Реферат: Education in Great Britain



The British education system has much in commonwith that in Europe,


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Full-time education is compulsory for all children in the middle teenageyears. Parents are required by law to see that theirchildren receive full-time education, at school or elsewhere, between the agesof 5 and 16 in England, Scotland and Wales 4 and 16 in Northern Ireland.

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The academic year begins at the end of summer.

Compulsory education is freecharge, though parents may choose a private school and spend their money oneducation their children. About93% of pupils receive free education from public funds, while the others attendindependent schools financed by fees paid by parents.

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There are three stages ofschooling with children,moving from primary school to secondary school. The third stage providesfurther and higher education, technical college of higher education anduniversities.

There is, however, quite a lot that distinguisheseducation in Britain from the way it works in other countries. The most importantdistinguishing features are the lack of uniformity and comparatively littlecentral control. There are three separate government departments managingeducation: the Departments for Education and Employment is responsible forEngland and Wales alone; Scotland and Northern Ireland retain control over theeducation within their respective countries. None of these bodies exercisesmuch control over the details does not prescribe a detailed program oflearning, books and materials to be used, nor does it dictate the exact hoursof the school day, the exact days of holidays, school’s finance management andsuch lick. As many details possible are left to the discretion of theindividual institution.

          Manydistinctive characteristics of British education can be ascribed at leastpartly, to public school tradition. The present-day level of “grass-root”independence as well as different approach to education has been greatlyinfluenced by the philosophy that a school is its own community. The 19th centurypublic schools educated the sons of the upper and upper-middle classes and themain aim of schooling was to prepare young men to take up positions in thehigher ranks of the army, the Church, to fill top-jobs in business, the legalprofession, the civil serves and politics. To meet this aim the emphasis wasmade on “character-building” and the development of “team spirit” rather thanon academic achievement.

    Suchschools were (and still often are) mainly boarding establishments, so they hada deep and lasting influence on their pupils, consequently, public-schoolleaves for formed a closed group entry into which was difficult, the rulingelite the core of the Establishment.

    The 20thcentury brought education and its possibilities for social  advanced within everybody’s reach, and new,state schools naturally tended to copy the features of the public schools. Sotoday, in typically British fashion, learning for its own sake, rather than forany practical purpose is still been given a high value. As distinct from mostother countries, a relatively stronger emphasis is on the quality of personthat education produces rather than helping people to develop useful knowledgeand skills. In other words, the general style of teaching is to developunderstanding rather than acquiring factual knowledge and learning to applythis knowledge to specific tasks.

2.Public Schools – For Whom?

          About five per cent of children are educatedprivately in what is rather confusingly called public schools. These are theschools for the privileged. There are about 500 public schools in England andWales most of them single-sex. About half of them are for girls.

          Theschools, such as Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, are famous for theirability to lay the foundation of a successful future by giving their pupilsself- confidence, the right accent, a good academic background and, perhapsmost important of all, the right friends and contacts. People who went to oneof the public schools never call themselves school-leaves. They talk about “theold school tie” and “the old boy network”. They are just old boys or old girls.The fees are high and only very rich families can afford to pay so much. Publicschools educate the ruling class of England. One such school is Gordonstoun,which the Prince of Wales, the elder son of the Queen, left in 1968. HarrowSchool is famous as the place where Winston Churchill was educated, as well assix other Prime Ministers of England, the poet Lord Byron, the playwrightRichard Sheridan and many other prominent people.

         Public schools are free from state control. They are independent. Mostof them are boarding schools. The education is of a high quality; thediscipline is very strict. The system of education is the same: the most ablego ahead.

         These schools accept pupils from preparatory schools at about 11 or 13years of age usually on the basis of an examination, known as Common Entrance.There are three sittings of Common Entrance every year in February, June andNovember. Scholarships are rarely awarded on the results of Common Entrance.The fundamental requirements are very high. At 18 most public school-leaves,gain entry to universities.


         Great Britain does not have a written constitution, so there are noconstitutional provisions for education. The system of education is determinedby the National Education Acts.

         Schools in England are supported from public funds paid to the localeducation authorities. These local education authorities are responsible fororganizing the schools in their areas.

         Let’s outline the basic features of public education in Britain.Firstly, there are wide variations between one part of the country and another.For most educational purposes England and Wales are treated as one unit, thoughthe system in Wales is a little different from that of England. Scotland andNorthern Ireland have their own education systems.

