Education in England
Overview
Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education
Department for Education
The Department for Education is a department of the UK government responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education....

 and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is a ministerial department of the United Kingdom Government created on 5 June 2009 by the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform .-Ministers:The BIS...

. Local authorities (LAs) take responsibility for implementing policy for public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 and state schools at a regional level.

Full-time education is compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 16. Students may then continue their secondary studies for a further two years (sixth form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

), leading most typically to A-level
GCE Advanced Level
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, commonly referred to as an A-level, is a qualification offered by education institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, and the Cayman Islands...

 qualifications, although other qualifications and courses exist, including Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications, the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U is a new UK qualification from University of Cambridge International Examinations that is an alternative to the current A Level qualification, which is considered by some to have become devalued...

.
Encyclopedia
Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education
Department for Education
The Department for Education is a department of the UK government responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education....

 and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is a ministerial department of the United Kingdom Government created on 5 June 2009 by the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform .-Ministers:The BIS...

. Local authorities (LAs) take responsibility for implementing policy for public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 and state schools at a regional level.

Full-time education is compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 16. Students may then continue their secondary studies for a further two years (sixth form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

), leading most typically to A-level
GCE Advanced Level
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, commonly referred to as an A-level, is a qualification offered by education institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, and the Cayman Islands...

 qualifications, although other qualifications and courses exist, including Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications, the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U is a new UK qualification from University of Cambridge International Examinations that is an alternative to the current A Level qualification, which is considered by some to have become devalued...

. The leaving age for compulsory education was raised to 18 by the Education and Skills Act 2008
Education and Skills Act 2008
The Education and Skills Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that raised the minimum age at which a person can leave education or training to eighteen...

. The change will take effect in 2013 for 16-year-olds and 2015 for 17-year-olds. State-provided schooling and sixth form education is free of charge to students. England also has a tradition of independent schooling
Independent school (UK)
An independent school is a school that is not financed through the taxation system by local or national government and is instead funded by private sources, predominantly in the form of tuition charges, gifts and long-term charitable endowments, and so is not subject to the conditions imposed by...

, but parents may choose to educate their children by any suitable means.

Higher education typically begins with a 3-year bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

. Postgraduate degrees include master's degrees
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

, either taught or by research, and the doctorate, a research degree that usually takes at least three years. Universities require a Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 in order to issue degrees, and all but one are financed by the state via tuition fees, which are increasing in size for both home and European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 students.

Primary and secondary education

The school year begins on 1 September (or 1 August if a term starts in August). Education is compulsory for all children from their fifth birthday to the last Friday in June of the school year in which they turn 16. This will be raised in 2013 to the year in which they turn 17 and in 2015 to the year in which they turn 18.

The state-funded school system

State-run schools and colleges are financed through national tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

ation, and take pupils free of charge between the ages of 3 and 18. The schools may levy charges for activities such as swimming, theatre visits and field trips, provided the charges are voluntary, thus ensuring that those who cannot afford to pay are allowed to participate in such events. Approximately 93% of English schoolchildren attend such schools.

A significant minority of state-funded schools are faith school
Faith school
A faith school is a British school teaching a general curriculum but with a particular religious character or has formal links with a religious organisation. It is distinct from an institution mainly or wholly teaching religion and related subjects...

s, which are attached to religious groups, most often the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 or the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

.
There is also a small number of state-funded boarding schools, which typically charge for board but not tuition. However, the charges are often substantial. For example, Wymondham College charged £8,100 per annum in 2010.

Nearly 90% of state-funded secondary schools are specialist school
Specialist school
The specialist schools programme was a UK government initiative which encouraged secondary schools in England to specialise in certain areas of the curriculum to boost achievement. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust was responsible for the delivery of the programme...

s, receiving extra funding to develop one or more subjects in which the school specialises.

School years

The table below describes the most common patterns for schooling in the state sector in England. In most cases progression from one year group to another is based purely on chronological age, although it is possible in some circumstances for a student to repeat or skip a year. Repetition may be due to a lack of attendance, for example from a long illness, and especially in Years requiring standard tests. A child significantly more advanced than their classmates may be forwarded one or more years.
Age on 31 August (before school year) Year Curriculum stage Schools
3 Nursery
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

 
Foundation Stage
Foundation Stage
Foundation Stage is the British government label for education of pupils aged 3 to 5 in England. In Northern Ireland, it is also used to refer to the first two years of compulsory education for pupils aged 4 to 6.-England:...

