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Education in Britain

Education in Britain

Education in Britain

Education in Britain
In England and Wales compulsory school begins at the age of five, but before that age children can go to a nursery school, also called play school. School is compulsory till the children are 16 years old.
In Primary School and First School children learn to read and write and the basis of arithmetic. In the higher classes of Primary School (or in Middle School) children learn geography, history, religion and, in some schools, a foreign language. Then children go to the Secondary School.

When students are 16 years old they may take an exam in various subjects in order to have a qualification. These qualifications can be either G. C. S. E. (General Certificate of Secondary Education) or «0 level» (Ordinary level). After that students can either leave school and start working or continue their studies in the same school as before. If they continue, when they are 18, they have to take further examinations which are necessary for getting into university or college.
Some parents choose private schools for their children. They are very expensive but considered to provide a better education and good job opportunities.
In England there are 47 universities, including the Open University which teaches via TV and radio, about 400 colleges and institutes of higher education. The oldest universities in England are Oxford and Cambridge. Generally, universities award two kinds of degrees: the Bachelor’s degree and the Master’s degree.

Questions:
1. When does compulsory school begin?
2. How long does a child stay in compulsory school?
3. What subjects do children learn in Primary School?
4. What kind of exam do students have to take when they are 16?
5. Do students have to leave school at the age of 16 or to continue their studies?
6. How do private schools differ from the regular ones?
7. How many universities are there in England?
8. What is the Open University?
9. What kinds of degrees do universities award?

Образование в Британии
В Англии и Уэльсе обязательное обучение в школе начинается с пяти лет, но до этого возраста дети могут ходить в детский сад, также называемый игровой школой. Обучение в школе обязательно до достижения детьми возраста 16 лет.
В первичной школе и начальной школе дети учатся читать и писать, а также основам арифметики. В старших классах первичной школы (или в средней школе) дети учат географию, историю, религию и, в некоторых школах, иностранный язык. После этого дети переходят в среднюю школу.
Когда ученики достигают шестнадцатилетнего возраста,
они могут сдавать экзамены по различным предметам для получения квалификации. Квалификация может быть как образца О.С.С.О. (Основное Свидетельство о среднем образовании), так и обыкновенного уровня. После этого учащиеся могут покинуть школу и устроиться на работу, или продолжить образование в той же школе, что и перед этим. Если они продолжат, то, когда им исполнится 18 лет, они должны будут сдавать следующие экзамены, которые необходимы для поступления в университет или колледж.
Некоторые родители выбирают для своих детей частные школы. Они очень дорогие, но считается, что образование в них дается на более высоком уровне и имеются предпосылки для получения хорошей работы.
В Англии 47 университетов, включая Открытый университет, обучение в котором производится по телевидению и радио, около 400 колледжей и высших учебных заведений. Старейшие университеты Англии — Оксфорд и Кембридж. Главным образом, в университетах присваиваются два типа степеней: степени бакалавра и магистра.

Источник: 100 тем английского языка. Авторы Каверина В. Бойко В. Жидких Н.

