Рефераты. Education in Great Britain

Education in Great Britain


The British education system has much in common with that in Europe,

that :

. Full-time education is compulsory for all children in the middle

teenage years. Parents are required by law to see that their

children receive full-time education, at school or elsewhere,

between the ages of 5 and 16 in England, Scotland and Wales 4 and

16 in Northern Ireland.

. The academic year begins at the end of summer.

Compulsory education is free charge, though parents may choose a

private school and spend their money on education their children.

About 93% of pupils receive free education from public funds, while

the others attend independent schools financed by fees paid by


. There are three stages of schooling with children, moving from

primary school to secondary school. The third stage provides

further and higher education, technical college of higher education

and universities.

There is, however, quite a lot that distinguishes education in Britain from

the way it works in other countries. The most important distinguishing

features are the lack of uniformity and comparatively little central

control. There are three separate government departments managing

education: the Departments for Education and Employment is responsible for

England and Wales alone; Scotland and Northern Ireland retain control over

the education within their respective countries. None of these bodies

exercises much control over the details does not prescribe a detailed

program of learning, books and materials to be used, nor does it dictate

the exact hours of the school day, the exact days of holidays, school’s

finance management and such lick. As many details possible are left to the

discretion of the individual institution.

Many distinctive characteristics of British education can be

ascribed at least partly, to public school tradition. The present-day level

of “grass-root” independence as well as different approach to education has

been greatly influenced by the philosophy that a school is its own

community. The 19th century public schools educated the sons of the upper

and upper-middle classes and the main aim of schooling was to prepare young

men to take up positions in the higher ranks of the army, the Church, to

fill top-jobs in business, the legal profession, the civil serves and

politics. To meet this aim the emphasis was made on “character-building”

and the development of “team spirit” rather than on academic achievement.

Such schools were (and still often are) mainly boarding establishments,

so they had a deep and lasting influence on their pupils, consequently,

public-school leaves for formed a closed group entry into which was

difficult, the ruling elite the core of the Establishment.

The 20th century brought education and its possibilities for social

advanced within everybody’s reach, and new, state schools naturally tended

to copy the features of the public schools. So today, in typically British

fashion, learning for its own sake, rather than for any practical purpose

is still been given a high value. As distinct from most other countries, a

relatively stronger emphasis is on the quality of person that education

produces rather than helping people to develop useful knowledge and skills.

In other words, the general style of teaching is to develop understanding

rather than acquiring factual knowledge and learning to apply this

knowledge to specific tasks.

2.Public Schools – For Whom?

About five per cent of children are educated privately in what is

rather confusingly called public schools. These are the schools for the

privileged. There are about 500 public schools in England and Wales most of

them single-sex. About half of them are for girls.

The schools, such as Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, are

famous for their ability to lay the foundation of a successful future by

giving their pupils self- confidence, the right accent, a good academic

background and, perhaps most important of all, the right friends and

contacts. People who went to one of the public schools never call

themselves school-leaves. They talk about “the old school tie” and “the old

boy network”. They are just old boys or old girls. The fees are high and

only very rich families can afford to pay so much. Public schools educate

the ruling class of England. One such school is Gordonstoun, which the

Prince of Wales, the elder son of the Queen, left in 1968. Harrow School is

famous as the place where Winston Churchill was educated, as well as six

other Prime Ministers of England, the poet Lord Byron, the playwright

Richard Sheridan and many other prominent people.

Public schools are free from state control. They are independent.

Most of them are boarding schools. The education is of a high quality; the

discipline is very strict. The system of education is the same: the most

able go ahead.

These schools accept pupils from preparatory schools at about 11

or 13 years of age usually on the basis of an examination, known as Common

Entrance. There are three sittings of Common Entrance every year in

February, June and November. Scholarships are rarely awarded on the results

of Common Entrance. The fundamental requirements are very high. At 18 most

public school-leaves, gain entry to universities.


Great Britain does not have a written constitution, so there are

no constitutional provisions for education. The system of education is

determined by the National Education Acts.

