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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. It has many different faces, but one goal. Its aim is to realize the potential of all, for the good of the individual and the country. It embraces two educational purposes: first it gives a general education to all children, and second, it selects the most able and gives them more advanced education.



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Освіта в  Англії


                                                                              Науково-дослідницька робота

                                                                          учениці 11 класу ЗОШ № 6

                                                                               Бльосткіної Анни Едуардівни

                                                        Керівник роботи

                                                                                 Савченко Людмила Вікторівна,

                                                                        вчитель англійської мови

2011 рік


  1.  Introduction..................................................................................................3
  2.  From the History of British Education.........................................................4
  3.  The Education System in England...............................................................8
    1.  State and private schools...........................................................................8
    2.  Pre-school education and primary education..........................................10
    3.  Secondary education...............................................................................11
    4.  School life: rules and uniform………………………………………….13 
    5.  Further and higher education..................................................................15
    6.  Oxford and Cambridge – the oldest British Universities………………16
    7.  Education for foreigners……………………………………………….21
  4.  Conclusion………………………………………………………………25



This paper is oriented toward the analysis of Education System in England. British education has many different faces, but one goal. Its aim is to realize the potential of all, for the good of the individual and the country. During some centuries there have been unprecedented changes in the system of education in England: new types of schools and a compulsory National Curriculum appeared the range of school subjects and rules were changed, etc.

Nowadays, the education system in England is very complicated. It embraces two educational purposes: first it gives a general education to all children, and second, it selects the most able and gives them a more advanced education.

There are several reasons why the task of learning the education system is important and interesting.

First, the problems of education, education standards are always the most actual and arguable in every country.  

Second, more and more people in Europe try to get education in the most famous British Universities.

To be a student or to have a Degree of Oxford or Cambridge is very prestige nowadays.

Third, in Ukraine there are a lot of Foreign Language Centres which offer young people studding, after-diploma training and post graduate courses in British colleges and universities.

Education in England is not as perfect as we, foreigners, think. It, of course, has its good advantages and shortcomings.

In my work I’ll give a description of the system of education, changes and reforms in education analyse basic structure of British Education System, peculiarities of state and private schools in England.

II. From the history of British Education

If all good people were clever and all clever people were good, the world would be nicer than ever.

I think that education is a key to a good future.

As you know, education in England is one of the best well-developed education in the world.

So, talking about education, we will begin with a brief survey of the development of free universal education since the Middle Ages, and then take a closer look at the main institutions in which British people are formally educated.

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.

It has many different faces, but one goal. Its aim is to realize the potential of all, for the good of the individual and the country. It embraces two educational purposes: first it gives a general education to all children, and second, it selects the most able and gives them more advanced education.

Education in Britain developed by steps. It started in the middle Ages and was different for aristocracy and common people.

Common people attended parish schools. Schools were mostly religious and children were taught to read, learn prayers and psalms. At grammar schools the pupils, drawn from the wealthier sections of town society, were expected to be able to read and write before they were admitted. They then went on to learn Latin grammar and compose Latin verse.

Aristocrratic children were taught hunting and manners, rather than reading and writing. Girls were not normally educated except that often they too were sent away from home to learn how to behave and care for a household.

In  the 17-18 century there were Dame Schools for common people. They were paid by the parish and usually run by women, there were taught children up to the age 7 reading, knitting and spinning.

Aristocracy in grammar schools was provided further education in writing, Latin and Greek and even mathematics. The Dissenting Academies where the religious teaching reflected their own beliefs.

From the 19th century started the development of British educational system in private boarding-schools: from limited and voluntary schooling to the present expanded and compulsory educational system. Schools and teaching were provided for the children of enfranchised groups. Schools were organised to run cheaply as possible. Monitorial system - teacher teaches the monitors who then pass on their knowledge to the pupils. There were so-called Ragged Schools (supported by charity and provided education for the very poorest children of the cities.)

  •  1833- Education Act gave the first Government grant to schools.
  •  1902- Local Education Authorities had to finance secondary schools.
  •  1907- private secondary schools could get financial help from the government.
  •  1918- the power of the LEAs increased: schooling was made compulsory up to the age of 14 and this reorganised the government grants to schools.
  •  1944-all children should have an equal opportunity to participate in secondary education and it should be suited to their age.

In 1944 secondary education has been available in Britain and all children should have on equal opportunity to participate in secondary education and it should be suited to their age.

The National Education Act of 1944 provided three stages of education: primary, secondary and further education. It is compulsory up to the age of sixteen, and pupils can stay at school voluntarily for up to three years longer.