Education in Great Britain
England schooling is compulsory for children of 5 to 16 years of age. Any child may attend a school without paying fees. Over 90% of children of compulsory school age go to state schools. The most important changes in Britain’s educational system were introduced under the Education Reform Act 1988. It led to the compulsory National Curriculum for pupils aged 5 to 16 in state schools. The Act also aims to give parents a wider choice of schools for their children. Local educational authorities finance most school education at local level. They also employ teachers. Every state school in England and Wales has a governing body, responsible for the school’s main policies. Parallel reforms are introduced in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Full-time education is compulsory up to the middle teenage years. There are three stages in education. The first stage is primary education; the second is secondary education; the third is further education at university or college.
Before going to a primary school children receive nursery education (some children attend pre-school play-groups). It’s the first age of education. Around half of 3—4 years old in Britain receive nursery education. Children of nursery age need care as well as education. Social, emotional and physical needs must be taken into consideration.
Compulsory primary education begins at the age of 5 in England, Wales and Scotland and at 4 in Northern Ireland. Children start their education in an infant school and move to a junior school at 7 years old. Primary schools vary in size and location. Pupils study different subjects (English, mathematics, science, history, geography, music, art, physical education). Over 80% of all primary schools are mixed.
In Britain most children of compulsory secondary school age (11—16) receive free education financed from public funds. The large majority of schools are mixed.
The school year in England and Wales begins in September and continues into July. In Scotland it is from August to June. In Northern Ireland — from September to June. At this level children start to learn a modern foreign language. The course of study at secondary school may lead to General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualifications. At 16 years old children take different examinations and have quite a lot of coursework, only after which they’re awarded GCSE.
Those who stay at school after GCSE, study for 2 more years for A (Advanced) level exams in two or three subjects.
A small proportion of children (about 8%) attend private, or independent schools, which are not financed by the state. To understand this phenomenon a little history is needed.
The British government paid little attention to education until the end of the 19th century. Schools had existed in Britain long before the government took an interest in education. A small group of schools admitted only the sons of the upper and upper middle classes. At these public schools much more attention was paid to «character-building» and the development of «team spirit» rather than to academic achievements. These were «boarding- schools» (as the pupils lived in them). The pupils wore distinctive clothes and the schools had their own traditions. The aim of those schools was to prepare young men to take up positions in the higher ranks of army, in business, civil service and politics.
A typical public school is for boys from 13. It admits fee-paying pupils. Such school is a boarding one. Each school is divided into houses with its housemaster. Public school place great emphasis on team sports. These schools are not at all luxurious or comfortable. A typical example of such a school is Eton.
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 society as a whole.

The School Year
The school year is usually divided into three terms.
Autumn term lasts from September (or August) till Christmas holiday, which is about 2 weeks. Then spring term — till Easter holiday (also 2 weeks), and summer term, which lasts till June (or July). Summer holiday is about 6 weeks.
In addition all schools have a half-term, which lasts a few days or a week in the middle of each term.

School Life
Nearly all schools work five days a week. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The school day starts at 9 o’clock and finishes between 3 and 4p.m. The lunch break usually lasts an hour-and-a-quarter. Most
pupils have lunch provided by the school. The lunch is paid by parents. Other children either go home for lunch or have a snack at school.

Exams
At 15—16 years old school children take public exams. They are not usually set up by the government (rather by independent examining boards). Each school or Local Education Authority decides which exams their pupils are to take. The boards publish syllabus for each subject. There is no single school-leaving exam or school-leaving certificate. Usually a vast range of subjects is offered for school children. Nearly all pupils do exam in English, Maths and Science. Most do exams in technology and in a foreign language. Some pupils take exams in 3—4 additional subjects.
Usually exams have nothing to do with school years. Once the examining boards decided to include certain popular television programmes on their literature syllabus.

EXERCISES
I. Answer the questions.

1. What is the goal of education in Britain?
2. What types of school do you know in Britain?
3. What school do children at 6 years attend?
4. What exams do children have to take at 16 years old?
5. What subjects do pupils learn at secondary school?
6. Is there any difference between state and independent schools?
7. What is the aim of private schools?
8. Can you give an example of a private school?
9. Is schooling compulsory for pupils of 17 years old?
10. When does the academic year begin?

II. True or false?
1. Schooling is compulsory for children of 5 to 16 years of age.
2. Quite a large number of children attend public schools.
3. The first stage of education is secondary education.
4. Children in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland go to school at the same age.
5. Only a small part of schools are mixed.
6. At public schools much attention is paid to character-building.
7. After finishing secondary school children are awarded GCSE.

III. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions.
1. private education —
2. compulsory education —
3. mixed schools —
4. boarding schools —
5. GCSE —
6. academic year —
7. nursery education —
Answers
II. 1. T; 2. F; 3. F; 4. F; 5. F; 6. T; 7. T.

