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Secondary education in England: private schools in Great Britain

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Secondary education in England: private schools in Great Britain

The British education system is considered to be one of the best in the world. It is based on traditions, passing from generation to generation, which have been tested several centuries of successful activity. The secret of success includes several complementary characteristics:

  • Conservatism;
  • A wide variety of curricula;
  • "Iron" discipline;
  • Well-developed pedagogical methods and technologies;
  • Inclusive educational process.

Educational institutions in the UK have the status of prestigious, and regularly rank first in the world rankings. Tens of thousands of foreign students and students come to the country every year. A large number of students are enrolled in secondary school ("Secondary school") programs, the successful completion of which gives an opportunity to enter a university.

Compulsory secondary education in the UK covers students from 11 to 16 years of age. Schools are public and private, and are divided into several types:

  • Mixed (boys and girls study together);
  • Only for boys;
  • Only for girls;
  • With a church / religious bias;
  • With a special bias (sports, music and others).

State institutions are accepted on the basis of applications from parents, and applicants for private studies must take exams. To enter institutions with different bias, you must have the appropriate achievements or talents. In religious come as children from believing families, and not tied to religion (these institutions are characterized by special attention to the development of universal human values of humanism).

One of the most ramified networks of private boarding schools in the world operates in the country. Pensions assume a year-round residence on campus (they leave there only for vacations or in forced circumstances). In boarding schools, students not only receive knowledge, but also engage in sports and creativity, adapt to life in the country, take part in events and celebrations. At this stage, an independent personality is formed, the skills necessary for entering adulthood develop; except for the common for all subjects, each student chooses those that are interesting to him.

GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

From the age of 14, students begin to prepare for the GCSE exam, which includes compulsory and additional subjects (their list may vary depending on the institution). GCSE boarding houses are perfected, a large number of courses are taught here, including exclusive ones, as well as several foreign languages. Exemplary list of disciplines:

1) Required:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Computer science
  • English literature
  • Foreign
  • Religious Studies

2) Optional:

  • Art
  • Natural Sciences
  • Economics and economics
  • National economy
  • Foreign languages.

The total number of subjects is 8-10, if desired, you can study more. Classes are held in the usual format, and in specialized laboratories, in the form of round tables, discussions and discussions. Constantly arranged various field studies, excursions and expeditions. Students perform homework, work in groups and individually. To control the progress, intermediate testing and examinations are conducted. Students not only receive the necessary complex of knowledge, but develop critical thinking skills, analytical skills, various teaching methods and learn effective interaction. Academic studies are supplemented by physical and creative development.

The final exam is conducted in the form of testing for each individual subject with the assignment of points in the form of Latin letters, where A is the highest score, G is the minimum passing grade, and U is unsatisfactory. Students who passed the exam for grades A to C are assigned a second level of qualification, and on the marks from D to G - the first. Universities welcome second-tier applicants, and many higher education institutions can not enter with marks below C. Usually a two-year cycle of preparation for the GCSE is inseparable, that is, the student can not change the school during this period, so it's worthwhile to take care of all the nuances in advance.

A-level program

Two-year course leading to the receipt of the A-Level certificate. This document gives an opportunity to enter any university in the country , and you can submit documents at the same time in no more than 5 educational institutions.

The aim of A-Level is to provide the highest level of education and knowledge in the chosen direction. The student already at the start should clearly realize to which universities and specialties he will come, and, accordingly, to choose suitable disciplines. Sample list of subjects:

1) Required:

  • English
  • Mathematics

2) For directions: science, medicine, engineering:

  • Higher Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

3) For directions: Humanities, Business, Law:

  • Economy
  • Accounting
  • Introduction to business
  • Literature
  • Psychology.

Weekly 20-25 lessons are conducted plus English classes. Students perform:

  • Hometasks
  • Term papers
  • Research projects and laboratory
  • Independent work, group projects.

