British educational system for international students

British educational system for international students

British educational system

An English child has a short childhood: at the age of 5, he already begins school time. The child must be enrolled in school from the quarter that follows his birthday. It is not necessary to postpone admission to an educational institution, this is fraught with complications in the future. The fact is that throughout all the years of the child's education, the school is obliged to submit reports, and the data in them is closely related to the age of the students. These documents indicate the number of children who have reached a certain age by the reporting period, and data on how many percent of students have passed the necessary exams, and how many have failed this task. Therefore, if the child went to school later than the prescribed age, then there may be a lot of confusion. The issue of admission to the school is one of the key ones. First of all, the issue of the territorial location of the school is being resolved. The Law on Education of 1996 defines in which case a child should be provided with free transport from home to school. Transport should be provided if a child under the age of 8 lives more than two miles from the nearest school or if a child over the age of 8 lives more than three miles from school, while the road from home to school and back should be laid along a safe route, and not on the "shortest path". The main restrictive criterion that affects the admission control figures is the restriction of the occupancy of classes.

At school, children are usually grouped by age classes. Primary education covers the age from 5 to 7 years and from 7 to 11 years. Secondary education is represented primarily by a combined school for 11(12) - year-olds and, following them, grammar and modern schools for 15-17-year-olds. 11 years of training are required. Upon reaching the age of 14, teenagers have the right to enroll in vocational schools.

The Education Laws of 1996 and 2002 introduced a modern "State curriculum" and specify that the bodies responsible for overseeing the application of the State curriculum and the assessment system are: for England - the Qualifications and Educational Programs Management Body, for Wales - the Qualifications, Educational Programs and Assessment Management Body. The State Curriculum of England defines the most important skills that students should master in primary school: teamwork, communication and communication, arithmetic, information technology, improving academic performance and problem solving. Changes to the state curriculum may be made by the Minister of Education after consultation and conclusion of the State Administration of Qualifications and Curriculum of England and Wales (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority – QCA). The same body prepares and analyzes the results of tests conducted in accordance with the state curriculum.

The school year in England and Wales begins on September 1 and lasts 38 weeks. As a rule, the academic year is divided into semesters: autumn (before Christmas), spring (before Easter) and summer (until the end of June – the beginning of the longest summer holidays). As an experiment, in some municipalities, the academic year was divided into six semesters. Schools are open, as a rule, from 9.00 to 16.00, but some may work longer if there are extended-day groups. During the day, students have one big lunch break lasting up to one hour. The school day consists of two sessions – morning and afternoon, each lasts about 2.5 hours, which is determined by the administration of the educational institution. The minimum time spent by a student in school is determined by the Department of Education and Skills and is 21 hours per week for students at the 1st stage and 24 hours for students at the 2nd stage of primary education. The school week is usually 5-day. The school day lasts from 9-00 to 15-30 with a break for lunch and prayer. There is a minimum number of training hours per week; schools have the right to increase the weekly training load at their discretion.

In training, the main emphasis is on the ability to independently acquire knowledge and apply it in practice. Children study a lot in libraries and laboratories, they must remember their own homework. The knowledge test usually takes place in writing – in the form of essays and projects. At the same time, the teacher usually only outlines some problem, and the student himself formulates the topic and selects the material. In the UK, independence is encouraged more than anywhere else from a young age, so students are offered to make a choice relatively early – at the very beginning of secondary school (11-12 years), children are divided into groups with in-depth study of individual humanities or natural sciences. The right to choose or the "system of options" exists at all levels of secondary education.

Classes in junior school are held in a very soft, playful form, without any attempts to" fit " everyone to one common level. Each child develops individually, in accordance with the level of their abilities.

All subjects in primary school are taught by one teacher. The lesson lasts from 15 to 45 minutes.

Entering primary school, young students begin to thoroughly engage in counting, reading and writing, while homework is given 1 time a week. Physical education classes are always held, in many schools children visit the swimming pool once a week. The main time in primary school is devoted to learning English (reading, spelling, grammar, speech take up to 40% of the school time), 15% is occupied by physical education,12% is manual labor and art, the remaining hours are distributed between arithmetic, history, geography, natural science and religion lessons. For schools in Wales, teaching in which is conducted in the Welsh language, Welsh is also mandatory.