Schools in England are supported from public funds paid to the

local education authorities. These local education authorities are

responsible for organizing the schools in their areas.

Let’s outline the basic features of public education in Britain.

Firstly, there are wide variations between one part of the country and

another. For most educational purposes England and Wales are treated as one

unit, though the system in Wales is a little different from that of

England. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own education systems.

Secondly, education in Britain mirrors the country’s social

system: it is class-divided and selective. The first division is between

those who pay and those who do not pay. The majority of schools in Britain

are supported by public funds and the education provided is free. They are

maintained schools, but there are also a considerable number of public

schools. Parents have to pay fees to send their children to these schools.

The fees are high. As matter of fact, only very rich families can send

their children to public schools. In some parts of Britain they still keep

the old system of grammar schools, which are selective. But most secondary

schools in Britain, which are called comprehensive schools, are not

selective – you don’t have to pass an exam to go there.

Another important feature of schooling in Britain is the variety

of opportunities offered to schoolchildren. The English school syllabus is

divided into Arts and Sciences, which determine the division of the

secondary school pupils into study groups: a Science pupil will study

Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, Technical Drawing, Biology,

geography; an Art pupil will do English Language and Literature, History,

foreign languages, Music, Art, Drama. Besides these subjects they must do

some general education subjects like Physical Education, Home Economics for

girls, and Technical subjects for boys, General Science. Computers play an

important part in education. The system of options exists in all kinds of

secondary schools.

The National Curriculum, which was introduced in 1988, sets out

detail the subjects that children should study and the levels of

achievement they should reach by the ages of 7, 11, 14, and 16, when they

are tested. Until that year headmasters and headmistresses of schools were

given a great deal of freedom in deciding what subjects to teach and how to

do it in their schools so that there was really no central, control at all

over individual schools. The National Curriculum does not apply in

Scotland, where each school decides what subjects it will teach.

After the age of 16 a growing number of school students are

staying on at school, some until 18 or 19, the age of entry into higher

education in universities, Polytechnics or colleges. Schools in Britain

provide careers guidance. A specially trained person called careers advisor

or careers officer helps school students to decide what job they want to do

and how they can achieve it.

British university courses are rather short, generally lasting

for 3 years. The cost of education depends on the college or university and

special which one chooses.

4.Education in Britain.

|class |school |age |

| |nursery school |3 |

| |playgroup or |4 |

| |kindergarten | |

|reception class | |5 |

|year 1 |infant school |6 |

|year 2 | |7 |

|year 3 |primary school |8 |

|year 4 |junior school |9 |

|year 5 | |10 |

|year 6 | |11 |

|year 7 | |12 |

|year 8 | |13 |

|year 9 |secondary school |14 |

|year 10 | |15 |

|year 11 | |16 |

|year 12 |sixth form college |17 |

|year 13 | |18 |

|first year (fresher) | |19 |

|second year |University or |20 |

|third/final year |Polytechnic |21 |

|postgraduate |University |23 |

5.Pre-primary and Primary Education.

In some of England there are nursery schools for children under 5

years of age. Some children between two and five receive education in

nursery classes or in infants’ classes in primary schools. Many children

attend informal pre-school playgroups organized by parents in private

homes. Nursery schools are staffed with teachers and students in training.

There are all kinds of toys to keep the children busy from 9 o’clock in the

morning till 4 o’clock in the afternoon while their parents are at work.

Here the babies play, lunch and sleep. They can run about and play in

safety with someone keeping an eye on them.

For day nurseries, which remain open all the year round, the

parents pay according to their income. The local education authority’s

nurseries are free. But only about three children in 100 can go to them:

there aren’t enough places and the waiting lists are rather long.

Most children start school at five in primary school. A primary

school may be divided into two parts-infants and juniors. At infants school

reading, writing and arithmetic are taught for about 20 minutes a day

during the first year, gradually increasing to about 2 hours in their last

year. There is usually no written timetable. Much time is spent in modeling

from clay or drawing, reading or singing.