         Secondly, education in Britain mirrors the country’s social system: itis class-divided and selective. The first division is between those who pay andthose who do not pay. The majority of schools in Britain are supported bypublic funds and the education provided is free. They are maintained schools,but there are also a considerable number of public schools. Parents have to payfees to send their children to these schools. The fees are high. As matter offact, only very rich families can send their children to public schools. Insome parts of Britain they still keep the old system of grammar schools, whichare selective. But most secondary schools in Britain, which are calledcomprehensive schools, are not selective – you don’t have to pass an exam to gothere.

         Another important feature of schooling in Britain is the variety ofopportunities offered to schoolchildren. The English school syllabus is dividedinto Arts and Sciences, which determine the division of the secondary schoolpupils into study groups: a Science pupil will study Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics,Economics, Technical Drawing, Biology, geography; an Art pupil will do EnglishLanguage and Literature, History, foreign languages, Music, Art, Drama. Besidesthese subjects they must do some general education subjects like PhysicalEducation, Home Economics for girls, and Technical subjects for boys, GeneralScience. Computers play an important part in education. The system of optionsexists in all kinds of secondary schools.

          TheNational Curriculum, which was introduced in 1988, sets out detail the subjectsthat children should study and the levels of achievement they should reach bythe ages of 7, 11, 14, and 16, when they are tested. Until that yearheadmasters and headmistresses of schools were given a great deal of freedom indeciding what subjects to teach and how to do it in their schools so that therewas really no central, control at all over individual schools. The NationalCurriculum does not apply in Scotland, where each school decides what subjectsit will teach.

          Afterthe age of 16 a growing number of school students are staying on at school,some until 18 or 19, the age of entry into higher education in universities,Polytechnics or colleges. Schools in Britain provide careers guidance. Aspecially trained person called careers advisor or careers officer helps schoolstudents to decide what job they want to do and how they can achieve it.

         British university courses are rather short, generally lasting for 3years. The cost of education depends on the college or university and specialwhich one chooses.

4.Education in Britain.




nursery school playgroup or kindergarten



reception class

year 1

infant school



year 2

year 3

year 4

year 5

year 6

primary school

junior school






year 7

year 8

year 9

year 10

year 11

secondary school






year 12

year 13

sixth form college



first year (fresher)

second year

third/final year

University or Polytechnic







5.Pre-primary and Primary Education.

          In some of England there are nursery schools forchildren under 5 years of age. Some children between two and five receiveeducation in nursery classes or in infants’ classes in primary schools. Manychildren attend informal pre-school playgroups organized by parents in privatehomes. Nursery schools are staffed with teachers and students in training.There are all kinds of toys to keep the children busy from 9 o’clock in themorning till 4 o’clock in the afternoon while their parents are at work. Herethe babies play, lunch and sleep. They can run about and play in safety withsomeone keeping an eye on them.

          Forday nurseries, which remain open all the year round, the parents pay accordingto their income. The local education authority’s nurseries are free. But onlyabout three children in 100 can go to them: there aren’t enough places and thewaiting lists are rather long.

          Mostchildren start school at five in primary school. A primary school may bedivided into two parts-infants and juniors. At infants school reading, writingand arithmetic are taught for about 20 minutes a day during the first year,gradually increasing to about 2 hours in their last year. There is usually nowritten timetable. Much time is spent in modeling from clay or drawing, readingor singing.

          Bythe time children are ready for the junior school they will be able to read andwrite, do simple addition and subtraction of numbers.

          Atseven children go on from the infants’ school to the junior school. This marksthe transition from play to “real work”. The children have set periods ofarithmetic, reading and composition which are all Eleven Plus subjects.History, Geography, Nature Study, Art and Music, Physical Education, Swimmingare also on the timetable.

Pupils are streamed, according to their ability tolearn into, A, B, C and D streams. The least gifted are in the D stream.Formerly towards the end of their fourth year the pupils wrote their ElevenPlus Examination. The hated 11 + examination was a selective procedure on whichnot only the pupil’s future schooling but their future careers depended. Theabolition of selection at Eleven plus Examination brought to life comprehensiveschools where pupils can get secondary education.

6.Secondary Education.

          Themajority of state secondary school pupils in England and Wales attendcomprehensive schools. These largely take pupils without reference to abilityor aptitude and provide a wide range of secondary education for all or mostchildren in a district. Schools take those, who are the 11 to 18 age-range,middle schools (8 to 14), and schools with an age-range from 11 to 16. Mostother state-educated children in England attend grammar or secondary modern schools,to which they are allocated after selection procedures at the age of 11.

