The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

The Educational System of the UK

Category: Educational System

Each part of the UK has its own educational system. In general, there are three stages in the UK state educational system.

- Primary education includes pre-schooling (a nursery school playground or a kindergarten under 5 years) and a primary school: infant classes (5-7 years) and junior classes (7-11 years).

- Secondary education is compulsory and given in the secondary (comprehensive) school: at the age of 16 the pupils get the GCSE, i.e. the General Certificate of Secondary Education (an examination); at the age of 18 they get the A-level GCE, i.e. the Advanced Level General Certificate of Education (an examination to enter universities).

- Higher education is the university level education, which is not under the state control, i.e. students have to pay for it.

The most famous public schools in the UK are Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester. The fees for the tuition in these schools are very high. Children can enter these schools only through preparatory schools at about 11-13 years of age on the basis of the examination, known as Common Entrance.

It is interesting to know that Rugby is a town, the public school in this town and a kind of football, that originated in Rugby School for boys (also called rugger).

There are many colleges and universities in the UK. The total number is 100.

After three years of study, a university graduate gets a Bachelor’s Degree, i.e. a Bachelor of Arts or B.A. and a Bachelor of Science or B.S..

After a year or two more of study, a university graduate gets a Master’s Degree, i.e. a Master of Arts or M.A. and a Master of Science or M.S. The highest degree is a Doctor’s Degree, traditionally called a Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D.; research work for any number of years is necessary to obtain this degree.

Oxford and Cambridge are the two “intellectual eyes of Britain”.

Oxford is a town and the oldest university founded in the 12th century.

Cambridge is also a town and the second oldest university founded at the beginning of the 13th century.

Oxbridge is made up of the two words: Oxford and Cambridge. Camford is also made up of these two words: Cambridge and Oxford.

The Redbrick universities are also well-known. They are called so because they were made of red brick in the 19-20 centuries in London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Birmingham.

The Open University is a special educational institution for people, who study in their free time and who “attend” lectures by watching TV, listening to the radio, using the Internet. They keep in touch with their teachers by phone, letter, e-mail and attend summer schools to have consultations, tests and exams. The graduates have no formal qualifications after graduation.

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