Nursery school
Nursery school
A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

4 Reception
Reception (school)
Reception or Primary 1 or FS2 is the first year of primary school in the United Kingdom and South Australia. It is preceded by nursery and is followed by Year One in England and Wales or Primary 2 in Northern Ireland and Scotland.Pupils in Reception are usually aged between four and five...

Infant school
Infant school
An Infant school is a term used primarily in the United Kingdom for school for children between the ages of four and seven years. It is usually a small school serving a particular locality....

Primary school First school
First School
First school and lower school are terms used in some areas of the United Kingdom to describe the first stage of primary education. Some English Local Education Authorities have introduced First Schools since the 1960s...

5 Year 1  Key Stage 1
Key Stage 1
Key Stage 1 is the legal term for the two years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 1 and Year 2, when pupils are aged between 5 and 7. This Key Stage normally covers pupils during infant school, although in some cases this might form part of a first or...

6 Year 2
7 Year 3  Key Stage 2
Key Stage 2
Key Stage 2 is the legal term for the four years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6, when pupils are aged between 7 and 11. The term is applied differently in Northern Ireland where it refers to pupils in Year 5, Year 6 and...

Junior school
Junior school
A junior school is a type of school which caters for children, often between the ages of 7 and 11.-Australia:In Australia, a junior school is usually a part of a private school that educates children between the ages of 5 and 12....

8 Year 4
9 Year 5
Year 5
Year 5 can refer to:*The year 5 AD of the Gregorian calendar*Year Five, the fifth year of education in UK schools...

Middle school
10 Year 6
11 Year 7  Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 is the legal term for the three years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, when pupils are aged between 11 and 14...

Secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

Secondary school
with sixth form
12 Year 8
13 Year 9 Upper school
Upper school
Upper Schools tend to be schools within secondary education. Outside England, the term normally refers to a section of a larger school. There is some variation in the use of the term in England.-State Maintained Schools:...

 or
High school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

14 Year 10  Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4
Key Stage 4 is the legal term for the two years of school education which incorporate GCSEs, and other exams, in maintained schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland—normally known as Year 10 and Year 11 in England and Wales, and Year 11 and Year 12 in Northern Ireland, when pupils are...

 / GCSE
General Certificate of Secondary Education
The General Certificate of Secondary Education is an academic qualification awarded in a specified subject, generally taken in a number of subjects by students aged 14–16 in secondary education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is equivalent to a Level 2 and Level 1 in Key Skills...

, etc.
15 Year 11
16 Year 12 (Lower Sixth) Sixth form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

 / A level
GCE Advanced Level
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, commonly referred to as an A-level, is a qualification offered by education institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, and the Cayman Islands...

, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U is a new UK qualification from University of Cambridge International Examinations that is an alternative to the current A Level qualification, which is considered by some to have become devalued...

, etc.
College
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

/Sixth Form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

17 Year 13 (Upper Sixth)

In the vast majority of cases, pupils progress from primary to secondary levels at age 11; in some areas either or both of the primary and secondary levels are further subdivided.
A few areas have three-tier education
Three-tier education
Three-tier education refers to those structures of schooling, which exist in some parts of England, where pupils are taught in three distinct school types. A similar experiment was also trialled in Scotland....

 systems with an intermediate middle level from age 9 to 13.

State-funded nursery education is available from the age of 3, and may be full-time or part-time.
If registered with a state school, attendance is compulsory beginning with the term following the child's fifth birthday. Children can be enrolled in the reception year in September of that school year, thus beginning school at age 4 or 4.5. Unless the student chooses to stay within the education system, compulsory school attendance ends on the last Friday in June during the academic year in which a student attains the age of 16.

Under the National Curriculum, all pupils undergo National Curriculum Tests
National Curriculum assessment
National Curriculum assessments are a series of educational assessments, colloquially known as Sats or SATs, used to assess the attainment of children attending maintained schools in England...