         Before 1965 a selective system of secondary education existed inEngland. Under that system a child of 11 had to take an exam, which consistedof intelligence tests covering linguistic, mathematical and general knowledgewhich was to be taken by children in the last year of primary schooling. Theobject was to select between academic and non-academic children. Those who didwell in the examination went to a grammar school, while those who failed wentto a secondary modern school and technical college. Grammar schools preparedchildren for national examinations such as the GCE at O level and A-level.These examinations qualified children for the better jobs, and for entry highereducation and the professions. The education in secondary modern schools wasbased on practical schooling, which would allow entry into a variety of skilledand unskilled jobs.

          Manypeople complained that it was wrong for a person’s future to be decided at a soyoung age. The children who went to “secondary moderns” were seen as“failures”. More over, it was noticed that the children who passed this examwere almost all from middle-class families. The Labor Party, returned to powerin 1965, abolished the 11+ and tried to introduce the non-selective educationsystem in the form of “comprehensive” schools, that would provide schooling forchildren of all ability levels and from all social backgrounds, ideally underone roof. The final choice between selective and non-selective schooling,though, was left to LEAS that controlled the provision of school education inthe country. Some authorities decided for comprehensive, while others retainedgrammar schools and secondary moderns.

          Inthe late 1980s the Conservative government introduced another major change.Schools cloud now decide whether to remain as LEA-maintained schools or to“opt-out” of the control of the LEA and put themselves directly under thecontrol of the government department. These “grant-maintained” schools werefinanced directly by central government. This did not mean, however, that therewas more central control: grant-maintained schools did not have to ask anybodyelse about how to spend their money.

          Arecent development in education administration in England and Wales in theSchool Standards and Framework Act passed in July 1998. The Act establishedthat from 1.09.1999 all state school education authorities with the ending ofthe separate category of grant maintained status.

         There are some grant-maintained or voluntary aided schools, called CityTechnology Colleges. In 1999 there were 15 City Technology Colleges in England.These are non-fee-paying independent secondary schools created by a partnershipof government and private sector sponsors. The promoters own or lease theschools, employ teachers and make substantial contributions to the costs ofbuilding and equipment. The colleges teach the NC, but with an emphasis onmathematics, technology and science.

          So,today three types of state schools mainly provide secondary education:secondary modern schools grammar schools and comprehensive schools. Thereshould also be mentioned another type of schools, called specialist schools.The specialist school programmer in England was launched in 1993. Specialistschools are state secondary schools specializing in technology, science andmathematics; modern foreign languages; sports; arts.

         State schools are absolutely free (including all textbooks and exercisebooks) and generally co-educational.

         Under the NC a greater emphasis at the secondary level is laid onscience and technology. Accordingly, ten subjects have to be studied: English,history, geography, mathematics, science, a modern foreign language,technology, music, art and physical education. For special attention there ofthese subjects (called “core subjects”): English, science, mathematics andseven other subjects are called “foundation or statuary subjects”. Besides, subjectsare grouped into departments and teachers work in teams and to plan work.

          Mostcommon departments are:

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Humanities Departments: geography, history, economics, Englishliterature, drama, social science;

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Science Department: chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics;

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Language Department: German, French, English;

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Craft Design and TechnologyDepartments: information andcommunications technology, computing, home economics and photography.

          Thelatter brings together the practical subjects like cooing, woodwork, sewing,and metalwork with the new technology used in those fields. Students can designa T-shirt on computer using graphics software and make-up the T-shirt design.Students can also look at way to market their product, thus linking alldisciplines. This subject’s area exemplifies the process approach to learningintroduced by the NC.

          Itis worth mentioning here the growing importance of personal and SocialEducation. Since the 1970s there has been an emphasis on “pastoral” care,education in areas related to life skills such as health (this includes lookingat drug, discussing physical changes related to poverty, sex education andrelationship). There are usually one or two lessons a week, from primary schoolthrough to sixth form and they are an essential part of the school’s aim toprepare students to life in society.

         Education in Britain is not solely concentrated on academic study. Greatvalue is placed on visits and activities like organizing the school club orfield trips, which are educational in a more general sense. The organization ofthese activities by teachers is very much taken for granted in the Britishschool system. Some teachers give up their free time, evenings and weekends todo this “unpaid” work. At Christmas teachers organized concerts, parties andgeneral festivities. It is also considered a good thing to be “seen” to bedoing this extra work since it is fairly essential for securing promotion inthe school hierarchy.