Until 1964 children took an "eleven plus" exam at the age of eleven. At this exam they were selected, or "streamed" according to their current level of academic attainment, for education in different types of secondary schools. Grammar schools provided a mainly academic course for the top 20 per cent; modern schools provided a general education with a practical bias. There were also a few technical schools - academic equals of grammar schools but specializing in technical studies.

In 1965 non-selective comprehensive schools were introduced. Most local education authorities have now completely changed over to comprehensive schooling.

Then after 1979 were introduced the greatest reforms in schooling. They included the introduction of a National Curriculum making certain subjects, most notably science and one modern language, compulsory up to the age of 16.The National Curriculum aims to ensure that all children study essential subjects and have a better all-round education. Pupils progress in subjects in National Curriculum is measured by written and practical tests. More ambitious pupils continue with very specialized studies in the sixth form.

They remain at school for two years more. Pupils sit for exams leaving secondary school and sixth form. They sit for the General Certificate Secondary Education at the end of the 5th-years course. A-level or AS-levels are taken after two years of study in the sixth form. They are the main standard for entrance to university or other higher education.

At the age of sixteen pupils take school-leaving examinations in several subjects at the Ordinary level. The exam used to be conducted by eight independent examining boards, most of them connected with a university. This examination could also be taken by candidates at a further education establishment. This exam was called the General Certificate of Education. Pupils of comprehensive school had taken the examination called the Certificate of Secondary Education either with or instead of the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary level.

A General Certificate of Education of Advanced ("A") level was taken two years after the Ordinary level exam. It was the standard for entrance to University and to many forms of professional training. In 1988 both examinations were replaced by the more or less uniform General Certificate of Secondary Education.

The education Reform Act of 1988 established the National Curriculum for 5-16 years olds and regular examination. The introduction of city technology colleges were sponsored industry and commerce. Their curriculum emphasizes science, technology and business understanding within the framework of the National Curriculum. By September 1991 there were 13 of these.

So, we may see great changes in Britain education system.

The first step was the introducing of two kinds of school: grammar schools and secondary modern schools. Grammar schools offered a predominantly academic education and in secondary modern schools education was more practical. The second step was the introducing of a new type of school, the comprehensive, a combination of grammar and secondary modern, so that all children could be continually assessed and given appropriate teaching. These schools were co-educational and offered both academic and practical subjects (Appendix №1, 2).

III. The Education System of England

The basic structure of British Education System consists of: 

  •  School Education
  •  Further Education
  •  Higher Education

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 educational in Britain. Firstly, there are wide variations between one part of the country and another, so the system in one part is little different from that in another part.

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 is also a considerable number of public schools.

1. State and Private Schools

Over 90 per cent of British children attend state-supported schools between the age of 5 and 16, when education is compulsory. While state-run primary schools (from age 5 to 11) are co-educational, state-supported secondary schools are both single-sexed and co-educational. There is a number of different types of state schools, including those totally owned and run by local education authorities; those whose premises are owned by voluntary bodies, mainly by the church; and those that are funded by central government and who employ their own staff and own their premises. There are also specialist schools, for example those that emphasize technology, or languages, or the arts, as well as schools dedicated to teaching children with special educational needs.

State schools are divided into the following types:

- grammar schools. Children who go to grammar schools are usually those who show a preference for academic subjects, although many grammar schools now also have some technical courses;

- technical schools. Some children go to technical schools. Most courses there are either commercial or technical;

- modern schools. Boys and girls who are interested in working with there hand and learning in a practical way can go to technical schools and learn some trade;

- comprehensive schools. These schools usually combine all types of secondary education. They have physic, chemistry, biology laboratories, machine workshops for metal and woodwork and also geography, history and art departments, commercial and domestic courses.

The private sector is running parallel to the state system of education. There are over 2500 fee-charging independent schools in Great Britain. About 7 per cent of schools-age children attends fee-paying independent of private schools (the larger of which are also rather confusingly known as "public" schools).

Some parents prefer to pay for their children to be educated at independent schools. The fees are high. As a matter of fact, only very rich families can send their children to public schools.

Most private schools are single-sex until the age of 16.The most expansive day of boarding schools in Britain are exclusive public schools like Eton College for boys and St.James' school for girls. But more and more parents seem prepared to take on the formidable extra cost of the education. The reason is the believe that social advantages are gained from attending a certain school.