Education in Great Britain (continued)
At the age of 16 pupils can leave school. But quite a lot of them want to continue their education. Only 1/3 of all leave school at 16 and look for a job. (The general level of unemployed is high today. Some of them find job immediately and many take part in training schemes (which means job combined with part-time college courses).
In England and Wales those who stay at school study just three subjects in preparation for taking A-level exams (Advanced Level).
These academic exams are set by the same examining boards that set GCSE exams. They’re taken by pupils at the age of 18 years old, who wish to continue their education.
Universities usually select students on the basis of A-level results and an interview (students who wish to enter Oxford and Cambridge have to take certain exams). Those who have better A-level results are usually accepted.
Higher education has become more available in the second half of the 20th century. In 1960 there were less than 25 universities in Britain. By 1980 there were already more than 40, and by 1995 there were over a hundred institutions with university status.
Universities take the better students, that’s why nearly all students complete their studies. The normal course of study lasts 3—4 years. Students are not supposed to take a job during the term. Unless their parents are rich, they receive a state grant, which covers most of their expenses, including the cost of accommodation. Quite a lot of students live on campus (or in college) or in rooms nearby.
However, nowadays the government reduces the amount of the students and encourages a system of top-up loans. That’s why quite a lot of students can’t afford to live in college and many more of them are forced to do a part-time job, but this reduces the traditionally high quality of British university education. And, in addition, the number of students from low-income families has been greatly reduced.
There are no great distinctions between different types of universities in Britain. But still there are some categories of them.
First of all, Oxbridge. Oxford and Cambridge were founded in the medieval period. These Universities consist of semi-independent colleges, each of them having its own staff («Fellows»).
The «Fellows» teach the college students either one-to one or in very small groups. This system is unique in the world and known as tutorials in Oxford and supervisions in Cambridge.
Then, Scotish universities. By 1600 Scot-land had 4 universities — Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St. Andrews. St. Andrews resembles Oxbridge very much. In the other three most of the students live at home or find their rooms in town. The process of study at these universities is very close to the continental one. There is less specialization than at Oxbridge.
During the 19th century various institutions of higher education (usually technical ones) were founded in the industrial towns and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Their buildings were of local brick, so they got the name «redbrick» universities. They contrasted chiefly with Oxford and Cambridge. At first, they prepared students for London University degrees, but later they were given the right to award their own degrees. They became universities themselves. Now they accept students from all over the country. These universities are financed by local authority.
One of the developments in education in Britain is certainly the Open University. It was founded in 1971. Some people don’t have an opportunity to study full-time, and this university allows them to study for degree. The university’s courses are taught through television, radio and course books. Its students work individually and with tutors, to whom they send their papers. The students discuss their work at meetings or through correspondence. In summer they attend short courses.

EXERCISES
I. Answer the questions.

1. Do pupils at 16 prefer to continue their education or to find job?
2. How many subjects are studied by pupils in preparation for taking A-level exams?
3. When do pupils take their A-level exams?
4. How do universities select students?
5. Why do all students usually complete their studies?
6. Why has the high quality of British university education been reduced recently?
7. When was the Open University founded?

II. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions.
1. training schemes —
2. on campus —
3. a part-time job —
4. low-income families —
5. staff —
6. «redbrick» universities —

III. Fill in the gaps.
1. At the age of . . . pupils can leave school.
2. Only … of all pupils leave school and look for a job.
3. Those who stay at school study . . . subjects.
4. A-level exams are taken at . . . years old.
5. Universities select students on the basis of exams.
6. By 1986 there were more than . . . universities in Britain.
7. The course of study at universities lasts . . . years.
8. The government encourages a system of . . . loans.
9. Oxford and Cambridge were founded in the . . . period.
10. The unique system of education in Britain is known as … at Oxford and … at Cambridge.
11. One of the developments in education in Britain is ….

Answers
III. 1.16; 2. 1/3; 3. three; 4. 18; 5. A-level results and interview; 6. 40; 7. 3—4 years; 8. “top-up”; 9. Medieval; 10. “tutorials”; “supervisions”; 11. the Open University.

(Великобритания: Тексты для устных ответов и письменных работ на английском языке. Авт.-сост. И. Ю. Баканова)