Education in Britain

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Primary and secondary education

The story of British schools

Arguments aboout the purpose of education

Changing political control

The public system of education (a table)

The private sector

Further and higher education

Conclusion (Education under Labour)




ducation in England is not as perfect as we, foreigners think. There are plenty of stereotypes, which make us think, that British education is only Oxford and Cambrige, but there are also many educational problems.During the last fifteen years or so, there have been unprecedented changes in the system of education in England and Wales. I’ll try to explain the changes and the reasons for them. In my work I will also give a description of the system of education, which differs from that in Russia very much.

Primary and secondary education


chooling is compulsory for 12 years, for all children aged five to 16. There are two voluntary years of schooling thereafter. Children may attend either state-funded or fee-paying independent schools. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the primary cycle lasts from five to 11. Generally speaking, children enter infant school, moving on to junior school (often in the same building) at the age of seven, and then on to secondary school at the age of 11. Roughly 90 per cent of children receive their secondary education at 'comprehensive' schools. For those who wish to stay on, secondary school can include the two final years of secondary education, sometimes known in Britain (for historical reasons) as 'the sixth form'. In many parts of the country, these two years are spent at a tertiary or sixth-form college, which provides academic and vocational courses.

Two public academic examinations are set, one on completion of the compulsory cycle of education at the age of 16, and one on completion of the two voluntary years. At 16 pupils take the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), introduced in 1989 to replace two previous examinations, one academic and the other indicating completion of secondary education. It was introduced to provide one examination whereby the whole range of ability could be judged, rather than having two classes of achievers; and also to assess children on classwork and homework as well as in the examination room, as a more reliable form of assessment. During the two voluntary years of schooling, pupils specialise in two or three subjects and take the General Certificate of Education (always known simply as 'GCE') Advanced Level, or 'A level' examination, usually with a view to entry to a university or other college of higher education. New examinations. Advanced Supplementary (AS) levels, were introduced in 1989, to provide a wider range of subjects to study, a recognition that English education has traditionally been overly narrow. The debate about the need for a wider secondary level curriculum continues, and Labour is likely to introduce more changes at this level. These examinations are not set by the government, but by independent examination boards, most of which are associated with a particular university or group of universities. Labour may replace these boards with one national board of examination.

A new qualification was introduced in 1992 for pupils who are skills, rather than academically, orientated, the General National Vocational Qualification, known as GNVQ. This examination is taken at three distinct levels: the Foundation which has equivalent standing to low-grade passes in four subjects of GCSE; the Intermediate GNVQ which is equivalent to high-grade passes in four subjects of GCSE; and the Advanced GNVQ, equivalent to two passes at A level and acceptable for university entrance.

The academic year begins in late summer, usually in September, and is divided into three terms, with holidays for Christmas, Easter and for the month of August, although the exact dates vary slightly from area to area. In addition each term there is normally a mid-term one-week holiday, known as 'half-term'.

The story of British schools


or largely historical reasons, the schools system is complicated, inconsistent and highly varied. Most of the oldest schools, of which the most famous are Eton, Harrow, Winchester and Westminster, are today independent, fee-paying, public schools for boys. Most of these were established to create a body of literate men to fulfil the administrative, political, legal and religious requirements of the late Middle Ages. From the sixteenth century onwards, many 'grammar' schools were established, often with large grants of money from wealthy men, in order to provide a local educational facility.

From the 1870s local authorities were required to establish elementary schools, paid for by the local community, and to compel attendance by all boys and girls up to the age of 1 3. By 1900 almost total attendance had been achieved. Each authority, with its locally elected councillors, was responsible for the curriculum. Although a general consensus developed concerning the major part of the school curriculum, a strong feeling of local control continued and interference by central government was resented. A number of secondary schools were also established by local authorities, modelled on the public schools.

Реферат опубликован: 20/09/2009