After You Read. I. Complete the table for the state system of education in England


After You Read. I. Complete the table for the state system of education in England


I. Complete the table for the state system of education in England. You can find the information in the text above.


School level Age of pupils Aim of education Type of exams Number of exams
Nursery school      
Primary school      
Secondary school        

II. Read the following information to complete the table about different types of secondary schools in the UK. Use the cultural notes given above.


The school year in Britain usually runs from early September to mid July and is divided into three terms of about 10-12 weeks each. They are:

– autumn term (early September to mid-December);

– spring term (early January to the end of March/beginning of April);

– summer term (end of April to early/mid-July).

School hours are usually from 9.00 a.m. until 3.30 or 4.00 p.m.

Classes in British secondary schools are usually called “forms”; they are never called “grades”, which is an American term. Forms are numbered from one to six, beginning with the first form and ending with the sixth form. “A” levels are usually taken at the end of the second year in the sixth form.

Schools in Britain are of two types: state, which charge no fees, and independent (or private) schools, which are fee-paying. In secondary education most state schools (over eight out of ten) are comprehensive schools, offering a general education to all children. There are also a small number of secondary modern schools, offering a more practical education, grammar schools, providing a more academic education, and technical schools, offering a combination of academic and technical teaching. There are also special schools for children with a physical or mental disability. Almost all independent schools are boarding schools, and unlike state schools are usually for one sex only.

State schools mostly have larger classes than independent schools, but all schools share the same school leaving examinations. The main exam is the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), normally taken at the end of the year in the fifth form at the age of 16.

Type of school School specialisation Financial support Type of exams
Comprehensive schools      
Secondary modern schools      
Grammar school      
Technical schools      
Independent (public) schools      

III. Answer the questions.

1. Is education compulsory in Great Britain?

2. At what age-range must British children receive full-time education?

3. What are three stages of school education?

4. What schools does the UK primary education consist of? How long does it take to study there?

5. What are children taught at Infant and Junior schools?

6. At what school do children study to receive secondary education?

7. What subjects does the Curriculum of the comprehensive school consist of?

8. When do schools assess children’s progress?

9. What age is considered to be a crucial age and why?

10. Is there any standard national school-leaving examination in Britain?

11. What certificate do children get on completion of compulsory education?

12. What do the young people who choose to stay on at school do?

13. What certificates are received after completing of the Sixth form?

14. What is the difference between a comprehensive school and a grammar school?

15. What are advantages and disadvantages of each type of schools in the UK?


IV. Find the information in the text about public schools which supports the following statements:

a) A public school is not the same thing as a private school;

b) Public schools give important advantages to people who can afford them.


The public schools are the most famous of the private secondary schools. The oldest of the public schools (Eton College dates from 1440) were founded to give free education to clever boys whose parents could not afford to educate them privately. They were under "public" management or control. Today, these schools, and similar ones founded within the past 120 years, are the most expensive of the independent schools in Britain. They are mostly boarding schools, where the pupils live as well as study, though many of them also take some day-pupils. Most of them have a few places for pupils whose fees are paid by a local authority, but normally entrance is by examination and state schools do not prepare children for this. So parents who wish to send their children to a public school often send them first to a preparatory (prep) school. Preparatory schools are small private primary schools which preparechildren for the public school examination.

The schools, such as Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, are famous for their ability to lay the foundation of a successful future by giving their pupils self-confidence, the right accent, a good academic background and, perhaps most important of all, the right friends and contacts. People who went to one of the public schools never call themselves school-leavers. They talk about “the old school tie” and “the old boy network”. They are just old boys or old girls.

Less than 2 per cent of British children go to public schools, yet these schools have produced over the centuries many of Britain's most distinguished people. So parents who can afford it still pay thousands of pounds to have their children educated at a public school. It was claimed some time ago by Labour supporters that the public schools would die a natural death, but at the end of the 20th century they were more firmly established than ever. There are more than sixty major public schools - the elite.

A public school education is not the only route to the best universities and the best jobs. But the senior posts in jobs like banking and the civil service are nearly always held by public school men or women [3].

V. Are the statements on schooling in the UK true or false?


1. About 93 per cent of pupils in Great Britain receive free educa­tion financed from public funds, while the others attend independent schools paid for by fees from parents.

2. The National Curriculum consists of core subjects, which are compulsory for 5- to 16-year-olds, and foundation subjects, which must be studied to the age of 14 at least.

3. The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is the major qualification taken by pupils at the end of compulsory schooling at the age of 16.

4. Comprehensive schools take pupils without reference to ability or aptitude and provide a wide-ranging secondary education for all or most of the children in a district.

5. All GCSE and other qualifications offered to pupils of compulsory school age in state schools in England and Wales must not be approved by the gov­ernment.

6. Public schools are not free from state control.


VI. Match the education terms on the left to their definitions on the right.


1) fifth form / year a) a pupil chosen to help the teacher in various


2) curriculum b) a special tie that was worn by someone who has

been at a certain school, esp. public school

3) special school c) a class in a secondary school in the year in

which students will take a school-leaving exam

4) schoolmate d) the subjects that are taught by a school

5) monitor /monitress e) a child at the same school

6) the old school tie f) a school for children who have a disability of

mind or body, where they are given special help


VII. Think about differences between the educational systems in Britain and your country. Write an essay. Remember to use the opening and closing sentences.

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