It provides exceptionally fine teaching facilities, for example in science, languages, computing and design. Its students are largely from aristocratic and upper-class families. The Government's vision for the education system of the 21st century is that it will neither be divisive nor based on some lowest denominator.

Many independent schoolchildren are there as "boarders", which means they spend school terms living at the school and the holidays with their families. Some independent schoolchildren are "weekly boarders", returning to their homes at weekends (Appendix 3, 4, 5, 6).

2. Pre-school and Primary Education

In some areas 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 play-groups organized by parents in private homes. English children have classes five days a week. They have classes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Classes are usually over at four o'clock and then the pupils go home. They never have classes on Saturday and Sunday. Saturdays and Sundays are their days off. Schools in England have names, not numbers. They often get names after the place where they are (Green Hill School, Cedar Grove School) or after some famous or important people (St. Mary School).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 work. Here the babies play, lunch and sleep. They can run about and play in safety with someone keeping an eye on them. They play different games, run and jump. They sing songs, dance and play a lot. Infant pupils learn how to use money in their classroom shop. They look at the pictures in interesting books, draw pictures in pencil and colour them. They learn how to get on with other children. Their classes are informal, but they learn how to read, count and write a little too.

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 5 in a 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 lay 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 modelling 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 7 children go on from the infants school to the junior school. Junior schools are real schools. The atmosphere is more formal in junior classes than in infant classes. Pupils sit in rows and follow a regular timetable. 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. But children spend a lot of time outdoors. They visit different museums and other famous and interesting places. Sometimes their teachers take them to London and other big cities. They walk and play a lot. In some primary schools they don’t.

Pupils are streamed, according to their ability to learn, into A, B, 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 hared 11+ examination was a selective procedure on which not only the pupils’ 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.

3. Secondary education

State Secondary schools for children aged 11-16 fall into 4 main types: secondary modern, grammar, technical and comprehensive schools.

Grammar Schools. Children who go to grammar schools are usually those who show a preference for academic subjects, although many grammar schools now also have some technical courses.

Schoolmasters and mistresses of the Grammar Schools wear academic gowns and mortarboards, academic caps with a flat square top. The pupils are divided into Houses and wear uniform with the school badge.

Grammar Schools give the General Certificate of Secondary Education /GCSE/ of two levels O /Ordinary/ and A /Advanced/. The GCSE-O marks the end of school career and a start of some white-collar profession. A small number of pupils remain at school until they are 18 to pass to sit for the GCSE-A, which is required by most universities.

Technical Schools. Some Children go to technical schools. Most courses there are either commercial or technical.

Modern Schools. Boys and girls who are interested in working with their hands and learning in a practical way can go to a technical school and learn some trade.

Secondary Modern Schools concentrate on practical work. Boys are instructed in metal and woodwork, girls-in domestic science and cooking. The children leave this school at 15 with a certificate or Written Evidence of their studies.

Comprehensive Schools provide secondary education for all children of the district irrespective of their intelligence. Over 90% of the state secondary school population in England and Wales go to comprehensive schools. The comprehensive system aims to develop the gifts of all children to the full. These schools are usually very large. At 14 children have to take an assessment test. At 16 they take exams for the GCSE /English, French and Maths or the GNVQ-General National Vocational Qualification/design, business and tourism/. At 18 pupils can take “a”- level examinations or “AS”/half of the content of A-level/.

The main advantages of the comprehensive schools are that these schools are open children of all types of ability from the age of 11; they are large schools which give a much wider range of subjects than smaller schools, so that teenagers can choose a course of studies according to their individual inclinations and abilities.

The comprehensive school gives the following range of subjects, from which children can choose: English, German, French, Latin, history, geography, art, music, woodwork, metalwork, needlework, commercial subjects, mathematics, general science, religious instruction, physical education.

The majority of secondary schools continue to provide education until the age of 18. The vast majority of pupils attend state schools, which are absolutely free. According to the recently introduced National Curriculum three subjects as technology, history, geography, music, art, physical education and a modern foreign language must be included in the curricula of all pupils.

After a two year course, usually from 14 to 16 years of age, most pupils take their General Certificate of Secondary Education (G.C.S.E.) OR “O-level” (Ordinary level). After sitting G.C.S.E. or “O-level” students can either leave school and start working or continue their studies in the same school as before. Pupils obtaining at least five passes at G.C.S.E. can specialize for two years (from 16 to 18) in two or three subjects, in which they the General Certificate of Education Advanced level (A-level) examination. This is used as an entrance qualification for university and other types of higher education, as well as for many forms of professional training.

