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UK Education System Guide: Everything Students Have to Know

Posted on the 09 January 2020 by Uplarn @UPLARN_MEDIA
UK Education System Guide: Everything Students Have to Know

Education in the United Kingdom became a subject to multiple books and movies due to the deep-rooted traditions and high standards. Most of the schools are proud of their distinguished history, not giving in their positions on the scientific arena due to state-of-the-art equipment and supportive academic community.

Choosing an educational institution in the UK is quite time-consuming since there are many behind-the-scenes aspects you have to consider. By learning how the entire system functions, however, you'll grasp some valid insights from the UK history and culture. Therefore, we have prepared a brief guide for you not to get lost in terms and definitions.

So, what's the average educational path for a UK student?

Compulsory Education in the UK

Before immersing yourself into details, you should know that school education in the UK is compulsory. This means that all the kids from 5 to 16 have to visit any kind of suitable educational institution. Another term we will mention is the "national curriculum". In order to standardize the local education system, the UK government came up with the unified learning framework applied in all the schools.

Stages 1 & 2 - Primary school (5-7, 7-11 years old)

Primary school is aimed at giving the students some basic knowledge about the world and improve their skills in English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Physical Education, and Music. Before the age of 7, all the students do the phonic screening, which tests their ability to perceive phonics accordingly.

Exam 11+ is the first serious test to determine what type of secondary school you'll visit. The disciplines to be graded are:

  • English reading, grammar, spelling, and punctuation (checked by the National Assessment Center);
  • Mathematics (checked by the National Assessment Center);
  • Science (checked personally by the teacher).

Stages 3 & 4: Secondary school (11-14, 14-16/18 years old)

There are many factors to determine which secondary school is the best option for the kid and their family. What are the alternatives?

Comprehensive school is opened to anybody who's willing to learn, whereas grammar school is rather centered on your academic abilities. Another type of school you can hear about is a secondary modern school, which tends to offer many vocational directions instead.

There are three types of schools, depending on the entrance fee. State schools are government-funded; any student may visit state schools regardless of their family budget. Private schools require their students to pay tuition since not receiving major financial support from the country. The most expensive private schools are usually called public - you have definitely heard about them in the books. Read about the most remarkable public schools for elite here.

Faith schools are the ones to mix the national curriculum with a set of religious subjects. Most of the faith schools function under the Church of England, however, this is not the rule. Catholics, Muslims, and parishioners of other faiths are free to open such institutions following the unified recommendations from the government.

The obligatory subjects learned at the 3rd stage are:

  • English;
  • Mathematics;
  • Science;
  • History;
  • Geography;
  • Art and Design;
  • Music;
  • Physical Education;
  • Modern Foreign Languages;
  • Design and Technology;
  • Computing.

The top-level of the 4th stage requires students to take Citizenship as a compulsory discipline, whilst Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages are offered as elective classes.

The government has released some guidance for the teachers to come up with decent content for their electives including possible home tasks ( essay for me, interviews, research works). The most beautiful thing about electives is their independence from the national curriculum.

General Certificate of Secondary Education is an obligatory exam 16-year olds have to take. It includes 9 subjects, 6 of which you may choose (English, Math, and Science are compulsory).

Higher Education in the UK

  • University of Liverpool;
  • University of Birmingham;
  • University of Manchester;
  • University of Leeds;
  • University of Bristol;
  • University of Reading;
  • University of Nottingham;
  • Newcastle University;
  • University of Sheffield.
UK Education System Guide: Everything Students Have to Know

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