 (NCTs, commonly still referred to by their previous name of Standard Attainment Tests, or SATs) towards the ends of Key Stage 2 in the core subjects of Literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

, Numeracy
Numeracy
Numeracy is the ability to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts. A numerically literate person can manage and respond to the mathematical demands of life...

 and Science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, but not in the foundation subjects such as Geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

, History
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 and Information & Communication Technology where individual teacher assessment is used instead. Pupils normally take GCSE
General Certificate of Secondary Education
The General Certificate of Secondary Education is an academic qualification awarded in a specified subject, generally taken in a number of subjects by students aged 14–16 in secondary education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is equivalent to a Level 2 and Level 1 in Key Skills...

 exams in the last two years of Key Stage 4, but may also choose to work towards the attainment of alternative qualifications, such as the GNVQ.
Former tests at the end of Key Stage 3 were abandoned after the 2008 tests, where severe problems emerged concerning the marking procedures. Now at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 3, progress is examined via individual teacher assessment against the National Curriculum Attainment Targets for all subjects.
Test results for schools are published, and are an important measure of their performance.

Years 12 and 13 are often referred to as "lower sixth form" and "upper sixth form" respectively, reflecting their distinct, voluntary nature as the A-level
GCE Advanced Level
The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, commonly referred to as an A-level, is a qualification offered by education institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, and the Cayman Islands...

 years. While most secondary schools enter their pupils for A-levels, some state schools have joined the independent sector in offering the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U
Cambridge Pre-U is a new UK qualification from University of Cambridge International Examinations that is an alternative to the current A Level qualification, which is considered by some to have become devalued...

 qualifications instead.
Some independent schools still refer to Years 7 to 11 as "first form" to "fifth form", reflecting earlier usage.
Historically, this arose from the system in public schools
Public School (UK)
A public school, in common British usage, is a school that is neither administered nor financed by the state or from taxpayer contributions, and is instead funded by a combination of endowments, tuition fees and charitable contributions, usually existing as a non profit-making charitable trust...

, where all forms were divided into Lower, Upper, and sometimes Middle sections. Year 7 is equivalent to "Upper Third Form", Year 8 would have been known as "Lower Fourth", and so on. Some independent schools still employ this method of labelling Year groups.

Curriculum

All maintained schools in England are required to follow the National Curriculum, which is made up of twelve subjects.
The core subjects—English
English studies
English studies is an academic discipline that includes the study of literatures written in the English language , English linguistics English studies is an academic discipline that includes the study of literatures written in the English language (including literatures from the U.K., U.S.,...

, Mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and Science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

—are compulsory for all students aged 5 to 16. A range of other subjects, known as foundation subjects, are compulsory at one or more Key Stages
Key Stage
A Key Stage is a stage of the state education system in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the British Territory of Gibraltar setting the educational knowledge expected of students at various ages...

:
  • Art & Design
    Art education
    Art education is the area of learning that is based upon the visual, tangible arts—drawing, painting, sculpture, and design in jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics, etc. and design applied to more practical fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings...

  • Citizenship
    Citizenship education
    There are two very different kinds of citizenship education,The first is education intended to prepare noncitizens to become legally and socially accepted as citizens...

  • Design & Technology
  • Geography
    Geography
    Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

  • History
    History
    History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Modern Foreign Languages
    Language education
    Language education is the teaching and learning of a foreign or second language. Language education is a branch of applied linguistics.- Need for language education :...

  • Music
    Music education
    Music education is a field of study associated with the teaching and learning of music. It touches on all domains of learning, including the psychomotor domain , the cognitive domain , and, in particular and significant ways,the affective domain, including music appreciation and sensitivity...

  • Physical Education
    Physical education
    Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....



In addition, other subjects with a non-statutory programme of study in the National Curriculum are also taught, including Religious education
Religious education
In secular usage, religious education is the teaching of a particular religion and its varied aspects —its beliefs, doctrines, rituals, customs, rites, and personal roles...

 in all Key Stages, Sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 from Key Stage 2, and Career education and Work-related learning in Key Stages 3 and 4.
Religious education within community schools may be withdrawn for individual pupils with parental consent. Similarly, parents of children in community schools may choose to opt their child out of some or all sex education lessons.

School governance

Almost all state-funded schools in England are maintained schools, which receive their funding from local authorities, and are required to follow the National Curriculum. In such schools, all teachers are employed under the nationally agreed School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document
School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document
The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document is an annually-published document which forms a part of the contract of all teachers and head teachers in maintained schools in England and Wales...

.