4. School life: rules and uniform

There are three terms: Autumn, Spring, and Summer. Each term is divided into half-terms with a five-day holiday between them. Holidays can vary at different regions. Usually all schools have ten days at Christmas, ten days at Easter and six weeks in the summer from the end of July to the beginning of September.

The school day starts at about 9 o’clock, when the whole school meets for prayers before separating for lessons. Most children at day schools have their midday meal at school and go home about 4 o‘clock. Country children are generally brought to and from home by school by school buses.

Pupils can eat lunch in the school canteen. “Dinner tickets” are not expensive. Children from the families with low income have “free school meals”- they do not pay for it. Many pupils bring “pocked lunch” and do not eat in the canteen. All pupils enjoy discussing how awful school food is. All schools organize a short daily meeting for the whole school to give important information. It is called school assembly. School discipline rules in Britain are strict. All pupils have to wear full uniform at all time, give money to their teacher for safekeeping, be in the yard no earlier than 8.50 a. m. and no later than 9.00 a. m., move around school quietly, collect their dinner tickets before 9.00 a. m., hand their home work in on time.  They don’t have to be late, bring jewellery to school, wear mousse, gel or hair spray on their hair, leave money in coat pockets; bring sweets or chewing gum to school, leave their home work until the last minute.

Many schools also have a discipline system to punish low standards of work or unacceptable behaviour and a commendation system to praise high standards of work. The most popular punishments in English schools are lines, detention, report, exclusion and expulsion.

“If teacher gives a pupil “lines” it means that the pupil must write out the same sentences for fifty or hundred times, for example, ‘I must not be late’.

To be in detention” means to stay after school to do extra work – lines or another one- for half an hour or so.

“To be on report” means that a pupil has a card which he or she gives to the teacher at the end of every lesson. The teacher reports in the card if the pupils have behaved well or badly.

Exclusion is the worst punishment in British schools. If the pupil is excluded, he or she cannot come to school for a few days or weeks. The pupil’s parents see the head teacher.

Expulsion means that a pupil is sent away from his or her school. The pupils have to go to another school where the teachers all know about the bad record.

The pupils who violate various school regulations may be punished in the following ways: for lateness, truancy they may be reported to the Headmaster or named in school assembly. They may be detained in school after ordinary hours.

Corporal punishment has recently beer, banned in state schools. But in most public schools it .is still allowed. Caning13 is the usual punishment for serious misbehaviour in class, damage and vandalism. Many teachers remark that standards of discipline have fallen since corporal punishment was banned by the government.

Pupils at many secondary schools in Britain have to wear a school uniform. This usually means a white blouse for girls (perhaps with a tie), with a dark-coloured skirt and pullover. Boys wear a shirt and tie, dark trousers and dark-coloured pullovers. Pupils also wear blazers-—a kind of jacket—with the school badge on the pocket. They often have to wear some kind of hat on the way to and from school - caps for boys, and berets or some other kind of hat for girls. Shoes are usually black or brown. And no high heels!

Young people in Britain often don't like their school j uniform, especially the hats and shoes. Sometimes they do | not wear the right clothes. Schools will often give them a warning the first time that this happens but then v/ill punish them if they continue not to wear the correct uniform. Senior student don't have to wear their school uniform (Appendix №7, 8).

5. Further and higher education

Preparation for adult life» includes training in the skills required for a job. These skills can be pitched at different levels - highly job-specific and not requiring much thought in their application, or «generalisable» and applicable to different kinds of employment.

Vocational courses are concerned with the teaching of job-related skills, whether specific or generalisable. They can be based in industry, and «open learning techniques make this increasingly likely, although in the past, they have normally been taught in colleges of further education, with students given day release from work. Vocational training has not been an activity for schools. But some critics think that schools should provide it for non-academic pupils. One major initiative back in 1982, was the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI) in which schools received money if they were able to build into the curriculum vocationally-related content ant activities - more technology, business studies, industry related work and visits, etc. But all this got lost in 1988 with the imposition of a National Curriculum was reformed, providing opportunities for vocational studies to be introduced at 14.

But the real changes in vocational training were to be seen outside the schools. The curriculum in colleges of further education has been closely determined by vocational examination bodies which decide what the student should be able to do in order to receive a qualification as, for example, a plumber or a hairdresser. These qualifications were pitched at different levels - from relatively low-skilled operative to higher-skilled craft and technician. Obtaining these qualifications often required an apprenticeship, with day release in a college of further education for more theoretical study.

