1) GENERAL FACTS
The education system (3 stages/parts)
1) Primary (5-11)
2) Secondary (11-16)
3) Further education (16-18)
4) Higher education (18-…)
Two types of education
1) State schools (93% of children inEngland go to state schools; NON FEE-PAYING: they are funded from taxes, organized by local authorities)
2) Independent schools (7%, private X public, FEE-PAYING)
The national curriculum is compulsory in all state schools trough outEngland. It specifies what children must study + what they are expected to know at different stages.
The NC is made up of: 1) CORE subjects /English, Maths, Science/
2) FOUNDATION subjects /History, Geography, Music, Art, P.E., Modern foreign languages (French, German), Religion/
3) EXTRA-CURRICULUM subjects /playing musical instruments, sports, drawing, theatre/
Pupils are assessed (tested) at various stages à SATS (Standard assessment tasks/tests) and 4 key stages were established:
1) Key stage 1: 5-7 years old (English, Maths)
2) Key stage 1: 7-11 years old (English, Maths, Science)
3) Key stage 3: 11-14 years old (English, Maths, Science)
4) Key stage 4: 14-16 (GCSE)
Children understand that they are not going to pass/to fail. The tests will just show what they have learnt and what they can (need to) improve. The tests also help their teachers learn more about their student’s strengths and weaknesses.
InEnglandandWalescompulsory school begins at the age of 5, but before that age children can go to a nursery schools, also called play school (Pre-school education; 3-5). School is compulsory till the children are 16 years old.
There are two systems of state schools, depending on the county: System A – Primary School (5-11), Secondary School (11-16/18)
System B -FirstSchool (5-8). Middle School (8-13), Secondary School (13-16/18)
2) PRIMARY SCHOOL
Primary school is usually divided into two sections: Infant school (5-7) and Junior school (7-11), where children work more independently. They usually work in small groups (4-6) to be able to discuss ideas.
In Primary School andFirstSchoolchildren learn to read and write and the basics of arithmetic. In the higher classes of Primary School children learn geography, history, religion (parents have to agree, parent’s consent) and, in some schools, also a foreign language (at the age of 11; French, German, Spanish). P.E. is usually done twice a week.
Outside the normal time-table there are many activities in which students may take part: sports, drama, table-tennis, playing musical instrument, arts, drawing and so on.
3) SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Secondary Schools can be divided into: Comprehensive (all-inclusive, no entrance exams), Grammar (are selective and students enter the schools on the basis of their abilities, 4%) and Secondary Modern (put emphasis on practical activities). The majority (90% in 1987) attend comprehensives which incorporate all schoolchildren. The children are mixed of abilities and may come from a wide variety of school backgrounds.
When students are 16 years old, they may take an exam in various subjects in order to have a qualification – G.C.S.E. (General Certificate of Secondary Education). Students can choose any number of subjects in their curriculum; some may take 6 or7 G.C.S.E.s, some only2. G.C.S.E.s students can either leave school and start working or continue their studies in the same school as before.
4) FURTHER EDUCATION
At the age of 16, pupils are free to leave school. If they carry on with their education, they study for 2 more years in an institution called a sixth form college. Usually, they take 4 subjects in the first year, which ends with an exam. If they pass, they have AS-Levels (17, Advanced-supplementary) in these subjects and can go on to study three of them at A-Level (18, the G.C.E.). In January, half year before the G.C.E., of the final year they will have “mock” (practise exam).
5) HIGHER EDUCATION
In Englandthere are 47 universities, including the Open University (teaches by way of TV and radio), 30 polytechnics and 350 colleges. The oldest universities in Englandare Oxford(12th century) and Cambridge (13th century), founded at the end of the 12th century for the training of priest. InScotland are 4 historical universities (St. Andrews, 1411). Generally, universities award two kinds of degrees: the Bachelor’s degree (usually after a three year course) and a Master’s degree (usually one or two more years of study after the Bachelor’s degree.
Universities: “stone universities” (were made from stone, till 19th century), “redbrick universities” (newer, from 19th century)
6) PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Some parents, only 6%, choose independent schools for their children. These are very expensive but considered to provide a better education and good job opportunities.
The stages of education in independent schools are called in a different way: a pre-preparatory school (5-8)
a preparatory school (8-13)
a public school (13-18; but only if they pass an examination called Common Entrance)
The oldest and most exclusive Public Schools areEtonCollege(1440), Harrow (1571) andRugby(1567).
7) DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT
Offences: playing football in the school corridor, swearing at teachers in class, bullying, arriving to school late, refusing to do homework, truancy, smoking on the school premises, cheating during an exam, stealing from others students, fighting in the playground/schoolyard
The way a school is organized, and its so-called ‘hidden curriculum’. Certain rules must be followed by all pupils if a school is to run smoothly. Pupils who fail to follow these rules are normally punished by the teachers themselves, although in more serious cases they may be sent directly to the head teacher.
During break times, the corridors and playgrounds are supervised by the teachers; pupil caught smoking in the toilets will be dealt with by the teacher who is on duty that particular day. Alternatively, he/she will be sent to the form tutor. If a pupil is caught in possession of light drugs or is found out to be a bully, he/she will be sent to the head teacher. Bullying, truancy, stealing and fighting are considered to be the most serious offences.
Punctuality, courtesy and honesty are considered to be very important qualities in a student. Pupils who are caught cheating in an exam can expect to be dealt very strictly. Corporal punishment is now a thing of the past. The most common form of physical punishment – the cane – may still be used in independent schools.
The most typical forms of punishment are detention and lines. A pupil caught smoking in the toilets might have to stay behind at school for an extra half hour: pupils in this case are said to be “in detention”. During this period the pupils might be required to remain perfectly silent or to write some lines: “I most not smoke in the toilets” – 100 or 150 times.
More serious forms of punishment include being on report and temporary exclusion from the school. At the end of every lesson a pupil “on report” has to hand in a report card to the teacher, who writes down how that pupil has behaved during his/her lesson. This card will then be considered by the pupil’s form tutor, and, where necessary, the head teacher. In the case of exclusion, pupils are forbidden to attend school for a limited period of time: parents of these pupils have to meet the head teacher for a serious talk about their behaviour.
Expulsion, the most serious punishment of all, occurs when students have behaved exceptionally badly. An expelled student is banned from the school, and if he wishes to continue with his education he must choose another school (where everybody knows about his past record).
8) SCHOOL LIFE
British pupils normally have to be at school at 8.45 for registration. Each class has a form tutor who is responsible for checking attendance.
After registration most pupils go to assembly, which normally lasts 15 minutes. Assembly provides the head teacher with opportunity to deal with matters relating to the dat-to-day life of the school (discipline problems, rules and regulations,…). There is also some form to religious worship: sing hymns, say prayers or listen a reading from the Bible.
Once assembly is over at 9.15, lessons begin. Lessons normally last about 55 minutes. During their mid-morning break pupils can buy sweets and drinks from the school tuck shop. During their hourly lunch break pupils can eat lunch in the school canteen or eat their own packed lunch. Pupils go home at about 3.15. Some students remain at school to participate in extra sports activities. There are no lessons on Saturday.
9) TERMS AND HOLIDAYS
There are normally three terms to the school year – Autumn, Spring and Summer. In the middle of each term there is a five day holiday called “half-term”. Some schools use these half-term breaks to organize field trips or school trips abroad. There are three main holidays a ten day break at Christmas and Easter and a longer six week break for the summer holidays.
10) EDUCATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
School attendance is compulsory from the age of 6 or 7 till 14 or 15. Schools are mainly state schools but there are also some private and church schools. Attendance at state schools is free of charge, and provide the same kind of education with the possibility of enrolling at universities.
- Pre-school education begins at the age of 6 months when children may attend crèches. From the age of 3 till the age of 6 children attend kindergartens.
- Primary education starts at basic (primary) schools. Children receive an education foundation: writing, counting and reading skills, Czech language and literature, basic in physics, biology, civics etc.
- Secondary education lasts usually 4 years – from age of 14 or 15 till the age of 17 or 18. Sec. education may be divided among: secondary grammar schools, secondary special schools (technical schools, schools of economics or music schools..), vocation schools which prepare young people for practical professions
- Tertiary education starts at the age of 18 and lasts usually from 4 to 6 years. Students may attend various universities or colleges (Philosophical Faculty, Medical Faculty, School of Economics, Law Faculty,…)
Students end their secondary education after passing their graduation exam. They have to pass an obligatory exam in Czech and one foreign language and must choose from two optional subjects.
Students are evaluated by marks from 1 to 5. 1 is the best and 5 is the worst. Each term students gets school report with marks from both compulsory and elective subjects.