Since 1998, there have been 4 main types of maintained school in England:
  • community school
    Community school
    The term "community school" refers to types of publicly funded school in England, Wales, the Republic of Ireland, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to a school that serves as both an educational institution and a centre of community life. A community school is both a place and a...

    s (formerly county schools), in which the local authority employs the schools' staff, owns the schools' lands and buildings, and has primary responsibility for admissions.

  • voluntary controlled school
    Voluntary controlled school
    A voluntary controlled school is a state-funded school in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in which a foundation or trust has some formal influence in the running of the school...

    s, which are almost always church schools, with the lands and buildings often owned by a charitable foundation. However, the local authority employs the schools' staff and has primary responsibility for admissions.
  • voluntary aided school
    Voluntary aided school
    A voluntary aided school is a state-funded school in England and Wales in which a foundation or trust owns the school buildings, contributes to building costs and has a substantial influence in the running of the school...

    s, linked to a variety of organisations. They can be faith schools (often the Church of England
    Church of England
    The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

     or the Roman Catholic Church
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

    ), or non-denominational schools, such as those linked to London Livery Companies. The charitable foundation contributes towards the capital costs of the school, and appoints a majority of the school governors
    School governors
    In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, school governors are members of a school's Governing Body. In state schools they have responsibility for raising school standards through their three key roles of setting strategic direction, ensuring accountability and acting as a critical friend...

    . The governing body employs the staff and has primary responsibility for admissions.
  • foundation school
    Foundation school
    In England and Wales, a foundation school is a state-funded school in which the governing body has greater freedom in the running of the school than in community schools....

    s, in which the governing body employs the staff and has primary responsibility for admissions. School land and buildings are owned by the governing body or by a charitable foundation. The Foundation appoints a minority of governors. Many of these schools were formerly grant maintained schools. In 2005 the Labour government proposed allowing all schools to become Foundation schools if they wished.


There are also a smaller number of City Technology College
City Technology College
In England, a City Technology College is a state-funded all-ability secondary school that charges no fees but is independent of local authority control, being overseen directly by the Department for Education....

s and academies, which are secondary schools funded and monitored directly by the Department for Education. Academies can also accept funding from private sources such as individuals or companies. The current government is greatly expanding the academy scheme by encouraging many schools to convert to Academy status.

All state-funded schools are regularly inspected by the Office for Standards in Education
Office for Standards in Education
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools In England ....

, often known simply as Ofsted. Ofsted publish reports on the quality of education at a particular school on a regular basis.
Schools judged by Ofsted to be providing an inadequate standard of education may be subject to special measures
Special measures
Special measures is a status applied by Ofsted and Estyn, the schools inspection agencies, to schools in England and Wales, respectively, when it considers that they fail to supply an acceptable level of education and appear to lack the leadership capacity necessary to secure improvements...

, which could include replacing the governing body and senior staff.

Secondary schools by intake

English secondary schools are mostly comprehensive
Comprehensive school
A comprehensive school is a state school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude. This is in contrast to the selective school system, where admission is restricted on the basis of a selection criteria. The term is commonly used in relation to the United...

, except in a few areas that retain a form of the previous selective system (the Tripartite System
Tripartite System
The Tripartite System was the arrangement of state funded secondary education between 1944 and the 1970s in England and Wales, and from 1947 to 2009 in Northern Ireland....

), with students selected for grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 by the eleven plus exam.
There are also a number of isolated fully selective grammar schools, and a few dozen partially selective school
Partially selective school (England)
In England, a partially selective school is one of a few dozen state-funded secondary schools that select a proportion of their intake by ability or aptitude, permitted as a continuation of arrangements that existed prior to 1997....

s.
Specialist schools may also select up to 10% of their intake for aptitude in the specialism, though relatively few of them have taken up this option.
The intake of comprehensive schools can vary widely, especially in urban areas with several local schools.

Sir Peter Newsam
Peter Newsam
Sir Peter A. Newsam is an English educationist.Newsam was born at Gloucester and educated at the Dragon School and Clifton College. He then went to Queen's College, Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics...