Vocational training always has had a relatively low status in Britain. The «practical» and the «vocational» have seldom given access to university or to the prestigious and professional jobs.

Further education has traditionally been characterised by part-time vocational courses for those who leave school at the age of 16 but need to acquire a skill, be 4hat hi the manual, technical or clerical field. In all, about three million students enroll each year in part-time courses at further education (FE) colleges, some released by their employers and a greater number unemployed. In addition there has always been a much smaller proportion in full-time training. In 1985 this figure was a meagre 400,000, but by 1995 this had doubled. Given Labour's emphasis on improving the skills level of all school-leavers, this expansion will continue. Vocational training, most of which is conducted at the country's 550 further education colleges is bound to be an important component.

Higher education has also undergone a massive expansion. In 1985 only 573,000, 16 per cent of young people were enrolled in full-time higher education. Ten years later the number was 1,150,000, no less than 30 per cent of their age group.

This massive expansion was achieved by greatly enlarging access to undergraduate courses, but also by authorising the old polytechnics to grant their own degree awards, and also to rename themselves as universities. Thus there are today 90 universities, compared with 47 in 1990, and only seventeen in 1945. They fall into five broad categories: the medieval English foundations, the medieval Scottish ones, the nineteenth-century 'redbrick' ones, the twentieth-century 'plate-glass' ones, and finally the previous polytechnics. They are all private institutions, receiving direct grants from central government.

6. Oxford and Cambridge – the oldest Universities

Oxford and Cambridge, founded in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries respectively, are easily the most famous of Britain's universities. Today 'Oxbridge', as the two together are known, educate less than one-twentieth of Britain's total university student population. But they continue to attract many of the best brains and to mesmerise an even greater number, partly on account of their prestige, but also on account of the seductive beauty of many of their buildings and surroundings.

Both universities grew gradually, as federations of independent colleges, most of which were founded in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In both universities, however, new colleges are periodically established, for example Green College, Oxford (1979) and Robinson College, Cambridge (1977).

In the nineteenth century more universities were established to respond to the greatly increased demand for educated people as a result of the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of Britain's overseas empire. Many of these were sited in the industrial centers, for example Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Bristol.

With the expansion of higher education in the 1960s 'plate-glass' universities were established, some named after counties or regions rather than old cities, for example Sussex, Kent, East Anglia and Strathclyde. Over 50 polytechnics and similar higher education institutes acquired university status in 1992. There is also a highly successful Open University, which provides every person in Britain with the opportunity to study for a degree, without leaving their home. It is particularly designed for adults who missed the opportunity for higher education earlier in life. It conducts learning through correspondence, radio and television, and also through local study centers.

University examinations are for Bachelor of Arts or of Science (BA or BSc) on completion of the undergraduate course, and Master of Arts or of Science (MA or MSc) on completion of postgraduate work, usually a one- or two-year course involving some original research. Some students continue to complete a three-year period of original research for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The bachelor degree is normal classed, with about 5 per cent normally gaining First, about 30 per cent gaining an Upper Second or 2.1, perhaps 40 per cent gaining a Lower Second, or 2.2, and the balance getting either the Third, a Pass or failing. Approximately 15 per cent fail to complete their degree course.

In addition there are a large number of specialist higher education institutions in the realm of the performing and visual arts. For example, there a four leading conservatories: the Royal Academy Music, the Royal College of Music, Trinity College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music.

There are a large number of art colleges, of which the most famous is the Royal College of Art, where both Henry Moore and David Hockney once studied. Other colleges cater for dance, film-making and other specialist areas in arts.

In spite of the high fees, Britain's universities, Fl colleges and English language schools host a number of foreign students, in 1996 there were fewer than 158,000.

Female undergraduates have greatly increased proportionately in recent years. In the mid-1960 they were only 28 per cent of the intake, became 41 per cent by the early 1980s, and were 51 per cent by 1996. There is still an unfortunate separation of the sexes in fields of chosen study, arising from occupational tradition and social expectations. Caring for others is still a 'proper' career for women; building bridges, it seems, is not. Unless one believes women's brains are better geared to nursing and other forms of caring and men's to bridge-building, one must conclude that social expectations still hinder women and men from realising their potential. Students from poorer backgrounds are seriously underrepresented in higher education. Although more in social categories C, D and E are now enrolled, it is the more prosperous social categories A and B which have benefited most from university expansion. For Labour there are two issues here:

  •  equality of opportunity,
  •  maximising all of society's intellectual potential..

