Great Britain doesn't have a written constitution, so there are no constitutional provisions for education.The system of education is determined by the National Education Acts. Schools in England are supported from public funds paid to the local education authorities.These local education authorities are responsible for organizing the schools in their areas. If we outline the basic features of public education in Britain, firstly we'll see that in spite of most educational purposes England & Wales are treated as one unit, though the system in Wales is a different from that of England. Scotland & Nothern Ireland have their own education systems. Then education in Britain mirrows the country's social system: it's class-divided & selected. The first division is, as you, I think, have already guessed, is between those who do & don't pay. The majority of schools in Britain are supported by public funds & the education provided is free.They are maintained schools, but there's also a considerable number of public schools. Most pupils go to schools which offer free education, although fee-paying independent schools also have an important role to play. Another important feature of schooling in Britain is the variety of opportunities offered to schoolchildren. The English school syllabus is divided into Arts/or Humanities/ and Sciences which determine the division of the secondary school pupils into study groops: a science pupil will study Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, Technical Drawing , Biology, Geography; an Art pupil will do English Language and Literature, History, foreign languages, Music, Art, Drama. Besides these subjects they must do some general education subjects like PE, Home Economics for girls, Technical sybjects for girls, General Science. Computers play an important part in education. The system of options exists in all kinds of secondary schools.
The national Education Act in 1944 provided 3 stages of education: primary, secondary and further education. Everybody has a right to school place for a child from age 5 to 16, and a school of college place for him or her from 16 to 18. These places are provided free of charge. Everybody has a duty to make sure that the child goes to school until he or she is 16, that means that education is a compulsory from age 5 to 16 /11 years in whole/. There's no law which provides for education on the underfives. In England about 47% of three- & four-year-olds receive education in nursery schools or classes. In addition many children attend informal pre-school play groups organized by parents and voluntary bodies.
In 1944 The National Curriculum was introduced. It sets out in detail the subjects that children should study and the levels of achievement they should reach by the ages of 7, 11, 14 & 16, when they are tested.The tests are designed to be easier for teachers to manage than they were in the past.Most pupils will also be entered for GCSEs/General Sertificate of the Secondary Education/ or other public examinations, including vocational qualifications if they are 16. Until that year headmasters and headmistresses of schools were given a great deal of freedom in deciding what sybjects to teach and how to do it in their schools so that there was really no central control at all over individual schools. The National Curriculum does not apply in Scotland, where each school decides what subject it will teach.The child is taught the subjects he or she must study under the National Curriculum. These are English, Maths, Science/the core subjects/, Technology, a foreign language in secondary school, as it was mentioned, PE, History, Geography, Art, Music/ foundation subjects/. The last 4 ones are not compulsory after the age of 14. But the child must be given religious education unless the parents decide otherwise. Each subject has a set programme of study and attaining levels for each subject covering the years from 5 to 16. There're 10 levels.
The full requirements of the National Curriculum are being introduced gradually. All the pupils will be following it in full by September 1997.The National Curruculum itself was introduced in 1989(until that time the schools had a curriculum supervised by the local LEA). According to The National Curriculum schools are allowed to introduce a fast stream for bright children.
Actually after young people reach 16 they have 4 main 'roads' of their next life: they can leave the school, stay at school, move to a college as a full time student, combine part-time study with a job, perhaps through the Youth Training programme.School-leavers without jobs get no money from the government unless they join a youth training scheme , which provides a living allowance during 2 years of work experience. But a growing number of school students are staying on at school, some until 18 or 19, the age of entry into higher education or universities, Polytechnics or colleges. Schools in Britain provide careers guidance. A specially trained person called careers advisor, or careers officer helps school students to decide what job they want to do and how they can achieve that.
Now let us talk about the exams the young people in Britain take during their process of education.
Since 1988, most sixteen-year-old have taken the GCSE in 5,10 of even 15 subjects. Pupils going on to higher education or professional training usually take 'A' level examinations in two or three subjects. These require two more years of study after GSCE, either in the sixth form of a secondary school, or in a separate 6-form college. Others may choose vocational subjects / catering, tourism, secretariat, building skills/. Subsidized courses in these subjects are run at colleges of further education.
This chart will explain to you how state education is organized in England. In each town
or district, the system is decided by the local education authority and so it can vary, but this is the usual system.
THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN BRITAIN