— Hello, Mike. My friend with his family is going to Britain for permanent living. I know that you know a lot about the National educational System of the UK. Could you please answer my several questions?
— Certainly. First of all I should tell you that there are two main types of schools in Britain. These are state and private schools, the latter are fee-paying. For example the fees at Eton, Harrow and Winchester are usually not less than several thousand pounds per year.
— And what about state schools? I hear that pupils in Britain are to receive full-time education from the age of 5 up to 16. And who runs these state schools?
— Well. Schools in the state system can be county schools, owned as well as funded by the local education authorities, or voluntary schools, belonging to the Church. It’s difficult to choose a school, because public schools are accused of being snobbish and elitist. And on the other hand it’s known, that the academic excellence and results of state schools aren’t very high.
— Yes, it’s really a problem. And are there any subdivisions of state schools? And what does the term “11+” exam mean?
— Well you see there are really such schools as comprehensive schools, offering general education; modern schools, offering more practical education and then come technical schools, offering a mixture of academic and technical teaching. And the 11+ exam is taken by the pupils at the age of 11, and then according to the results they choose a school for further education.
— And what subjects do they study in British schools? Is there anything special? And what are they determined by? And what about religious education?
— They are determined by the national Curriculum: core subjects and foundation subjects. Nothing special, this range is rather standard all over the world. Religious education is optional.
— When I was in America I found out that their schools have no national standardized final examinations. And I have read the following: in Britain there are several types of examinations, according to their level – A , A/S level, S and O levels.
— Yes you are quite right. So tell this all to your friend. Education in Britain is no simple thing as you see. And it’ll be better to decide in advance, what school their son will attend.