, Chief Schools Adjudicator 1999–2002, has argued that English schools can be divided into 8 types (with some overlap), based on the ability range of their intake:
  1. "super-selective": almost all of the intake from the top 10%. These are the few highly selective grammar schools that dominate school performance tables.
  2. "selective": almost all of the intake from the top 25%. These include grammar schools in areas where the Tripartite system survives.
  3. "comprehensive (plus)": admit children of all abilities, but concentrated in the top 50%. These include partially selective schools and a few high-status faith school
    Faith school
    A faith school is a British school teaching a general curriculum but with a particular religious character or has formal links with a religious organisation. It is distinct from an institution mainly or wholly teaching religion and related subjects...

    s in areas without selection.
  4. comprehensive: intake with an ability distribution matching the population. These schools are most common in rural areas and small towns with no nearby selection, but a few occur in urban areas.
  5. "comprehensive (minus)": admit children of all abilities, but with few in the top 25%. These include comprehensive schools with nearby selective schools "skimming" the intake.
  6. secondary modern: hardly any of the intake in the top 25%, but an even distribution of the rest. These include non-selective schools in areas where the Tripartite system survives.
  7. "secondary modern (minus)": no pupils in the top 25% and 10–15% in the next 25%. These schools are most common in urban areas where alternatives of types 1–5 are available.
  8. "sub-secondary modern": intake heavily weighted toward the low end of the ability range.

This ranking is reflected in performance tables, and thus the schools' attractiveness to parents. Thus, although schools may use the phrase 'comprehensive' in their prospectus or name, the schools at the higher end of the spectrum are not comprehensive in intake. Indeed, the variation in the social groupings in school intake, and the differences in academic performance, are enormous.

Independent schools

Approximately 7% of schoolchildren in England attend privately run independent schools, commonly called "private schools", whilst private sixth forms are attended by around 18% of students. Independent schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum, and their teachers are not required or regulated by law to have official teaching qualifications. Some of the earliest established independent schools are known for historical reasons as "public schools".

Education at independent schools is usually chargeable. Such schools, some of which are boarding schools, cover primary and/or secondary education and charge between £2,500 and £30,000 per year.
Some schools offer scholarships for those with particular skills or aptitudes, or bursaries
Bursary
A bursary is strictly an office for a bursar and his or her staff in a school or college.In modern English usage, the term has become synonymous with "bursary award", a monetary award made by an institution to an individual or a group to assist the development of their education.According to The...

 to allow students from less financially well-off families to attend.

Traditionally, many private schools have been single-sex, but a growing number are now co-educational (mixed-sex). Traditional public schools such as Radley
Radley College
Radley College , founded in 1847, is a British independent school for boys on the edge of the English village of Radley, near to the market town of Abingdon in Oxfordshire, and has become a well-established boarding school...

, Winchester
Winchester College
Winchester College is an independent school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire, the former capital of England. It has existed in its present location for over 600 years and claims the longest unbroken history of any school in England...

, Eton
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 and Harrow
Harrow School
Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

 take boys at 13 years of age. Many students must pass the Common Entrance Exam at 11 or 13 to gain entry into highly selective schools. As in the state sector, there is a hierarchy of independent schools with schools towards the top of the hierarchy attracting applications from the strongest 11- or 13-year-olds. The net effect is one of 'distillation of talent', which may explain their academic success.

Education by means other than schooling

The Education Act requires parents to ensure their children are educated either by attending school or alternative means. Small but increasing numbers of parents are choosing to educate their children by means other than schooling. This style of education is often referred to as Elective Home Education. The education can take a variety of forms, ranging from homeschooling where a school-style curriculum is followed at home, to unschooling
Unschooling
Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum....

, where any semblance of structure in the educational provision is abandoned. Parents do not need permission to educate their own children. There is no requirement for parents to follow the National Curriculum, or to give formal lessons. Parents do not need to be qualified teachers, or to follow school hours and terms. Parents who choose to educate their children outside of school must finance their childrens education themselves.

Further education

Students at both state schools and independent schools typically take GCSE examinations, which mark the end of compulsory education. Above school-leaving age, the independent and state sectors are similarly structured.
In the 16–18 age group, sixth form education is not compulsory at present, although mandatory education until the age of 18 is to be phased in under the Education and Skills Act 2008
Education and Skills Act 2008
The Education and Skills Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that raised the minimum age at which a person can leave education or training to eighteen...

.
This will take effect for 16-year-olds in 2013, and for 17-year-olds in 2015.

Students will typically study in the sixth form of a school, in a separate sixth form college
Sixth form college
A sixth form college is an educational institution in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belize, Hong Kong or Malta where students aged 16 to 18 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels, or school-level qualifications such as GCSEs. In Singapore and India, this is...

