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.
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Education in Britain
Parliament is the most important authority in Britain. Parliament first met in the 13th century. Britain does not have a written constitution, but a set of laws. In 1689 Mary II and William П1 became the first constitutional monarchs. They could rule only with the support of the Parliament. Technically Parliament is made up of three parts: The Monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
The continuity of the English monarchy has been interrupted only once during the Cromwell republic. Succession to the throne is hereditary but only for Protestants in the direct line of descent. Formally the monarch has a number of roles. The monarch is expected to be politically neutral, and should not make political decisions. Nevertheless, the monarch still performs some important executive and legislative duties including opening and dissolving Parliament, signing bills passed by both Houses and fulfilling international duties as head of state. The present sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II who was crowned in Westminster Abbey in 1953.
Northern Ireland, also known as Ulster, is still a part of the United Kingdom. It is made up of six countries: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Tyrone. One third of the population lives in and around the capital, Belfast. Belfast is also the most important port and commercial and industrial centre. Some parts of the territory, those that are not close to the capital, have remained mainly rural.
The Irish population is divided into two groups: the Protestants and the Catholics. The Protestants are of British origin. They are descendants of British settlers who came to Ireland in the XVIth and XVIIth centuries, during and after the Reformation. The Catholics are mostly natives of Ireland.
Wales is the country in the west of Great Britain. It is mainly a mountainous land with a chiefly agricultural economy and an industrial and coal-mining area in the south. The landscape is beautiful. Many English people move to Wales when they retire.
Cardiff, a large city in the south, was chosen as the capital of Wales in 1955, mainly because of its size. Since 1536, Wales has been governed by England and the heir to the throne of England has the title of Prince of Wales, but Welsh people have strong sense of identity. There is a Welsh National party which wants independence from the United Kingdom and the Welsh language is still used in certain parts of the country.
Scotland is a country in the north of Great Britain. It is a part of the United Kingdom. Scotland is divided into three natural regions: the Southern Uplands, the Central Lowlands and the Highlands and islands. A lot of places in Scotland are a natural paradise, still untouched by man.
The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh, well known for its castle. Glasgow is the industrial capital of Scotland. It is the third largest city in Great Britain. The typical products of
Scotland are timber, whisky, salmon. Golf is the Scottish natural sport and it seems to have originated in this country.
England is the largest and the richest country of Great Britain. The capital of England is London but there are other large industrial cities, such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other famous and interesting cities such as York, Chester, Oxford and Cambridge.
Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric places in the world. This ancient circle of stones stands in Southwest England. It measures 80 metres across and made with massive blocks of stone up to four metres high. Why it was built is a mystery.
Not far from Stonehenge stands Salisbury Cathedral. It is a splendid example of an English Gothic Cathedral; inside there is one of four copies of Magna Charta and the oldest clock in England.
The United Kingdom.
The official name of the country we usually call «England» and occasionally «Great Britain» is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is situated on the group of islands lying just off the mainland of north-western Europe. The British Isles include Great Britain, Ireland and a number of smaller islands. The total area of the British Isles is 325000 square km.
Many ages ago the British Isles formed a part of the continent. The rocky highlands of Scotland, for example, resemble the Norwegian coast. Another evidence that the islands were the part of the continent is the shallow ness of the water between them and the mainland.