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Another school strike - what to know about the English education system

With the National Union of Teachers set to take strike
action on 10th July, it is important for expats planning to live in
the UK to know about the British education system. Schools in

England and

Wales are to face disruption. As
well as being aware of this, it is also essential to know about the schooling
system.

The English education system is divided into four stages:
the early years for those aged 3 to 4, primary education for those aged 4 to
11, secondary education for those aged 11 to 18 and tertiary education for
those aged 18 and above.

Full-time education is compulsory for all children aged
between 5 and 17. As of 2015, the compulsory age will be raised to 18 due to a
change in law by the Education and Skills act.

Sixth form is further study for those aged 16 to 18, and at
present is not compulsory. Students will either study in the sixth form of a
school or of a college. Sixth form study is essential in order to study at
university.

English secondary schools are mostly comprehensive and the
majority of students attend state-funded schools without charge. Sixth form
education and state-provided schooling is paid for by taxes. The school year
typically begins on September the 1st.

You are likely to come across the term Ofsted. All
state-funded schools are inspected by the Office for Standards in Education,
also known as Ofsted. Regular reports on the quality of education on each
school are published. 

Students can choose to go into higher education. They
usually enter university from the age of 18 with the aim to graduate with an
academic degree. Typically, the first degree offered at English universities is
the bachelor’s degree and it usually lasts for three years. During their time
at university, students are referred to as undergraduates.

The university admission system is operated by UCAS.
Students decide upon a subject they wish to study and choose five universities
to apply to. Applications usually have to be made by 15th January.
For those applying to Oxford University and Cambridge University, and for those
choosing to study medicine, veterinary science or dentistry, applications must
be made by 15th October.

Higher education is financed by the state via tuition fees.
In the 2011-2012 academic year, the majority of English, Welsh and EU
undergraduate fees were £3,375 per year. Undergraduates from the 2012-2013
academic year and onwards, will pay tuition fees set at a maximum of £9,000 per
year. These fees have to be repaid after graduation but only when the graduate
is earning a certain level of income.

In

England
and

Wales,
the majority of full-time university students attend universities that are
situated far from home. As a result, most universities provide rented
accommodation for students, particularly in the first year of study. These are
typically called halls and are either situated on campus or somewhere nearby.

A postgraduate degree is an option for those students who
have completed and graduated with a degree. Postgraduate degrees are either
Master’s which is typically taken in one year, or a doctorate which is
typically taken in three years. A postgraduate education is not usually funded
by the state.

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