Primary education in the school of Great Britain lasts for 5 years, however there is a stage of pre-school life, which begins for children at the age of 3 years old. During one or two years, children prepare for school, and then in the primary school for 5 years they learn the first part of the compulsory educational program which lay foundation for future studies.
Education for children
in England on the initial stages involves the study of several subjects. Children
will have to learn the basics of mathematics, history, geography, music, art; the
English language is among the main subjects, too. This first stage of education
is aimed not only at the academic development of children - pupils are actively
engaged in sports, they develop creative skills and abilities, discover
talents. Any primary school today can offer the students a wide range of
additional classes, or electives, as well as sections and coteries.
Secondary education is available to international kids at the age of 11 – 16 years old. State educational institutions prepare children for passing compulsory examinations. Private boarding schools and private day schools, in addition to compulsory academic training, offer sports activities, art electives and much more.
Many high schools in England are specialized: in some, much attention is paid to sports (football, horse riding, rugby, etc.), in others a focus is made on music, fine arts or theatre. As for the academic preparation, it includes a wide range of classical subjects and disciplines, some of which are necessary for schoolchildren for the subsequent pass of the GCSE examination.
In general, the British educational system can be divided into the following levels:
1) Pre-school education: nursery and kindergartens (for children at the age of 2 – 7 years old);
2) Primary education:
3) Secondary school - middle and senior school (for children at the age of 11 – 18 / 19 in senior school):
There are also the so-called Grammar schools: these are middle and senior grades (for the children at the age of 11-18 years old), where children are engaged in a sophisticated, in-depth program, designed for preparation for admission to prestigious universities and higher schools.
Instead of the GCSE certificate, some students prefer to receive the GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification) certificate.
The structure of higher education in the United Kingdom corresponds to the structure adopted under the Bologna Convention:
Students in the United Kingdom also can get a diploma or certificate in shorter timeframes with help of special programs which are designed for 1-2 years of studies. This is also a type of higher education: university courses, which are not designed to obtain a degree.
The degree program or certificate is an excellent opportunity for students who do not plan to build a career in complex scientific fields (such as medicine or law) to start working. You can also choose these courses if you are unsure of your future desired profession: university courses and diploma programs will give you the knowledge base, the foundation, so that later it would be much easier to determine the directions of Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree.
As a matter of fact, in the United Kingdom there is a huge number of professional programs, refresher courses, etc. You can either go to the summer or seasonal program that corresponds to your work profile, get a bachelor's degree in your home country and then enter a university in the United Kingdom to get your master’s degree, or take longer courses (which last for 3-6 months and up to a year) according to your specialization. Another category of courses is offered to the future (or already practicing) teachers: in the United Kingdom they can confirm or upgrade their qualifications, get certification for teaching English as a foreign language, work in Great Britain as a teacher of their native language, and so on. The possibilities are almost limitless!
In the United Kingdom, all schools are conditionally divided into two large blocks - public and private.
Several public schools can always be found in any city or county: enrollment is carried out mainly on a territorial basis – that is, children of families living in the nearest district-diameter are accepted. Also, some members of the family of actual students have some advantage when enrolling: for example, a girl can easily enter a public school where her brother or sister are studying.
Let us briefly mention the types of education in private schools:
Regardless of the fact that private schools do not have a ban on the education of foreign students, it can be very, very difficult to obtain a place in a desired educational institution. The most rated and prestigious primary private boarding schools in the United Kingdom are very tough to enter: it is recommended to get up in the queue almost from the moment of the birth of the child or when he is still in his infancy. Of course, in view of this, we recommend that foreign parents start the process of preparation for enrollment and collecting documents as early as possible.
It is worth mentioning such an unusual type of educational institution, as church (religious) schools. As a rule, such schools enlist children of the members of a local church or a religious community, which is confirmed by a letter of assurance from the priest. The quality of teaching in these schools is traditionally very high; so many parents even prefer to change their religious beliefs in order to provide their child with an excellent primary education.
The cost of studying in an elementary school in the UK primarily depends on the type of institution chosen. Public schools set relatively democratic prices – 3 000 – 4 000 GBP for the academic year and even less: much depends on the location of the institution and its national and world rankings.
Private boarding schools and private day schools are much more expensive. The most prestigious options (for example, Queen Ethelburga's College and Clayesmore school) will cost you 8 000 – 12 000 GBP for an academic trimester, and there are three such trimesters in the academic year). There are more affordable schools: King's School Rochester sets the price at around 7 000 GBP per trimester, Barnard Castle School - from 6 500 GBP per trimester. In addition, these amounts already include a large number of services: accommodation and meals in comfortable residences, not only an educational program, but also a leisure program, all kinds of entertainment and coteries for children, use of the entire school infrastructure, the Internet, library resources, etc. Note that the additional costs that are not included in the prices above are traditionally the following: