SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Education in the United Kingdom is compulsory from the age of five to sixteen. Children under five go either to nursery schools, or to playgroups. Both types of pre-primary educational establishments are non-state; the difference is that a child spends the whole day in a nursery school, while he or she can stay in a playgroup only for some hours a day. Anyway, the main aim of such kind of establishments is to make the children ready for primary schools. Children play, draw, modelling from clay and learn to work together.
Compulsory education for all children begins at the age of five. There are 35,000 state schools in Britain. All of them are the responsibility of the Local Educational Authorities (LEA). The LEA caters for l he curriculum and exams in each region; they also appoint head teachers and held assessment tests at schools.
Primary school is for children from five to eleven. At first the studies are more like playing than working; English teachers say that this is the host way for children to get used to school. Probably they are right: children learn better when they play. Lessons usually last from nine in the morning till four or five in the afternoon with a long break at the lunchtime.
At the age of eleven pupils go to comprehensive schools. Children usually wear a uniform; it is different in different schools. They study Maths, English, Arts, English Literature, Geography, one or two foreign languages, usually French, Italian or German, PE (Physical Education), IT (Information Technology), Religion, Science, Biology, Sex Education and other subjects.
At the end of their studies they take General Certificate of Secondary Education examinations (GCSE) 0-level, and then they either leave school and start working or continue their studies at school or at college for two more years. This is called the sixth form at school or the sixth form college, and the students take only the subjects they need for entering the university of their choice.
At the age of eighteen they take GCSE A-level. They usually take three or four A-levels. There are no entrance exams to universities, so the students can enter a university or a college on the results of their A-level examinations.
Speaking about education in the UK it is necessary to say that there is a great difference between state education and private education. State schools are free, and about ninety per cent of all children attend them. Private or public schools are very expensive. These are usually boarding schools, where children stay while they study, coming home only on vacations. These schools are for children between thirteen and eighteen. Before entering a public school children are usually educated at home. State schools are usually mixed, while private schools are typically single-sex, with a few exceptions.
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