         Classes of pupils are called “forms” (though it has recently becomecommon to refer to “years”) and are numbered from one to beginning with firstform. Nearly all schools work a five-day week and are closed on Saturdays. Theday starts at nine o’clock and finishes between three and four. The lunch breakusually lasts about an hour-and-a-quarter. Nearly two-thirds of pupils havelunch provided by the school. Parents pay for this except for the 15 per centwho are rated poor enough and have it for free. Other children either go homefor lunch or take sandwiches.

         Schools usually divide their year into tree “terms” starting at thebeginning of September:





(about 2weeks)





(about 2 weeks)





(about 6 weeks)

         Passage from one year to the next one is automatic. At the age of 14pupils are tested in English, mathematics and science, as well as in statutorysubjects. At that same age in the third or forth pupils begin to choose theirexam subjects and work for two years to prepare for their qualifications. Theexams are usually taken in fifth form at the age of 16, which is aschool-leaving age. The actual written exams are set by outside examiners, butthey must be approved by the government and comply with national guidelines.There are several examination boards in Britain and each school decided thatboard’s exam its pupils take. Most exams last for two hours, marks are givenfor each exams separately and are graded from A to G (grades A, B, C areconsidered to be “good” marks).

          16are an important age for school-leaves because they have to make key decisionsas to their future lives and careers. There is a number of choices for them.

7.Life at School.

          Theschool year is divided into terms, three months each, named after seasons:autumn term, winter term and spring term.

          Theautumn term starts on the first Tuesday morning in September. In July schoolsbreak up for eight weeks.

          Lifeat school is more or less similar everywhere. Each group of 30 pupils is theresponsibility of a form tutor. Each school day is divided into periods of40-50 minutes, time for various lessons with 10-20 minutes breaks between them.It might be interesting for you to see the “Bell Times” at Lawnswood school inLeads.

          Bell Times

8.40 a.m. – School begins

8.45 a.m. – Registration

8.50 a.m. – Assembly bell

9.00 a.m. – Pupils move to lessons

9.05 a.m. – Lesson 1

9.45 a.m. — Lesson 2

10.25 a.m. – Lesson 3

11.25 a.m. – Lesson 3

11.05 a.m. – Break

11.25 a.m. – Pupils move to lessons

11.30 a.m. – Lesson 4

12.10 p.m. – Lesson 5

12.50 p.m. – Lunch time

1.40 p.m. – Afternoon school begins

1.45 p.m. – Registration

1.50 p.m. – Lesson 6

2.30 p. m. Lesson 7

3.10 p.m. – End of normal lessons

3.10 p.m. – Start of additional lessons, clubs, societies, teampractice, detentions.

          Onimportant occasions such as end of term or nationalholiday,called in English schools speech-dayspupils are gathered in the assembly or hall.

          Mostof the pupil’s time is spent in a classroom equipped with desks and ablackboard nowadays often called chalkboard because normally it is brown orgreen. The desks are arranged in rows, the space between the rows is called anaisle.

          Inaddition to classrooms there are laboratories for Physics, Chemistry andBiology. Technical rooms are for Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical Drawing. Thereare rooms for computer studies. Many young people use them for school exercise.They are now able to write their own games as well. The Physical Educationlessons are conducted at the gymnasium, games-hall or at the playground infront of the school building. There are also language laboratories and housecraft rooms. Every school has a library and a school canteen. In student commonroom boys and girls can relax during the breaks and lunchtime the Staff commonroom is for teachers. In case of illness a schoolchild may go to the sick room.

          Pupilsat many secondary schools Britain have to wear a school uniform. This usuallymeans a white blouse for girls (perhaps with a tie), with a dark-colored skirtand pullover. Boys wear a shirt and tie, dark trousers and dark-coloredpullovers. Pupils also wear blazers-a kind of jacket-with the school badge onthe pocket. They often have to wear some kind of hat on the way to and fromschool-caps for boys and berets or some other kind of hat for girls shoes areusually black or brown. And no high heels!

          Youngpeople in Britain often don’t like their school uniform, especially the hatsand shoes. Sometimes they do not wear the right clothes. Schools will oftengive them a warning the first time that this happens but then will punish themif they continue not to wear the correct uniform. Senior student don’t have towear their school uniform.