In addition to the "main" compulsory subjects, students must (according to the Education Act of 1996) study other subjects, such as the basics of religion, foreign languages (English in schools where teaching is conducted in Welsh).

The responsibility for the application of the state curriculum and the educational program based on it lies entirely with the teacher, who is not limited in the choice of teaching methods. Often children are divided according to their abilities, and during the day the teacher conducts classes in different groups. As a rule, children of the same age are present at classes, but this cannot be considered a rule for small rural schools. The teacher determines which textbooks should be used when studying the taught subject, and the textbooks are provided free of charge. The local education authorities are responsible for the purchase of textbooks. Recently, the Internet and information technologies have been used everywhere in training. Online resources sponsored and filled by the Department of Education and Skills are of great help to the teacher in preparing the curriculum. Although all secondary education institutions are required to follow a nationwide program, independent schools in the UK have the right to form their curricula based on the personal requests of students.

When a student enters school, in most cases, the first one or two months, the teacher evaluates his communicative abilities, speech, arithmetic and mathematical abilities. The procedure for such an assessment and the criteria are established by the local education authority or the school administration. Taking into account the preliminary and legally optional test, the need for special training may be revealed at an early stage.

By the end of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd key stages of primary and secondary education, the Education Act of 2002 (paragraph 2 of Article 105) prescribes to conduct tests in mathematics, English, natural sciences, and in schools where teaching is conducted in Welsh, in the Welsh language. At the 1st stage, English language tests require the test taker to perceive speech by ear, understand reading and pronunciation. In mathematics – the ability to perform simple arithmetic operations. At the 2nd stage, the language test involves checking the ability to read, write competently, compose essays; in mathematics – the skill of counting in the mind, using a calculator and the level of mathematical thinking. The natural sciences test is the ability to understand a scientific text.

The state tests conducted at the age of 7 and 11 also include an assessment of the teacher and the goals that he has achieved according to the state curriculum and the school curriculum. The goals to be achieved are described in detail in the state curriculum. They consist in the acquisition of a given level of knowledge and skills by students. As an example, let's take the description of the skills in mathematics that a student should have by the end of the 2nd key stage.


Student should be trained to use and apply numbers, namely:

  • - establish mathematical connections, appreciate and respect the need to use numeracy skills and mathematical knowledge when solving problems and tasks at other levels of the curriculum;

  • - solve more complex problems or perform arithmetic operations step by step before trying to find a solution, be able to find the information necessary to solve the problem;

  • - choose and use the mathematical apparatus, including the use of information technologies;

  • - find different ways to solve the problem, overcome difficulties;

  • - make a mental assessment of the results of calculations, check the resulting solution.



  • organize the work and record the result in the most optimal way;

  • correctly use the diagrams of the notation system and symbols when solving the problem;

  • to present and interpret the obtained solutions in the context of a given problem;

  • correctly use mathematical notation in speech, including the exact use of mathematical terms and language.



  • understand and investigate general statements (for example, "all primes greater than two are odd");

Progress in the study of subjects is measured on a scale of eight levels, while the state educational plan provides for achieving a level of academic achievement in the range of two to five by the end of primary school. Not all students at the end of each stage meet the standards of knowledge of the state curriculum. According to statistics, about 1/5 of students by the end of primary school need special educational programs, which mean additional costs for local education authorities.

The school program of a middle-aged child is very rich: classes start at 8: 30 in the morning and last until 17: 30. A lunch break is provided. The program includes various academic and optional subjects:

Exact disciplines: mathematics, chemistry, physics, programming. General education subjects: biology, anatomy, geography. Humanities: sociology, law, political science, fine arts, English language and literature, several foreign languages, fundamentals of religion. Additional subjects: Latin, economics, business basics, etc. Their choice depends on the specialization of the school. Schools in England have different specializations and you need to make a choice already at this stage: it all depends on which university you plan to enter.

