Реферат: The School Education in Great Britain (Школьное образование в Великобритании)

                   The School Education in Great Britain

 The aim of education ingeneral is to develop to the full the talents of both children and adults fortheir own benefit and that of society as a whole. It is a large-scaleinvestment in the future.

The educational system of Great Britain has developed for over ahundred years. It is a complicated system with wide variations between one partof the country and another. Three partners are responsible for the educationservice: central government – the Department of Education and Science (DES),local education authorities (LEAs), and schools themselves. The legal basis forthis partnership is supplied by the 1944 Education Act.

The Department of Education and Science is concerned with theformation of national policies for education. It is responsible for themaintenance of minimum national standard of education. In exercising itsfunctions the DES is assisted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. The primaryfunctions of the Inspectors are to give professional advice to the Department,local education authorities, schools and colleges, and discuss day-to-dayproblems with them.

Local education authorities are charged with the provision andday-to-day running of the schools and colleges in their areas and the recruitmentand payment of the teachers who work in them. They are responsible for the provision of buildings, materials andequipment. However, the choice of text-books and timetable are usually left tothe headmaster. The content and method of teaching is decided by the individualteacher.

The administrative functions of education in each area are in thehands of a Chief Education Officer who is assisted by a deputy and otherofficials.

          Until recently planning andorganization were not controlled by central government. Each LEA was free todecide how to organize education in its own area. In 1988, however, theNational Curriculum was introduced, which means that there is now greatergovernment control over what is taught in schools. The aim was to provide amore balanced education. The new curriculum places greater emphasis on the morepractical aspects of education. Skills are being taught which pupils will needfor life and work.

The chief elements of the national Curriculum include a broad andbalanced framework of study which emphasizes the practical applications ofknowledge. It is based around the core subjects of English, mathematics andscience ( biology, chemistry, etc.) as well as a number of other foundationsubjects, including geography, history, technology and modern languages.

The education reform of 1988 also gave all secondary as well aslarger  primary schools responsibilitiesfor managing the major part of their budgets, including costs of staff. Schoolsreceived the right to withdraw from local education authority control if theywished.

Together with the National Curriculum, a programme of Records ofAchievements was introduced. This programme contains a system of new tests forpupils at the ages of  7, 11, 13 and 16.The aim of these tests is to discover any schools or areas which are notteaching to a high enough standard. But many believe that these tests areunfair because they reflect differences in home rather than in ability.

The great majority of children (about 9 million) attend Britain’s30,500 state schools. No tuition fees are payable in any of them. A further600,000 go to 2,500 private schools, often referred to as the “independentsector” where the parents have to pay for their children.

In most primary and secondary state schools boys and girls aretaught together. Most independent schools for younger children are also mixed,while the majority of private secondary schools are single-sex.

State schools are almost all day schools, holding classes between Mondays and Fridays. The school yearnormally begins in early September and continues into the following July. Theyear is divided into three terms of about 13 weeks each.

Two-thirds of state schools are wholly owned and maintained by LEAs.The remainder are voluntary schools, mostly belonging to the Church of Englandor the Roman Catholic Church. They are also financed by LEAs.

Every state school has its own governing body (a board ofgovernors), consisting of teachers, parents, local politicians, businessmen andmembers of the local community. Boards of governors are responsible for theirschool’s main policies, including the recruitment of the staff.

A great role is played by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).Practically all parents are automatically members of the PTA and are invited totake part in its many activities. Parental involvement through the PTA andother links between parents and schools is growing. The PTA forms both aspecial focus for parents and much valued additional resources for the school.Schools place great value on the PTA as a further means of listening to parentsand developing the partnership between home and school. A Parent’s Charterpublished by the Government in 1991 is designed to enable parents to take moreinformed decisions about their children’s education.

Compulsory education begins at the age of 5 in England, Wales andScotland, and at the age of 4 in Northern Ireland. All pupils must stay atschool until the age of 16. About 9 per cent of pupils in state schools remainat school voluntarily until the age of 18.

Education within the state school system comprises either two tiers(stages) – primary and secondary, or three tiers – first schools, middleschools and upper schools.

Nearly all state secondary schools are comprehensive, they embracepupils from 11 to 18. The word “comprehensive” expresses the idea that theschools in question take all children in a given area without, selection.      