The standard A-level course is conducted in 2 stages:

  • Stage AS. 2-3 items; testing in English and mathematics
  • Step A2. 2-3 specialized subjects; testing.

Examination marks are indicated in Latin letters and have a scale from A (highest) to E (lowest). Often, in boarding houses to save time and other purposes, the duration of the A-level is reduced to 1-1.5 years. Boarding alumni often boast a higher level of education and knowledge, and more often enter prestigious educational institutions such as Cambridge and Oxford. Foreign students entering the A-Level must provide the following required documents:

  • Table of secondary school (with grades)
  • Two Recommendations from Teachers
  • Certificate of delivery of IELTS with a level of 5.0-5.5.

Program IB

An alternative to the A-Level is the International Baccalaureate (IB) course, which was developed by specialists in the 1960s, and has since enjoyed immense popularity. The IB certificate is recognized not only in the UK, but also in France, Belgium, Sweden, Canada, the USA and many other countries of the world. Applicants can enter universities without entrance examinations, in the presence of high scores. To date, the international baccalaureate is taught in 1,500 institutions in different countries and is conducted in 3 languages - English, French or Spanish. For 2 years students learn the following skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Scientific research
  • Executing course projects
  • Independent work and activity (academic and creative).

Each institution adjusts the curriculum in accordance with its needs and opportunities, but certain rules and regulations apply to everyone. Classes are held in a foreign language, only "native language and literature" can be taught at home. The list of disciplines includes about 60 titles, divided into 6 groups:

  • Foreign and Literature
  • Mother tongue and literature
  • Mathematics and related sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Humanitarian sciences
  • Disciplines for choice.

From each group one item is selected (6 are generally studied), and 3 are profile and have an in-depth character. The profile disciplines are given 240 hours, the remaining three - 150 hours.

Scientific projects are necessarily carried out:

  • TOK (Theory of Knowledge). Classes with an emphasis on philosophical sciences, including research skills, methods of cognition of the world and scientific concepts. Students learn independent learning, get used to discussions, learn reasoning, put forward hypotheses, and develop skills to write scientific essays.
  • CAS ("Creativity, action, service"). Here work goes in 3 directions: 1) Creativity - preparation of holidays and events, participation in the school newspaper, performances, competitions and so on; 2) Action - participation in sports competitions, various competitions and theatrical productions; 3) Ministry is charity and volunteerism.

To obtain a diploma, all high school students must fulfill several requirements:

  • Final tests. Surrendered separately for each of the 6 items, the commission is attended not only by teachers, but also by invited specialists. The test is assessed on a 7-point scale, and the score must be at least 24.
  • Essay. All students must prepare and defend an essay with a volume of more than 4,000 words, in the form of a thesis research paper, which is conducted under the guidance of a scientific supervisor.
  • At least 150 hours of work at the CAS course
  • Two written works on the TOK course
  • Other jobs.

Every year around the world, about 36,000 people take IB exams and about 80% of them receive a certificate. Graduates of the international baccalaureate enter the best higher educational institutions of Great Britain, Europe and the whole world.

Sixth Form (high school)

In the UK, the first 5 years of secondary education are sometimes called "forms", respectively, the last two years - the sixth form. This numbering system is traditional, but today many are moving away from it and using a new standard where all classes are numbered by numbers from 1 to 13 (the sixth form here corresponds to 12 and 13 grades). In the Sixth Form students from 16 to 18 years old are teached, and they can choose the program - A-level or IB.

In the country there are prestigious special guesthouses specializing in the latter classes (Sixth Form Collegies). Their distinctive feature is that a large number of foreign students (more than 50%) study there. Popularity is easy to explain, because their students have a number of advantages:

  • Students constantly live in school, get used to independence and pass an active process of adaptation to the education system and way of life
  • High level of general education 
  • Language skills are developing effectively.

Graduates of the course Sixth Form (from different countries of the world) from year to year enter the best universities in the UK.

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