The English education system has an excellent reputation with students from the UK and around the world attending school here. The system is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business - Innovation and Skills. Local authorities (LAs) are responsible for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a regional level.
Education is mandatory from ages 5 to 16 (to be raised to 18 in 2013 for 16-year-olds and 2015 for 17-year-olds). Students may then continue their secondary studies for two years (sixth form), with most students taking A-level qualifications. Other qualifications and courses include Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications, the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge Pre-U.
The 2 systems are the States schools and the independent schools (or Public schools). The State schools get State funds and are regulated by a Local Education Authority. Most of the State schools are either Comprehensive, Foundation or Grammar schools and Free Schools (set-up by local parents and run by organisations, like Foundation schools).
A the end of the compulsory period at 16, all students pass the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exam. If it's successful it's then possible to attend a 2 year preparation in a College or a Sixth Form Centre (in State schools or Public schools) to pass the A-Levels. Pupils choose usually 3 subjects to pass for their exam and get a notation with the highest grade being A.
About 90% of the English pupils are in State schools. But be careful: they can be very good or a disaster! You better double check the quality of the schools you are about to choose. Performance of the school to the GCSE and A-levels exams for example may be helpful (http://www.schoolsnet.com).
The education system is divided into:
From 0 to 3, Children can attend nursery schools. They are private schools and can be very expensive in London, in average (depending on location) from £50/day to £120/day. Once you have booked specific days per week (from 1 to 5) it is not possible to change them (you may be able to swap days on specific occasion with a fee) and it is expected that you will pay the nursery 12 months a year (even when your child is on holiday or sick). You can stop the nursery with a 1 to 3 months notice. Time for nursery may vary, usually 8am to 6.30pm (some of them only open from 9am to 3:15pm).
All providers are regulated, inspected and reports are available on the Office for Standards in
Education (Ofsted) website www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports
Children aged 3 to 4 are entitled to a free nursery school (the pre-school grant is paid by the Council and may be worth ~£2300/year). Formal primary education begins in the year they turn 5. The school year begins on 1 September (or 1 August if a term starts in August).
State primary schools are free, but their admission is usually subject to a catchment area (this process resulting into the usual question: "Where in London should you move for the best state primary schools?"), which can be very small for popular schools with best results to Ofsted inspection (sometime only a few hundred meters). All maintained schools in England are required to follow the National Curriculum, which is made up of twelve subjects. The core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science are compulsory for all students aged 5 to 16.
Pupils progress from primary to secondary levels at age 11. A few areas have three-tier education systems with an intermediate middle level from age 9 to 13.
Under the National Curriculum, all pupils undergo National Curriculum Tests (NCTs) towards the ends of Key Stage 2 in the core subjects of Literacy, Numeracy and Science. Pupils normally take GCSE 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.
The Sixth Form (sometimes referred to as Key Stage 5) describes the years 12 and 13 of the schooling system. This the final (optional) two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age, prepare for their A-level (or equivalent) examinations.
Private Schools can offer an elevated environment of learning for some students. Other schools offer a specialty focus that may be worth paying extra for. It is important to visit a school to determine the best fit for you and your child. Most private schools have open days for prospective parents, but it is wise to ask to make an appointment to visit on a normal working day. Questions you may want to ask:
ACS Hillingdon International School
Address: Hillingdon, London UB10 0BE
Aston House School
Address: 10 Montpelier Road, Ealing, London, W5 2PQ
Buxlow Prepatory School
Address: 5/6 Castleton Gardens, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 7QJ
City of London School
Address: Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 3AL
Address: Donhead Lodge, 33 Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London SW19 4NP
Herne Hill School
Address: The Old Vicarage, 127 Herne Hill, London SE24 9LY
More House School
Address: 22-24 Pont Street, London SW1X 0AA
Norfolk House School
Address: 10 Muswell Avenue, Muswell Hill, London, N10 2EG
Address: Shepherd's Way, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 6NS
RIMU Music Prepatory School
Address: 95 Old Dover Road, Blackheath, London, SE38SJ
St. Christopher's Prepatory School
Address: 71 Wembley Park Drive, Wembley Park, London, HA9 8HE
Fees range from school to school so make sure to compare. There are occasional grants and scholarships for worthy students, but they are competitive. Ask at the school for opportunities.
Extra activities like instrumental instruction, school uniforms, or school trips may require additional fees. Many private schools have their own second-hand shops selling uniforms and other supplies.
The world models boarding schools on the classic British boarding school. There is usually a dormitory, the refectory, and the study hall. Boarding schools may be all-boarding or flexible boarding, or offer weekly boarding. This allows students the opportunity to return home on weekends or only stay at the school occasionally. Boarding schools were declining during the 1990's, but have received a small revival which may be due to the "Harry Potter" effect.
The IB program is offered by a number of private schools. It is taught under the supervision of the International Baccalaureate Organisation. All students study languages, social science, experimental science, mathematics and arts.
Many elite universities are in England. British universities are known for their illustrious history and research output. Students normally enter university at age 18 and a bachelor's degree is usually awarded after four years of study.
|"A" Level : it is a group of certificates according to the choice of the student. Getting 3 certificates allows to continue at University level.|
|Higher National Diploma: 2 years|| |
First degree: only honours will allow the student to go to Higher Degrees.
Ordinary Degree :
|Diploma or Certificate: 1 year|
Master's Degree by research: 1 to 2 years with dossier presentation
|Master's Degree by instruction: 1 year with an exam at the end|
The state does not control university syllabi, but it influences admission procedures through the Office for Fair Access (OfFA). The universities in the United Kingdom share an undergraduate admission system. Applications must be made by October 15th for admissions to Oxford and Cambridge and by January 15th for admissions to other UK universities.
London's scholarly reputation is not without merit. The city has a distinguished literary tradition and many fine libraries.
The London Library - The London Library is the UK's leading literary institution and the world's largest independent lending library. It offers more than one million books with a collection spanning works from the 16th century to the latest publications. Membership is open to everyone on payment of an annual subscription.
Other libraries can be found on the City of London's Libraries. The site includes locations, a mobile app, and free audiobook downloads.
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