Ethnic minorities' representation is growing: 1 3 per cent in 1996 compared with only 10.7 per cent in 1990. It is noteworthy that their university representation exceeds their proportion within the whole population, a measure of their commitment to higher education.

In 1988 a new funding body, the University Funding Council, was established, with power to require universities to produce a certain number of qualified people in specific fields. It is under the UFC's watchful eye that the universities have been forced to double their student intake, and each university department is assessed on its performance and quality. The fear, of course, is that the greatly increased quantity of students that universities must now take might lead to a loss of academic quality.

Expansion has led to a growing funding gap. Universities have been forced to seek sponsorship from the commercial world, wealthy patrons and also from their alumni. The Conservative Party also decided to reduce maintenance grants but to offer students loans in order to finance their studies. However, the funding gap has continued to grow and Labour shocked many who had voted for it by introducing tuition fees at 1,000 pounds per annum in 1998. Although poorer students were to be exempted it was feared that, even with student loans, up to 10 per cent of those planning to go to university would abandon the idea. One effect of the financial burden is that more students are living at home while continuing their studies: about 50 per cent at the ex-polytechnics, but only 15 per cent at the older universities.

Today many university science and technology departments, for example at Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Imperial College London, and Strathclyde, are among the best in Europe. The concern is whether they will continue to be so in the future. Academics' pay has fallen so far behind other professions and behind academic salaries elsewhere that many of the best brains have gone abroad. Adequate pay and sufficient research funding to keep the best in Britain remains a major challenge.

As with the schools system, so also with higher education: there is a real problem about the exclusivity of Britain's two oldest universities. While Oxbridge is no longer the preserve of social elite it retains its exclusive, narrow and spell-binding culture. Together with the public school system, it creates a narrow social and intellectual channel from which the nation's leaders are almost exclusively drawn. In 1996 few people were in top jobs in the Civil Service, the armed forces, the law or finance, who had not been either to a public school or Oxbridge, or to both.

The problem is not the quality of education offered either in the independent schools or Oxbridge. The problem is cultural. Can the products of such exclusive establishments remain closely in touch with the remaining 95 per cent of the population? If the expectation is that Oxbridge, particularly, will continue to dominate the controlling positions in the state and economy, is the country ignoring equal talent which does not have the Oxbridge label? As with the specialisation at the age of 16 for A levels, the danger is that Britain's governing elite is too narrow, both in the kind of education and where it was acquired. It is just possible that the new Labour government, which itself reflects a much wider field of life experience in Britain, will mark the beginning of significantly fuller popular participation in the controlling institutions of state.

Facts about Oxford

  •  Students: over 16, 500 (130nationalities)
  •  Academic community includes 426 people
  •  Divisions: Humanities, Life and Environmental Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences
  •  Oxford was named the most innovative University
  •  Chancellor: Roy Jenkins 
  •  Oxford was founded in the 12th century (1133) as an aristocratic University.
  •  Only in the 19th century women of any race could enter the University. 
  •  It has an aristocratic character today.
  •  The cost of studies in the university is rather high. Students have to pay for using libraries and laboratories, as for taking exams.
  •  Each college gives students a specialized training in arts, law, medicine, science. The largest college has over 500 students, the smallest – 100 students.
  •  The formal head of the University is the Chancellor,
    but the real power in the University has Vice – Chancellor who is responsible for everything in the University. He is elected for seven years.
  •  The academic year has three terms, each lasts from eight to ten weeks. The
    students have three exams: in autumn, in spring, in summer. Final exams take place at the end of the course of studies. If a student fails the exam, he may take it again. Only two – examinations are allowed
  •  50 scientists – laureates of the Nobel Prize studied in Oxford University.

Facts about Cambridge

  •  Students: over 16,500 (over100 nationalities)
  •  Staff consists of 7,000 people
  •  Divisions: Humanities, Life and Environmental Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences 
  •  Chancellor: The Duke of Edinburgh
  •  Members of Cambridge have won over 80 Nobel Prizes 
  •  Cambridge takes its name from the river Cam on which it is situated.
  •  At present Cambridge has 28 colleges.
    One is for men only, two are women’s colleges, the rest are both for man and women.
  •  The university is full of ancient building, chapels, and libraries.
  •  In old times students of Cambridge were not allowed to play games, sing, hunt, fish, and dance.
    They wore special dark clothes & “squares”, the academic caps; they wear them in our days.
  •  During the course students live in the college. There are 9,000 students in the University now.
  •  Cromwell, Newton, Byron, Darwin studied in this university. The Great Russian scientist Pavlov came to Cambridge to get the degree of the Honorary Doctor of Cambridge.
  •  80 Nobel Prize winners studied in this University : 29 in physics, 22 in medicine, 18 in chemistry, 7 in economics, 2 in literature,2 World Nobel Prize. 