By the time children are ready for the junior school they will be

able to read and write, do simple addition and subtraction of numbers.

At seven children go on from the infants’ school to the junior

school. This marks the transition from play to “real work”. The children

have set periods of arithmetic, reading and composition which are all

Eleven Plus subjects. History, Geography, Nature Study, Art and Music,

Physical Education, Swimming are also on the timetable.

Pupils are streamed, according to their ability to learn into, A, B, C and

D streams. The least gifted are in the D stream. Formerly towards the end

of their fourth year the pupils wrote their Eleven Plus Examination. The

hated 11 + examination was a selective procedure on which not only the

pupil’s future schooling but their future careers depended. The abolition

of selection at Eleven plus Examination brought to life comprehensive

schools where pupils can get secondary education.

6.Secondary Education.

The majority of state secondary school pupils in England and

Wales attend comprehensive schools. These largely take pupils without

reference to ability or aptitude and provide a wide range of secondary

education for all or most children in a district. Schools take those, who

are the 11 to 18 age-range, middle schools (8 to 14), and schools with an

age-range from 11 to 16. Most other state-educated children in England

attend grammar or secondary modern schools, to which they are allocated

after selection procedures at the age of 11.

Before 1965 a selective system of secondary education existed in

England. Under that system a child of 11 had to take an exam, which

consisted of intelligence tests covering linguistic, mathematical and

general knowledge which was to be taken by children in the last year of

primary schooling. The object was to select between academic and non-

academic children. Those who did well in the examination went to a grammar

school, while those who failed went to a secondary modern school and

technical college. Grammar schools prepared children for national

examinations such as the GCE at O level and A-level. These examinations

qualified children for the better jobs, and for entry higher education and

the professions. The education in secondary modern schools was based on

practical schooling, which would allow entry into a variety of skilled and

unskilled jobs.

Many people complained that it was wrong for a person’s future to

be decided at a so young age. The children who went to “secondary moderns”

were seen as “failures”. More over, it was noticed that the children who

passed this exam were almost all from middle-class families. The Labor

Party, returned to power in 1965, abolished the 11+ and tried to introduce

the non-selective education system in the form of “comprehensive” schools,

that would provide schooling for children of all ability levels and from

all social backgrounds, ideally under one roof. The final choice between

selective and non-selective schooling, though, was left to LEAS that

controlled the provision of school education in the country. Some

authorities decided for comprehensive, while others retained grammar

schools and secondary moderns.

In the late 1980s the Conservative government introduced another

major change. Schools cloud now decide whether to remain as LEA-maintained

schools or to “opt-out” of the control of the LEA and put themselves

directly under the control of the government department. These “grant-

maintained” schools were financed directly by central government. This did

not mean, however, that there was more central control: grant-maintained

schools did not have to ask anybody else about how to spend their money.

A recent development in education administration in England and

Wales in the School Standards and Framework Act passed in July 1998. The

Act established that from 1.09.1999 all state school education authorities

with the ending of the separate category of grant maintained status.

There are some grant-maintained or voluntary aided schools,

called City Technology Colleges. In 1999 there were 15 City Technology

Colleges in England. These are non-fee-paying independent secondary schools

created by a partnership of government and private sector sponsors. The

promoters own or lease the schools, employ teachers and make substantial

contributions to the costs of building and equipment. The colleges teach

the NC, but with an emphasis on mathematics, technology and science.

So, today three types of state schools mainly provide secondary

education: secondary modern schools grammar schools and comprehensive

schools. There should also be mentioned another type of schools, called

specialist schools. The specialist school programmer in England was

launched in 1993. Specialist schools are state secondary schools

specializing in technology, science and mathematics; modern foreign

languages; sports; arts.

State schools are absolutely free (including all textbooks and

exercise books) and generally co-educational.

Under the NC a greater emphasis at the secondary level is laid on

science and technology. Accordingly, ten subjects have to be studied:

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