Schooling in Britain for foreign students - the main facts
In accordance with British law, students are required to attend the best schools in England between the ages of 5 and 16. However, the predominant number of children become students at an earlier age, namely at 3 years old, continuing their education until they reach the age of 18, that is, at the time of admission to a British university. According to statistics, 9 out of 10 students are studied in leading schools that are part of the state educational system, and which are funded from the budget of the government. As for the rest of the students, they decide to study in elite private schools. A division of British schools is foreseen in terms of the age of students, which leads to some variations in the names of educational institutions.
So, the British educational program includes the following educational institutions:
- Preschool educational institutions whose target audience is children aged 3 to 4 years
- Primary schools accepting students from 4 to 11 years old
- Secondary schools for students aged 11 to 18
- Colleges and universities, which can be entered at the end of high school.
Schooling in Britain - Public School System
In the predominant number of public schools, in particular primary schools, mixed classes have been created in which both boys and girls are studied. These schools in England can be non-confessional, and at the same time they can and belong to one of the faiths, in particular, Catholic schools, schools of the Anglican church, Jewish schools, etc. It is worth noting that all public elementary schools in England must meet the requirements of the British educational program, which is approved by the government, while at the same time preparing students for the test at different stages of education.
Regardless of nationality, every child from 5 to 16 years old has the right to attend a prestigious public school in Britain at the time his parents are in the UK on the basis of a long-term visa. That is, it can be any visa whose validity period exceeds 6 months, namely a work, student or business visa. If the child’s parents are outside the British territory, a foreign student under 16 years of age can receive advanced school education in Britain only in private boarding schools.
Schooling in Britain - a system of private schools
Private ranking schools in England practice both a separate and a joint educational format. When compared with British public schools, private schools in England are given the opportunity to approve their own educational programs and make independent decisions regarding the students' test for compliance with the national education program. As practice shows, the number of British schools is growing, which does not make a choice regarding teaching in the framework of the national educational program, thereby meaning that foreign students in the walls of elite private schools in England are studying in the framework of various educational programs. Thus, the developed education programs are not overloaded with the constant writing of various tests, and also do not establish restrictions on compliance with the requirements of the education program.
In addition, compared to UK public elementary schools, the number of students in private UK schools does not exceed 15 children. In this connection, experienced teachers pay attention to each student and apply an individual approach to teaching.
Prestigious private schools in England are divided into full-time educational institutions and five-day boarding schools, in the walls of which foreign students live on school territory for 5 days a week, after which they leave for the weekend. There are also boarding houses that provide for students to be sent home only during the school holidays. To become a student of a five-day boarding school or a British boarding school, it is necessary to reach 11 years of age, however, sometimes It can be foreign students aged 7-9 years.
Organization of the educational process in the best schools in England
There is a division of the school year into 3 semesters, namely autumn, spring and summer. As part of the school year, there are vacations during which students relax. It is worth noting that the British vacation between semesters is quite long, which are called Christmas and Easter. In addition, there are short vacations in the middle of the semester.
The beginning of the school year falls on the first days of September, and the end - in the summer. At the same time, variations in the deadlines for the end of the school year between public and private schools in England are possible. So, the end of the school year in state British schools falls on the 20th of July, while private schools in England have the right to make independent decisions regarding the establishment of the last day of the school year. In this connection, the school year can end on any day, starting from the end of June and ending with the end of July. In addition, in many cases, the management of ranking private schools in Britain decide to extend the Christmas and Easter holidays, in addition, there may be variations at the beginning and end of the holidays in the middle of the semester.
Preschool Education in Britain
At the age of three, English students can begin to receive pre-school education. Preschool classes are an analogue of kindergarten, in which the emphasis is on group work, creative activity, and themed games are also provided. In the British preschool class, the kid spends only 3 hours a day, namely from 9 am to 12, or from 12 to 3.
Only children who have reached the age of 3 can receive state pre-school education in England, in connection with which, a child can become a student of the pre-school class, not only at the beginning of the fall semester, but also in the spring, and even in the summer. This difference is due to the date of reaching the age of 3. The requirements, which are approved by local authorities, determine the process of admission to the state preschool class. Thus, there is a relationship between school requirements and location in a particular British region in whose territory the student lives, which leads to differences between the regions of England.
UK Primary Education
Considering the system of British advanced public schools, then, reaching four years of age, the child goes to primary school in England. So, the student begins education in a preparatory class, bearing the name of the class of the first year of study in an English elementary school, after which there is provided a transition to a primary school aimed at children aged 7 to 11 years. At the same time, in the predominant number of elite primary schools in Britain, education is aimed at students aged 4 to 11 years.
Upon reaching 4 years, the student begins education in the preparatory class of the British elementary school in case of timely submission of an application by the child's parents. Thus, for six months before the start of the semester, there is time for submitting documents. It should be noted that once every 6 months, the start of education in the preparatory class at the best schools in England is envisaged.
In order to be enrolled in a prestigious church school in the UK, a requirement is made for a foreign student to belong to a particular denomination and attend Sunday school at a church associated with the school. In addition, the child’s parents are required to attend church at least twice a month for two years before applying for education.
Private Schooling in Britain
It is worth noting the significant differences in the admission process among English advanced schools. So, to become a student of many pre-school and preparatory prestigious private schools in England, it is enough to go through the registration procedure in a local British school.
So, if the child is less than 3 years old or 4, in the predominant number of elite pre-school private schools in the UK, the selection committee decides on communication with the child and his parents until he is enrolled in school. In addition, the parents and the child receive an invitation to an interview in In the framework of which the child spends half a day in a regular class, at the same time, school staff are watching the future student. So, within the framework of such an observation, it is possible to determine how the child approaches the reigning school environment, which includes students of about the same age.