7. Education for foreigners

Summer schools or language courses in England for foreigners have become quite popular and there are many of them all over England. It’s because England is a very good place to learn English, there the students have many opportunities to practise the language they have learn in class last 3 weeks. What is included in the course fee?:

  •  Airport Collection and departure from Heathrow;
  •  Full accommodation;
  •  Food-breakfast lunch, dinner, including on day trips;
  •  3 full day excursions;
  •  Insurance
  •  Use of school’s facilities (including pool and tennis courts);
  •  Minimum 15 hours English lessons per week;
  •  Sport lessons: tennis, classes are in groups of more then 4 and are divided according to ability:
  •  Horse Riding to those who are interested;
  •  “West End Show”. The students have the opportunity to attend popular theatre show.

These schools are modern and well-kept, with bright, beautifully designed rooms. There are a lot of books, magazines in the rooms, chairs and sofas to relax with friends.

Summer schools in England offer to foreign students a huge variety of higher- quality courses and accommodation, with plenty of society and cultural activities.

The students may live at the school hostel or with a family, in town. Most students prefer to stay with a family.

Students going to the Summer Schools should have been learning English for at least one year. At the beginning of each course every student takes a test the result of which determines the level of the class.

There are three lessons (50 minutes) every morning. The lessons aim at improving the student's mastering of the language (mainly speaking and understanding English). At the lessons the students get some knowledge of Britain, its people and history. They also teach students how to manage ordinary situations.

Those who study at Summer Schools are interested in sport, especially soccer, cricket, hockey, tennis, volleyball, basketball, rugby and handball.

Other activities are: discos, table tennis, competitions and films (video). During the course excursions to London, Cambridge and other places are organized.

Students who live with a family are supposed to spend the evenings together with their hosts. At the same time they are welcome at the school, too.

Students coming from all over Europe have two things in common, their interest in sport and in English.

A year ago I studied at Language courses in London. It was great: a friendly, caring and safe learning environment, highly experience and professional teachers, very interesting cultural and social activities. I knew a lot about these courses.

They always recommend staying in homestay accommodation, not just for value for money, but also this will help you practice your English, homestay hosts are carefully chosen by the accommodation officer, who visits all hosts, and chooses only the best. All are checked with the relevant authorities.

Many students return every year, and ask for the same hosts. All students can tell them specific needs, for example, if you don't like dogs or you are a vegetarian. You will be met at the coach or train station by your hosts. All homestay hosts are normally in walking distance of the school (between 5 and 30 minutes' walk), but bus passes are available if you prefer - for a cost of about Ј17 per week for unlimited local travel.

The price includes breakfast and dinner Monday to Friday, and all meals at weekends. Homestay hosts will do light laundry, and will provide towels and bedding.

Students study in small classes with experienced, well-qualified teachers. To give students the chance to participate and speak as much as possible in class, class sizes are kept small: the maximum number of students per class is 13. Classrooms are well-equipped with the latest audio-visual technology.

In addition to its teaching programme, they offer an exciting social programme, which includes evening activities and excursions.

Many students prefer to stay with homestay host families in and practise their English and to find out more about British culture out of class time.

General English is the main programme at CESC. Students study the four language skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading), with an emphasis on listening and speaking in class. They also learn English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

Students can start any Monday (except Bank Holidays). There are 20 lessons a week in groups of maximum 13 students.

There are 7 levels, from Beginner to Advanced, based on the Common European Framework for languages.

In addition to the General English programme, students can take 5 or 10 extra hours a week.

IV. Conclusion

The educational system - its organization, its control, its content - is changing rapidly to meet the perceived needs of the country - the need to improve standards and to respond to a rapidly changing and competitive economy. Those changes might be summarized in the following way.

First, there is much greater central control over what is taught. Second, what is taught is seen in rather traditional terms - organized in terms of subjects rather than in response to the learning needs of the pupils. Third, however, there is an attempt to be responsive to the economic needs of the country, with an emphasis upon vocational studies and training. Fourth, there is a rapid expansion of those who stay in education beyond the compulsory age, making use of the «three-track system» of «A» Level, GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualifications) and NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications). Fifth, although the content of education is centrally controlled, its «delivery» pays homage to the «market» by encouraging choice between different institutions so that funding follows popular choice (i.e. the more popular the school with parents, the more money it gets, thereby providing an incentive to schools and colleges to improve their performance.


Appendix 1

Facts and Figures

  •  Compulsory schooling: by law every child in Britain must receive full-time education from 5 to 15. In 1972, the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16, so now all children have a minimum of 11 years compulsory full-time education.
  •  An increasing proportion of under 5s are attending school-over half in 1992/93, compared with only a fifth in 1970/71.
  •  Overall, girls outperform boys. In 1991/92 a third of girls left school with one or more ‘A’ levels compared with a quarter of males.
  •  There were 1.3 million students in higher education in U.K. in 1991/92 - more than double the number in 1070/71.
  •  In 1992/93, 460 thousand women were enrolled on full-time further education courses in U.K., compared with 182 thousand in 1970/71.
  •  In 1992-93, 12% of the population between 25 and 69 had a degree.
  •  Total government expenditure on education increased by just over half in real terms between 1970-71 and 1992-93.
  •  Expenditure per pupil on education in secondary schools rose by two fifths in real terms between 1981/82 and 1991/92.

Appendix №2

From Tripartite System to Comprehensive System

  •  It was not until the Education Act in 1944 that all children were given the right to free secondary (middle school) education.
  •  A “tripartite” system of secondary modern, technical & grammar schools selected 11 year-old children at the & of their primary education by means of an exam. Secondary moderns & technical schools dealt with more practical subjects. Pupils from them were expected to become manual workers & skilled workers respectively, were more likely to go on to university and become professionals and managers.
  •  In the 1950s some people were dissatisfied with the tripartite system because it did not seem to ensure either equal educational opportunities
  •  Comprehensive schools were introduced in the 1960s with the idea that pupils should not be selected & streamed at such an early age. In 1993 90% of pupils attend such schools; the other 10% attend some remaining grammar or private schools.
  •  Since the introduction of comprehensive schools some have argued that streaming still causes children to be ‘labeled’ at an early age as either academic or non-academic, while others argue that it holds back brighter pupils since more attention will be given to those with less academic talents.

Appendix №3


Basic Structure of British Education System

  •  Pre-school education
    •  Primary school
    •  Secondary school
    •  Universities, colleges of higher education

Appendix №4

British Education System

Appendix №5

Britain State Schools

  •  The system of secondary education in Britain has been changed in recent years. Under the old system, children took an examination called the “eleven plus” at the age of 11. If they passed this examination, they went to a grammar school (high school) and if they failed, they went to a secondary modern school.
  •  Under the new system, there is no examination at the age of eleven the grammar schools and secondary modern schools have been replaced by large comprehensive schools.
  •  Some comprehensives are “streamed”; others are “unstreamed”.
  •  In a streamed school, pupils are placed into classes according to their ability. Children of high ability are in the “A” stream, those of lesser ability in the “B” stream and so on.
  •  In an unstreamed school, children of mixed ability are placed together in the classes.

Appendix 6

Private education

  •  Government does not support these schools financially.
  •  People must pay for their education;
  •  Choice: day and boarding schools, single-sex schools;
  •  2,400 schools in Britain.

Appendix №7

School   rules

Every British school has its rules, for example:

  •  Be polite;
  •  Say hello when you see a teacher;
  •  Come to school on time;
  •  Stand up when a teacher comes into the class;
  •  Don’t eat or drink in the classroom;
  •  Don’t run in the corridors;
  •  Don’t bring mobile phones to class;
  •  Don’t talk to people in lessons;
  •  Appropriate school dress must de worn on all school occasions;
  •  Bicycles shall not be ridden in the school grounds;
  •  Ball games may not be played in areas close to unprotected windows;
  •  Radios and tape-recorders of any type must not be brought to school;
  •  No pupil is allowed to smoke on the school premises or on school visits, or to bring cigarettes.

Appendix №8

Pupils’ arguments about uniforms    



Making everyone wear the same school uniform goes against our rights.

Schools with uniforms obtain better educational results. This is because there is better discipline and so the school setting makes learning easier.

Uniform is often not practical or pleasant to wear. Designs are often old-fashioned and ugly.

Uniform is a social leveler - it makes all the children at a school equal no matter what their family background or income.

Forcing children to wear uniform can ignore their religious and cultural needs

Uniform is usually cheaper than letting children choose what they will wear to school.

Wearing a school uniform is not good preparation for working. Only a few jobs require uniforms, and many of these are low-paid service jobs

Wearing a uniform helps to prepare students for the world of work, where uniforms are often worn.


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