, or in a further education college.
These courses can also be studied by adults over 18. This sector is referred to as Further Education
Further education
Further education is a term mainly used in connection with education in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is post-compulsory education , that is distinct from the education offered in universities...

. Some 16-18 students will be encouraged to study Key Skills
Key Skills Qualification
The Key Skills Qualification is a frequently required component of 14-19 education in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The aim of Key Skills is to encourage learners to develop and demonstrate their skills as well as learn how to select and apply skills in ways that are appropriate to their...

 in Communication, Application of Number, and Information Technology at this time.

Higher education


Students normally enter university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 from age 18 onwards, and study for an academic degree
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

. Historically, all undergraduate education outside the private University of Buckingham
University of Buckingham
The University of Buckingham is an independent, non-sectarian, research and teaching university located in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, England, on the banks of the River Great Ouse. It was originally founded as Buckingham University College in the 1970s and received its Royal Charter from the...

 was largely state-financed, with a small contribution from top-up fees
Top-up fees
Tuition fees were first introduced across the entire United Kingdom in September 1998 as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate certificate students at universities, with students being required to pay up to £1,000 a year for tuition...

, however fees of up to £9,000 per annum will be charged from October 2012. There is a distinct hierarchy among universities, with the Russell Group
Russell Group
The Russell Group is a collaboration of twenty UK universities that together receive two-thirds of research grant and contract funding in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1994 to represent their interests to the government, parliament and other similar bodies...

 containing most of the country's more prestigious, research-led and research-focused universities. The state does not control university syllabuses, but it does influence admission procedures through the Office For Fair Access
Office for Fair Access
The Office for Fair Access is a non-departmental public body responsible for ensuring that any university or higher education institution in England which plans to charge variable tuition fees starting with the academic year 2006/7 has in place an acceptable plan to promote equitable access among...

 (Offa), which approves and monitors access agreements to safeguard and promote fair access to higher education. Unlike most degrees, the state still has control over teacher training
Teacher education
Teacher education refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community....

 courses, and uses its Ofsted
Ofsted
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools In England ....

 inspectors to maintain standards.

The typical first degree
First Degree
First Degree was a 9 part drama series made by BBC Wales which aired in 2002. The series followed the lives, trials and tribulations of students in the fictional Bay College, one of several hi-tech media schools owned and run by an enigmatic entrepreneur based in Sacramento, California known only...

 offered at English universities is the bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

, and usually lasts for three years. Many institutions now offer an undergraduate master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 as a first degree, which typically lasts for four years. During a first degree students are known as undergraduates. The difference in fees between undergraduate and traditional postgraduate master's degrees (and the possibility of securing LEA funding for the former) makes taking an undergraduate master's degree as a first degree
First Degree
First Degree was a 9 part drama series made by BBC Wales which aired in 2002. The series followed the lives, trials and tribulations of students in the fictional Bay College, one of several hi-tech media schools owned and run by an enigmatic entrepreneur based in Sacramento, California known only...

 a more attractive option, although the novelty of undergraduate master's degrees means that the relative educational merit of the two is currently unclear.

Some universities offer a vocationally based foundation degree
Foundation degree
The Foundation Degree is a vocational qualification introduced by the government of the United Kingdom in September 2001, which is available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

, typically two years in length for those students who hope to continue on to a first degree
First Degree
First Degree was a 9 part drama series made by BBC Wales which aired in 2002. The series followed the lives, trials and tribulations of students in the fictional Bay College, one of several hi-tech media schools owned and run by an enigmatic entrepreneur based in Sacramento, California known only...

 but wish to remain in employment.

Postgraduate education

Students who have completed a first degree
First Degree
First Degree was a 9 part drama series made by BBC Wales which aired in 2002. The series followed the lives, trials and tribulations of students in the fictional Bay College, one of several hi-tech media schools owned and run by an enigmatic entrepreneur based in Sacramento, California known only...

 are eligible to undertake a postgraduate degree, which might be a:
  • Master's degree
    Master's degree
    A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

     (typically taken in one year, though research-based master's degrees may last for two)
  • Doctorate
    Doctorate
    A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

     (typically taken in three years)


Postgraduate education is not automatically financed by the state, and so admissions are highly competitive.