NURSERY EDUCATION.Education for the under-fives, mainly from 3 to 5, is not compulsoryand can be provided in nursery schools and nursery classes attached to primaryschools. Although they are called schools, they give little formal education.The children spend most of their time in some sort of play activity, as far aspossible of an educational kind. In any case, there are not enough of them totake all children of that age group. A large proportion of children at thisbeginning stage is in the private sector where fees are payable. Many childrenattend pre-school playgroups, mostlyorganized by parents, where children can go for a morning or afternoon a coupleof times a week.

PRIMARY EDUCATION.The primary school usually takes children from 5 to 11. Over halfof the primary schools take the complete age group from 5 to 11. The remainingschools take the pupils aged 5 to 7 – infantschools, and  8 to 11 – junior schools. However, some LEAs haveintroduced first school, takingchildren aged 5 to 8, 9 to 10. The first school is followed by the middle school which embraces childrenfrom 8 to 14. Next comes the upperschool (the third tier) which keeps middle school leavers until the age of18. This three-stage system (first, middle and upper) is becoming more and morepopular in a growing number of areas. The usual age for transfer from primaryto secondary school is 11.

SECONDARY EDUCATION.Secondary education is compulsory up to the age of 16, and pupilsmay stay on at school voluntarily until they are 18. Secondary schools are muchlarger than primary schools and most children (over 80 per cent) go tocomprehensive schools.

There are three categories of comprehensive schools:

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schools which take pupils from11 to 18,

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schools which embrace middleschool leavers from 12, 13or 14 to 18, and

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schools which take the agegroup from 11 to 16.

The pupils inthe latter group, wishing to continue their education beyond the age of 16 (tobe able to enter university) may transfer to the sixth form of an 11-18 school,to a sixth-form college or to atertiary college which provide complete courses of secondary education. Thetertiary college offers also part-time vocational courses.

Comprehensive schools admit children of all abilities and provide awide range of secondary education for all or most of the children in adistrict.

In some areas children moving from state primary to secondaryeducation are still selected for certain types of school according to theircurrent level of academic attainment. There are grammar and secondary modernschools, to which children are allowed at the age of 11 on the basis oftheir abilities. Grammar schools provide a mainly academic education for the 11to 18 age group. Secondary modern schools offer a more general education with apractical bias up to the minimum school-leaving age of 16.

Some local education authorities run technical schools (11 – 18). They provide a general academiceducation, but place particular emphasis on technical subjects. However, as aresult of comprehensive reorganization the number of grammar and secondarymodern schools fell radically by the beginning of the 1990s.

There are special schools adaptedfor the physically and mentally handicapped children. The compulsory period ofschooling here is from 5 to 16. A number of handicapped pupils begin youngerand stay on longer. Special schools and their classes are more generouslystaffed than ordinary schools and provide, where possible. Physiotherapy,speech therapy and other forms of treatment. Special schools are normallymaintained by state, but a large proportion of special boarding schools areprivate and fee-charging.

About 5 per cent of Britain’s children attend independent or privateschools outside the free state sector. Some parents choose to pay forprivate education in spite of the existence of free state education. Theseschools charge between 300 pounds a term for day nursery pupils and 3,500pounds a term for senior boarding-school pupils.

All independent schools have to register with the Department ofEducation and Science and are subject to inspection be Her Majesty’sInspecrorate, which is absolutely independent. About 2,300 private schoolsprovide primary and secdondary education.

Around 550 most privileged and expensive schools are commonly knownas public schools.

The principal examinations taken by secondary school pupils at theage of 16 are those leading to the General Certificate of Secondary Education(GCSE). It aims to assess pupils’ ability to apply their knowledge to solvingpractical problems. It is the minimum school leaving age, the level which doesnot allow school-leavers to enter university but to start work or do somevocational training.

The chief examinations at the age of 18 are leading to the GeneralCertificate of Education Advanced level (GCE A-level). It enables sixth-formersto widen their subject areas and move to higher education. The systems ofexaminations are co-ordinated and supervisedby the Secondary ExaminationCouncil.

Admission to universities is carried out by examinationor selection(interview). Applicants for places in nearly all the universities are sentinitially to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). In theapplication an applicant can list up to five universities or colleges in orderto preference. Applications must be sent to the UCAS in the autumn term of theacademic year preceding that in which the applicant hopes to be admitted. TheUCAS sends a copy to aech of the universities or colleges named. Each univesityselects its own students.

The overall pupil-teacher ratio in state primary  and secondary schools is about 18 to 1, on ofthe most favourable in the world.

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