S.E.),„O“ level (Ordinary).
Some pupils take 7 or 8 G.C.S.E.s but most pass 4 or 5 exams and then they may decide to stay on at school. About 66% of childrem stay on at school after the age of 16.
At 18 there are much harder exams called „A“ Levels (Advanced). About 10% of pupils take these, in 3 subjects only. There are 5 grades of pass- A,B,C,D and E. Mostly they are written exams.Everyone in the country do the same exams on the same days in May and June and then they have to wait until August to find out the results. All universities require the G.C.S.E. „A“ Level qualifications.Cheating is very rare in Britain. If someone is found

cheating, he will fail his exam and be in serious trouble. Exams are very closely supervised and rules about talking, looking at someone else´s work and taking papers into the exam are very strictly kept.

The majority of British school children wear a school uniform. Sometimes this is very formal: a shirt, a tie, a blazer with a school badge on the pocket and dark trousers. Girls also weara tie but a dark skirt instead of trousers, even in winter. Each school has its school colour (usually dark grey, dark blue, brown, dark green or dark red). Some schools send children home if they are not wearing a uniform or keep them in after school as a punishment.
British schools do a lot of sport, pupils have one afternoon a week of P.E. and all schools have football, netball, hockey and cricket teams. There are also school choirs, drama clubs ( most schools put on at least one play a year), chess clubs, art clubs and other activities. These are all called extra curricular because they are not part of the National Curriculum.
Most British secondary schools have about 750 students and 40 teachers.
Among the universities Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest and the most famous. Oxford was founded in the 12th and Cambridge in the 13th century.
Education in the USA
Compulsory education in all 50 states begins at the age of six.
The schools in the USA are either public or private. (Public Schools in America never mean private schools as they do in Britain) The majority of all schools are public schools,i.e. schools financed by the state or local government. These schools are free. Private school students pay for their tuition, books and uniforms.
There are three levels in the public school system:
Nursery Schools or kindergartens. It´s the pre-school education.
Primary Schools between the ages of 6 and 12. 6 grades (School classes are called grades)
Secondary Schools called High Schools between the ages of 12 and 18.
(Higher education, i.e. universities and colleges.)
In the High Schools all students study the basic subjects as Languages,Maths, Chemistry, Biology and English, and have elective subjects Music, Art and Humanities.Besides the classrooms and laboratories there are rooms with business machines and typewriters for secretarial students, computer labs, Home Economic classrooms with stoves, fridges and sewing machines, machine shops for mechanical students and often a car repair garage where students fix cars and learn about them. There are courses in Driver Education (students can get a licence at the age of 16) and many after-school clubs and activities. Every school has a band, orchestra and choral singing groups and P.E.,with school teams that play baseball, basketball and football against other schools.
A school cafeteria has a wide variety of foods, usually in plastic or paper containers- sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, spaghetti, salads, desserts, such as pies, cakes, puddings and ice cream.There are also machines with cans of Coca Cola, potato chips, cookies and other items. Since lunch periods are usually only 20 minutes long, many students prefer to have a snack from the machines.

All high school students have mid-term and final exams in each subject, and usually weekly quizzes. There are 25-30 students in each class in public schools and smaller classes in private schools. Anyone who fails can go to a summer school. In some schools students wear uniforms- dark blazers with the school crest and grey or black trousers for the boys and skirts of the same color for the girls.In some schools students are allowed to wear jeans and T shirts.

After the final exams are over, there is a formal dance called a class „Prom“. The girls wear long formal dresses and boys rent tuxedos for this occasion. Sometimes it it an all night party. Most Senior students (10th to 12th grade) have cars as they usually work part-time.
The oldest US university is Harvard in the state of Massachussets, which was found in 1636.

Education in our country
School attendance is compulsory from the age of 6 or 7 till 15 (9 years). Schools are mainly state schools but there are also some private and church schools. Attendance at state schools is free of charge, private schools charge fees.

Pre-school education begins at the age of 6 months when children may attend créches until the age of 3, but usually the mothers stay with them at home. From the age of 3 till the age of 6 children attend kindergartens.

Primary education (6-15) is provided in basic schools which consist of two stages: elementary (1st stage, 5 years) and higher (2nd stage, 4 years). Special educational treatment is provided in special schools for children who require it on account of certain physical or mental handicaps or for children who are simply below the level of intelligence required to cope with normal schools. Some pupils transfer from the primary school at the age of 11 or 13 and continue at grammar schools.

Secondary education lasts usually 4 years, from the age of 15 till the age of 19. There are 3 main types of secondary schools:

Grammar schools, which prepare students for university level studies. There is a variety of grammar schools: some last 8 years, some 6 (for children who leave primary school after 5 or 7 years and continue at a grammar school) and some 4 years.