Specialist qualifications

  • Education: Postgraduate Certificate in Education
    Postgraduate Certificate in Education
    The Postgraduate Certificate in Education is a one-year course in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for undergraduate degree holders that allows them to train to be a teacher....

     (PGCE), Certificate in Education
    Certificate in Education
    The Certificate in Education is a professional qualification for teachers in the United Kingdom. There have been two incarnations of the Cert Ed over the years.-New Cert Ed:...

     (Cert Ed), City and Guilds of London Institute
    City and Guilds of London Institute
    The City and Guilds of London Institute is a leading United Kingdom vocational education organisation. City & Guilds offers more than 500 qualifications over the whole range of industry sectors through 8500 colleges and training providers in 81 countries worldwide...

     (C&G), or Bachelor of Education
    Bachelor of Education
    A Bachelor of Education is an undergraduate academic degree which qualifies the graduate as a teacher in schools.-North America:...

     (BA or BEd), most of which also incorporate Qualified Teacher Status
    Qualified Teacher Status
    Qualified Teacher Status is required in England and Wales to become, and continue being, a teacher of children in the state and special education sectors...

     (QTS).
  • Law: Bachelor of Laws
    Bachelor of Laws
    The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

     (LLB).
  • Medicine: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, studied at medical school
    Medical school (United Kingdom)
    In the United Kingdom, medical school generally refers to a department within a university which is involved in the education of future medical practitioners...

  • Business: Master of Business Administration
    Master of Business Administration
    The Master of Business Administration is a :master's degree in business administration, which attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines. The MBA designation originated in the United States, emerging from the late 19th century as the country industrialized and companies sought out...

     (MBA).
  • Psychology: Doctor of Educational Psychology
    Educational psychology
    Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing...

     (D.Ed.Ch.Psychol) or Clinical Psychology
    Clinical psychology
    Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development...

     (D.Clin.Psych.).

Fees

In the academic year 2011-2012, most undergraduates paid fees that were set at a maximum of £3,375 per annum. These fees are repayable after graduation, contingent on attaining a certain level of income, with the state paying all fees for students from the poorest backgrounds. UK students are generally entitled to student loan
Student loan
A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education...

s for maintenance. Undergraduates admitted for the academic year 2012-2013 will pay tuition fees set at a maximum of up to £9,000 per annum, with most universities charging over £6,000 per annum, and other higher education providers charging less.

Postgraduate fees vary but are generally more than undergraduate fees, depending on the degree and university. There are numerous bursaries (awarded to low income applicants) to offset undergraduate fees and, for postgraduates, full scholarships are available for most subjects, and are usually awarded competitively.

Different arrangements will apply to English students studying in Scotland
Education in Scotland
Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from the other countries of the United Kingdom...

, and to Scottish
Education in Scotland
Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from the other countries of the United Kingdom...

 and Welsh students studying in England. Students from outside o locomòbil the UK and the EU attending English universities are charged differing amo unts, often in the region of £5,000 - £20,000 per annum for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The actual amount differs by institution and subject, with the lab based subjects charging a greater amount.

Adult education

Adult education
Adult education
Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. Adult education takes place in the workplace, through 'extension' school or 'school of continuing education' . Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers...

, continuing education
Continuing education
Continuing education is an all-encompassing term within a broad spectrum of post-secondary learning activities and programs. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada...

 or lifelong learning
Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning is the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. It occurs through experiences encountered in the course of a lifetime...

 is offered to students of all ages. This can include the vocational qualifications mentioned above, and also:
  • One or two year access course
    Access course
    The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a qualification which prepares students - usually mature students, although the minimum age to be able to study for an access diploma is actually nineteen - for study as an undergraduate at university...

    s, to allow adults without suitable qualifications access to university.
  • The Open University
    Open University
    The Open University is a distance learning and research university founded by Royal Charter in the United Kingdom...

     runs undergraduate and postgraduate distance learning programmes.
  • The Workers' Educational Association
    Workers' Educational Association
    The Workers’ Educational Association seeks to provide access to education and lifelong learning for adults from all backgrounds, and in particular those who have previously missed out on education. The International Federation of Workers Education Associations has consultative status to UNESCO...

     offers large number of semi-recreational courses, with or without qualifications, made available by Local Education Authorities under the guise of Adult Education. Courses are available in a wide variety of areas, such as holiday languages, crafts and yacht navigation.