In the case of admission to 7-8 years of age and older, a prestigious advanced British school may be required to pass the entrance exam before considering the application for admission. As practice shows, emphasis is placed on the English language, while a requirement may be made in relation to the assessment of general knowledge in mathematics.
Please note that 8 years of age is universally recognized as the best time to switch from pre-primary to preparatory school. In addition, the age of eight is considered the minimum age, after which it is possible to enroll a foreign student in boarding school in England.
Secondary education in Britain for foreign students
Reaching 11 years of age for a predominant number of foreign students is a key stage, which means completing education in the British advanced elementary school and further transition to a ranking high school in England.
The following is a classification of UK public high schools, namely:
- Comprehensive schools
- Partially selective secondary schools - part of the future students are enrolled on the basis of the results of a test or exam in music, sports training or drawing. Another part of adolescents is credited from the fact at what distance the child lives from home to school.
- Grammar schools - based on the results of a test in mathematics and logic, foreign students are received, in some cases a requirement is made for writing an essay.
- Church schools - as noted above, in order to be enrolled in a leading school, you will need to be a faithful parishioner, participate in masses with parents for several years before enrollment.
In addition, a rather large number of public boarding schools have been created in the UK, the financing of which is entrusted to the British government, however, the child's parents pay for their accommodation. As a rule, the enrollment procedure is carried out on the basis of several parameters, which vary due to the specific features of educational institutions. Moreover, in the overwhelming majority of cases, British public boarding schools accept students on the basis of the degree of need for a student in this format of education and the degree of compliance. As part of admission to public schools in England, British teenagers are preferred.
UK Top Schooling - Private School System
To assess the level of knowledge of students moving from a British preparatory school to an independent high school, a general entrance exam is applied at the age of 11-13. The exam is assigned to an independent committee elected by the school board. The development of exam assignments rests with the examiners, who are also appointed to the school board. Evaluation of the answers lies with the British prestigious independent high school, the walls of which are planned to move a foreign student.
So, all students, without exception, are required to pass the required exams in basic subjects, namely mathematics, the English language, as well as the natural sciences. Also, in the predominant number of prestigious independent high schools in the UK, incoming foreign students must demonstrate high results in exams in geography, history, religious studies, as well as a foreign language. As a rule, foreign students pass the general exam at their school in England or abroad. In the case of non-native English, the foreign student is given the opportunity to use bilingual dictionaries during the exam in mathematics and science, or the humanities.
It is worthwhile to get the required information in advance regarding the registration forms for admission and the general educational program, at the same time do not miss the registration deadline, since in some advanced schools in England the period can be 3 years before the date of the exam.
British secondary education for foreign students aged 14 to 16 years
It is this educational stage that is reserved for high-quality preparation for the successful passing of the GCSE. GCSE, which is a general certificate of secondary education, refers to the academic qualification level, which is assigned to students aged 14 to 16 years in the UK. Thus, foreign students are given the opportunity to take an exam in one or more disciplines earlier or later than the deadline. IGCSE is an international version of the GCSE exam, which can be taken in any country in the world.
The leading schools in England provide for the passing of the GCSE exam in various subjects that students choose at the end of grade 9. Immediately in the 10th grade, aged 14-15, teaching of the selected disciplines begins as part of the preparatory program for the successful passing of the GCSE. Upon completion of grade 11, passing the final exam is envisaged. However, there may be some differences in the number of disciplines studied by foreign students in the framework of effective preparation for the GCSE. As a rule, their number is 8-10, while students have the opportunity to study a larger number of disciplines.
At the end of 2 years of study in the GCSE preparation program for students, grades are inserted in the context of each selected subject. As for the passing points, they are considered A * (the highest mark with honors), A, B, C, D, E, F, G. In the case of receiving a U score by a foreign student, qualification is not passed.
For most disciplines, an exam of 2 types of difficulty is possible, namely:
- Highest - in the case of passing the exam, the graduate is awarded points from A * to E, or U
- Basic - the following points are given CG or U.
As you can already understand, British elite private schools do not need to ensure compliance with the requirements of the national educational program, which is mandatory for all English public schools. As a rule, they approve their own list of compulsory disciplines for effective preparation for the successful passing of the GCSE exams , which includes English, literature, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, as well as a foreign language.
The attention of foreign students within the walls of the best private schools in England is offered a wide selection of subjects for high-quality preparation for the GCSE, in particular, these are French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Latin, Greek, as well as history, geography, computer science, religious studies, design, art, music, drama.
British secondary education for foreign students aged 17 to 18
At present, in the UK, the compulsory nature of secondary education is limited to the age of 16 by a foreign student. At the same time, the predominant number of students decide to undergo education in order to obtain "Level A" or IB, representing the international baccalaureate program.
As for level A, it represents the highest school qualification level, which is offered by top schools in England, Wales, Northern Ireland. The duration of studies in the framework of the level A program is 2 years, and is also recognized as the standard used to assess the suitability of students for further studies in ranking universities in the UK.
The standard educational program of Level A includes the teaching of 4 disciplines in the first year of study, after which three subjects are studied at level A2. The three disciplines represent the minimum number of subjects that require knowledge to enter advanced universities in England. In the case of admission to top universities in the UK requires education at the AS level in the fourth discipline.
As for the IB program, its duration is 2 years, the passage of which gives the opportunity to qualify for the international standard in order to enter ranking universities. The results of this program are universally recognized by all the elite universities in all countries of the world. Teaching in the framework of this educational program is conducted in English, French and Spanish. It is worth noting that in the framework of the education, an assessment of the knowledge of students in 6 disciplines included in 6 different thematic areas is provided.
The application is not only internal, but also external evaluation. Graduation is marked by passing 2-3 written exams. A specific discipline determines the methodology of internal assessment, in connection with which, some differences are possible.