Secondary special schools, which train students for various branches of industry, agriculture, economy, medicine, culture etc. The largest group is formed by technical schools which give training in civil engineering, chemistry, transport, mining etc.

Apprentice / vocational schools ,which prepare young people for practical professions. The training lasts usually 3 or 4 years and combine practical work with technical and general education.

Tertiary education starts at the age of 18 or 19 and lasts usually from 4 to 6 years. Students may attend various universities or colleges.

General universities: philosophy, theology, philology, pedagogy, law, medicine, natural sciences, social sciences, ..

Veterinary and pharmaceutical universities. Technical universities ( engineering, chemical technology, etc.) Agricultural universities. Art Academies. Military and Police Academies.

Students end their secondary education after passing their graduation exam. They have to pass an obligatory exam in Czech and then 3 other exams, some obligatory and some optional. Then they usually sit for an entry exam at some university or college.

Students are evaluated by marks from 1 to 5. Each term a student gets his/her report. Lessons in Czech schools start at 8 o´clock or earlier. School uniforms are not worn in the Czech Republic. Classes have usually from 20 to 30 pupils. There are no lessons on Saturdays.

The oldest and most famous university is the Charles University, founded by Charles IV in 1348. It is the oldest university in Central Europe.

Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England; whilst the Scottish Government, the Welsh Governmentand the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for Scotland,[4] Wales[5] and Northern Ireland, respectively.

For details of education in each region, see:

  • Education in England

  • Education in Northern Ireland

  • Education in Scotland

  • Education in Wales

The Programme for International Student Assessment coordinated by the OECD currently ranks the overall knowledge and skills of British 15-year-olds as 23rd in the world in reading literacy, mathematics, and science with the average British student scoring 499.6, compared with the OECD average of 493.[6][7] In 2014, the country spent 6.6 percent of its GDP on all levels of education – 1.4 percentage points above the OECD average of 5.2 percent.[8] In 2017, 45.7 percent of British aged 25 to 64 attained some form of post-secondary education.[1][2] 22.6 percent of British aged 25 to 64 attained a bachelor's degree or higher.[1] 52 percent of British aged 25 to 34 attained some form of tertiary education, about 4 percent above the OECD average of 44 percent.[9][10]


In each country there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education (FE) and higher education (HE).[11] The law states that full time education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland) and 16, the compulsory school age (CSA).[11] In England, compulsory education or training has been extended to 18 for those born on or after 1 September 1997. This full-time education does not need to be at a school and some parents choose to home educate.[12] Before they reach compulsory school age, children can be educated at nursery if parents wish though there is only limited government funding for such places.[13] Further Education is non-compulsory, and covers non-advanced education which can be taken at further (including tertiary) education colleges and Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The fifth stage, Higher Education, is study beyond A levels or BTECs (and their equivalent) which, for most full-time students, takes place in universities and other Higher Education institutions and colleges.

The National Curriculum (NC), established in 1988, provides a framework for education in England and Wales between the ages of 5 and 18. Though the National Curriculum is not compulsory it is followed by most state schools, but some private schools, academiesfree schools and home educators design their own curricula.[14] In Scotland the nearest equivalent is the Curriculum for Excellence programme, and in Northern Ireland there is something known as the common curriculum.[13] The Scottish qualifications the National 4/5s, Highers and Advanced Highers are highly similar to the English Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced Level (A2) courses.[15]


Research by Education Support Partnership suggests that 75% of school teachers and college lecturers suffer from work related stress. Increased work pressure from marking and exam targets lead some teachers to work 12 hours a day. Many are leaving the profession due to stress.[16] The government has missed its targets for recruiting secondary school teachers seven years in a row. Notably too few maths, science, physics, chemistry, computing and foreign language teachers were recruited. Department of Educationfigures show in 2019 there were 85% of the secondary school teachers required. Schools recruited 43% of the physics teachers needed in 2019 after 47% in 2018, 64% of maths teachers needed were recruited in 2019 after 71% in 2018. 29,580 postgraduate trainees were recruited in England in 2019, a rise of only 365 further teachers though secondary-school pupils will increase rapidly over the coming few years. The DfE expects a rise of almost 15% in secondary school pupils by 2027, adding roughly 400,000 pupils in English state secondary schools. Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union said, “Pupil numbers in state-funded secondary schools have already risen by almost 150,000 since 2014 and will rise by a further third of a million pupils over the next five years. Even where trainee targets have been met, recruitment to initial teacher training courses is just the very start. New teachers need dedicated support to help them develop into competent professionals. Once we have invested in their skills, we must not lose their passion and experience.” Courtney maintains not enough is done to retain newly recruited teachers and a third leave the profession within five years.[17][18]


Successful schools tend to choose pupils from high–achieving backgrounds. Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, and challenging pupils, tend to be concentrated in schools that do less well in inspections.[19] Children from prosperous backgrounds are more likely to be in good or outstanding schools while disadvantaged children are more likely to be in inadequate schools.[20] Children with special needs who in theory have a statutory right to have their needs met, are frequently excluded from school and denied their statutory rights

Higher education

Main article: Higher education in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, higher education is offered by universities and non-university institutions (colleges, institutes, schools and academies) and provide both research-oriented and higher professional education. Universities provide degree programmes that culminate to a degree (bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree) and non-degree programmes that lead to a vocational qualification such as a certificate or diploma. British higher education is highly valued around the globe for its quality and rigorous academic standards.[22]The prestige of British higher education emanates from the alumni of its world renowned institutions. Prominent people that have reached the apex in their respective fields have been products of British higher education. Britain is home to some of the world's most prominent institutions of higher learning and ranked among the top universities in the world. Institutions such as the University of CambridgeOxford UniversityImperial College, London, and UCL consistently rank among the world's top ten universities.[23]

Entry qualifications

Students that sit for the GCSE usually take five to ten examinations and they are free to choose the number of subjects and the kinds of subjects taken. Sitting at the exam culminates the end of 11 years of mandatory education. A General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is awarded for each subject passed and World Education Servicesissues a high school diploma after the evaluation of a minimum of three GCSEs. Pre-university education in the United Kingdom is a two-year senior secondary programme that leads to a new round of examinations, the General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level (also known as GCE A-levels). As with the GCSE, students who sit for the exam choose the subjects and the number of examinations (the average number taken is three). WES awards undergraduate credit based on the nature and number of subjects passed. Each university has their own set of admission policies and the minimum entry requirements for each particular higher education programme that they offer.[24] TheGeneral Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE "A Levels") is an entry qualification for universities in the United Kingdom and many other universities across the world. Students that are interested in pursuing higher education will usually enroll in pre-university and further education programmes. Pre-university education takes up to two years which culminates with a new set of examinations, the General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level (GCE A-levels). Similarly with the GCSE, students who take the exam choose their subjects of interest and the number of examinations. Most students take three subjects on average and the WES grants undergraduate credit based on the nature and number of subjects passed. Bachelor's degrees at the bare minimum typically require two to three GCE A Level passes, and a minimum number of GCSE passes with a grade C or above.[25]


Technical and vocational education in the United Kingdom is introduced during the secondary school years and goes on until further and higher education. Secondary vocational education is also known as further education. It is separate from secondary education and doesn't belong to the category of higher education. Further education incorporates vocational oriented education as well as a combination of general secondary education. Students can also go on to a further education college to prepare themselves for theVocational Certificate of Education (VCE), which is similar to the A-levels. Major provider of vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom include the City and Guilds of London Institute and EdexcelHigher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas typically require 1 and 2 years of full-time study and credit from either HNE or Diplomas can be transferred toward an undergraduate degree. Along with the HNC and HND, students who are interested in other vocational qualifications may pursue a Foundation degree, which is a qualification that trains people to be highly skilled technicians.[26] The National Apprenticeship Service also offers vocational education where people at ages of 16 and older enter apprenticeships in order to learn a skilled trade. There are over 60 different certifications can be obtained through an apprenticeship, which typically lasts from 1 to 3 years. Trades apprentices receive paid wages during training and spend one day at school and the rest in the workplace to hone their skills.[27]


In 2015/16, the UK spent £3.2 billion on under-5s education, £27.7 billion on primary education, £38.2 billion on secondary education and £5.9 billion on tertiary education. In total, the UK spent £83.4 billion on education (includes £8.4 billion on other categories).[28]

Due to funding cuts many local authorities are unable to provide the specialist education that disabled children with special needs require. Education SecretaryDamian Hinds has been called on to provide funding for this.[29]

Mental health

Mental health problems among youngsters in UK schools are increasing; social media, pressure from schools, austerity and gender expectations are blamed. Teachers' leaders say they feel overwhelmed and cannot cope. Sarah Hannafin of the headteachers' union NAHT, said, "There is a crisis and children are under increasing amount of pressure … Schools have a key role to play and we are doing what we can, but we need more funding." Louise Regan of the National Education Union stated, "Teachers are overwhelmed by the sheer number of students showing signs of mental health problems." She added counsellor and pastoral support had been seriously reduced, though money for children's wellbeing was desperately needed, she said, "There is more focus on attainment measures rather than overall concern about the wellbeing of a child." Norman Lamb said the UK was in an "intolerable crisis", children had just one childhood and one education. "When it's gone, it's gone, and that will leave a lifetime of damage … We are failing an entire generation of young people." There were calls for a change in school culture with a switch of focus from exams to wellbeing.[30]
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