Progression

2007 statistics: Percentage of population aged 19-64 who have progressed to each level:
  • National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2 and above
    National Qualifications Framework
    The National Qualifications Framework is a credit transfer system developed for qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland....

    : 70.7% (highest among 25-29 y/o - 76.9%)
  • NQF Level 3 and above
    National Qualifications Framework
    The National Qualifications Framework is a credit transfer system developed for qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland....

    : 50.6% (highest among 25-29 y/o - 57.7%)
  • NQF Level 4 and above
    National Qualifications Framework
    The National Qualifications Framework is a credit transfer system developed for qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland....

    : 30.9% (highest among 30-34 y/o - 39.1%)

Criticism

The Confederation of British Industry
Confederation of British Industry
The Confederation of British Industry is a British not for profit organisation incorporated by Royal charter which promotes the interests of its members, some 200,000 British businesses, a figure which includes some 80% of FTSE 100 companies and around 50% of FTSE 350 companies.-Role:The CBI works...

 is complaining of falling academic standards. Employers often have problems hiring young people who are literate
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 and numerate
Numeracy
Numeracy is the ability to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts. A numerically literate person can manage and respond to the mathematical demands of life...

, and who have good employability skills, such as problem solving
Problem solving
Problem solving is a mental process and is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping. Consideredthe most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of...

, teamwork
Teamwork
Teamwork is action performed by a team towards a common goal. A team consists of more than one person, each of whom typically has different responsibilities....

ing and time management
Time management
Time management is the act or process of exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity. Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific...

. As a result, employers either have to pay for employees' remedial education
Remedial education
Postsecondary remedial education is a large and growing segment of higher education in the United States...

, or they must hire foreign candidates.

Katharine Birbalsingh
Katharine Birbalsingh
Katharine Birbalsingh is a British teacher, blogger and writer who writes about the British education system.She was born in New Zealand to West Indian parents and grew up in Canada. She was then educated at Oxford where she read French and Philosophy...

 has written of the problems she perceives in the English education system. She cites unruly and emotionally disturbed pupils, difficulty for a teacher in getting a class to listen, broken homes, bad teachers who cannot be dismissed and government policies encouraging "soft" subjects. Birbalsingh has visited schools in Jamaica and India where pupils are desperate to gain the kind of education to which pupils (and their parents) in her own school were indifferent. She was a deputy head teacher in south London until she spoke at a Conservative Party Conference in 2010 and was immediately sacked. Frank Chalk, who taught at an inner city school for ten years before resigning in frustration, makes similar claims.

A survey of 2000 teacher
Teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

s by The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

in 2011 cited a recurring reason for not enjoying the job. A lack of trust was referred to by respondents in the survey's "free text" area for extra comments, and related to senior staff, parents and governments. Writing about her own reasons for leaving teaching, a contributing editor to the newspaper's Guardian Teacher Network described the realisation of needing to leave the profession as having slowly crept up on her. Being a mature entrant, she questioned things in her aspiration to improve education and was reluctant to "be moulded into a standard shape".

See also

  • School uniforms in England
    School uniforms in England
    School uniforms in England were first introduced on a large scale during the reign of King Henry VIII. The uniforms of the time were referred as "bluecoats", as they consisted of long trench-coat-style jackets dyed blue. Blue was the cheapest available dye and showed humility amongst all children...

  • Education by country
  • Education in Wales
    Education in Wales
    Education in Wales differs in certain respects from education elsewhere in the United Kingdom. For example, a significant number of students all over Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of Welsh: in 2008/09, 22 per cent of classes in maintained primary schools used Welsh...

  • Education in Scotland
    Education in Scotland
    Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from the other countries of the United Kingdom...

  • List of schools in England
  • National Union of Students (United Kingdom)
  • City Learning Centre
    City Learning Centre
    A City Learning Centre is a facility in the United Kingdom which provides state-of-the-art ICT-based learning opportunities for the pupils at the host school, for pupils at a network of surrounding schools and for the wider community...

  • Science Learning Centres
    Science Learning Centres
    Science Learning Centres are a UK Government initiative to address the need for improved science education and development for teachers.-Origins:...

  • History of education in England
    History of education in England
    The history of education in England can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon settlement of England, or even back to the Roman occupation. During the Middle Ages schools were established to teach Latin grammar, while apprenticeship was the main way to enter practical occupations. Two universities were...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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