However, high exam results are not everything. The education of children in England is not limited only to mental stress. Equally important are such personal qualities as the level of general development, self-confidence and the ability to work in a team. Extracurricular activities consist mainly of social activities and recreational activities that are organized within or between groups. In addition, school teams and art lovers ' societies take part in competitions and competitions between schools. Sports are also traditionally developed in this country, and a child will be able to engage in one or more sports at the same time. Much attention is also paid to creative development: there are classes in theater, ballet and art studios.

A special feature of secondary education in the UK can be called an individual approach to each student, which allows you to provide such a high level of knowledge. In private schools, the class consists of 7-10 students. Teachers are aimed at the most effective education of children in England, they are interested in this both financially (their annual award depends on the level of end-to-end testing of a student), and this is achieved thanks to their high professional skills and consciousness. The entire educational process in the UK is focused on results, namely, the successful completion of school by a child and admission to prestigious universities in the country and the world. The distinctive features of British schools are an "iron" discipline, classical teaching methods, an established educational process, a versatile program of preparing students for life in the business world and society.

Parental involvement

Naturally, the British, like parents from all over the world, are interested in the successes and problems of their children and communicate on this topic with teachers. However, there are no parent meetings, in our understanding of this event, here. It's just that the parents of each child are given 5-10 minutes for individual communication with the teacher. There are also parent committees in English schools. Among their duties there is also such as getting money for school needs. But they do not collect from their parents, but strive to earn money. For example, they organize a movie screening at an educational institution with the sale of popcorn and sweets in the buffet. Part of the money received is paid to those who provided the session for services, and the rest of the funds go to the school fund. For the same purposes, discos and even barbecues are arranged for children, parents and all local residents. In addition, schools have their own government, chosen from the parents of current and even former students.

Much attention is paid to charity in educational institutions. From an early age, children are taught to help those who need it. To raise funds for charitable purposes, the educational institution organizes, for example, a "day without a school uniform", when every child has the right to come in whatever he wants and brings with him a small contribution – 1 pound sterling (about 50 rubles). The school transfers the collected money, for example, to a children's hospice or to a homeless fund. But in general, the attitude to money among the British is very sober and practical. Teenagers from the age of 16 use every opportunity to earn money themselves. It is not customary to waste money in England.

When assessing knowledge, they systematically resort to tests. The grades are given by the teacher and independent members of the examination commissions.


Usually, the following exams are taken in schools in the UK:

1. The general entrance exam for admission to the senior classes of an independent school – British schoolchildren take it from the age of 13. In most schools, it consists of tests in English, mathematics and science.

2. Exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) are usually taken at the age of 15-16 years.

The average student takes 6-8 subjects, and mathematics, English and foreign languages are considered mandatory for work and further education. An independent examination commission prepares questions for the exam and evaluates the results. When setting the final mark, written tests, practical work and current assessments for a certain period of time are taken into account.

Satisfactory grades are "A", "B" and "C". A good result of the GCSE exam – 6 satisfactory marks or more-allows you to get a qualification certificate. 

3a. Exams for the General Certificate of Education of the Advanced level (GCE "A-levels"), are usually taken at the age of 18. Thus, the total duration of training in the "senior secondary school" is 2 years.

"A" means "advanced" – "advanced" and means passing the exam in the chosen subject at an advanced level. Such exams, as a rule, are passed from two to five. At least three "A-levels" are necessary in order to open a path to higher education. The restriction in the choice of the number of "A-levels" indicates that the UK educational system is aimed at early specialization: by the age of 16, a student must choose three subjects that will determine his future career. Disciplines can be taken in any set, but most prefer those that are included in the entrance minimum for obtaining a chosen specialty, so that the subjects taken usually have either a natural science or a humanitarian orientation.

3b. HSCE (Higher Scottish Certificate of Education) is the Scottish equivalent of "A-levels". The system of secondary education in Scotland is somewhat different from the nationwide British one adopted in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. In particular, in Scotland, students prepare for the main high school exam for only a year, from 17 to 18 years. It is believed that it is somewhat lower than the "A-levels" standards, for which you need to prepare for two years. To enter a university in Scotland (they are accepted there from the age of 17), it is enough to pass at least two HSCE exams. Accordingly, studying at the university lasts a year longer than in England and Wales.

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14 Oxford High School GDST, Oxford

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