          Itsounds logical to say that the school’s function is to train a pupil’s mind andhis character should be formed at home. Teachers would be pleased if theproblem could be solved so easily. But children don’t leave their characters athome when their minds go to school. Many of them have personality problems ofone kind or another.

          Thepupils who violate various school regulations may be punished in the followingways: for lateness, truancy they may be reported to the Headmaster or named inschool assembly. They may be detained in school after ordinary hours.

          Corporalpunishment has recently been banned in state schools. But in most publicschools it is still allowed. Caning is the usual punishment for seriousmisbehavior in class, damage and vandalism. Many teachers remark thatstandards of discipline have fallen since corporal punishment was banned by thegovernment.           

          You may want to know whether there are any rewards andprizes for the best pupils. Of course, there are. Each school has its system ofrewards: medals and prizes.

8.Social,Cultural and Sporting Life

Each school or sixth-form college has its School or College Council. Ithelps to plan the policy for the whole school. It organizes the social andcultural life at the school.

School Councils in many schools and colleges are chaired by a studentand have a majority of student members. They rundiscos and parties, stage drama productions and decoratethe student common room. Music-making is part of school life. Some studentshelp in local hospitals, homes for the handicapped and elderly people.

There are many clubs and societies. Very popular, especially with seniorpupils, is аschool debating society.

Most clubs meet regularly: daily, weekly or monthly, at lunchtime or after school. Extracurricular activities include various outings,visits to places of interest and dances. School choirs and orchestras giveregular concerts. Sports are very popular too: running, jogging, swimming,self-defence, football, soccer, badminton, aerobics, rugby, etc.

There are many national voluntary youth organizations in Britain. Youhave probably read about the Scout and Girl Guides  Associations. There are some clubs run by thechurches. There three pre-service organizations (the Sea Cadet Corps, Army,Cadet Force and Air Training Corps) are not very large. Their activities arerelated to the work of the armed forces.

But the largest youth organizations, as you probably know, are theassociations of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides. There are about 1,300,000boys and girls in them. The movement of Boy Scouts was founded by GeneralBaden-Powell in 1908 and began to spring up in almost every town and village ofthe British Isles. Its aim is to help I аScout (аboyfrom 8 to 18) to develop into аgood man and аuseful citizen. He must beable to handle sails, to use аcompass, to lay and light аfire out of doors, he must know first aid and develop his interest inmusic, literature, drama, arts and films. A Scout is аfriend to animals, he is 'clean in thought, word and deed’. He mustobey the Scout Law.

The Girl Guides Association was founded by Lord Baden-Powell in 1910. Itis divided into three sections: Brownies (from 7,5 tо11), Guides (age 11 — 16) and Rangers (age 16 — 21). The programmer of trainingis planned to develop intelligence and practical skills inculding cookery,needle-work and childcare. The training and the Law are much the same as those of the Scouts. Like аScout аGirl Guide must be аfriend to animals. She mustbe ‘pure in thought, word and deed’. She must be loyal to God and the Queen.

There are several youth organizations associated with political parties.The Youth Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (YCND) unites thousands of youngpeople of Great Britain. It co-operates with the NationalUnion of Students and many other youth organizations. It organizes mass ralliesand meetings, demonstrations, marches of protest, festivals.

9.Life at College and University


The academic year in Britain' s universities, Polytechnics, Colleges ofEducation is divided into three terms, which usually run from the beginning ofOctober to the middle of December, from the middle of January to the end ofMarch, and from the middle of April to the end of June or the beginning ofJuly.

There are about one hundred universities in Britain. The oldest andbest-known universities are located in Oxford, Cambridge, London, Leeds,Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Southampton, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham.

Good А-level results in at least two subjects arenecessary to get аplace at аuniversity. However, good exam passes alone are not enough. Universities choosetheir students after interviews. For all British citizens аplace at аuniversity brings with it аgrant from their local education authority.

English universities greatly differ from each other. They differ in dateof foundation, size, history, tradition, general organization, methods ofinstruction, way of student life.

After three years of study аuniversity graduatewill leave with the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine,etc. Later he may continue to take аMaster’s Degree and then аDoctor’s Degree. Researchis an important feature of university work.

The two intellectual eyes of Britain — Oxford and Cam- bridgeUniversities — date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The Scottish universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Аberdeen and Edinburgh date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

 In the nineteenth and the earlypart of the twentieth centuries the so-called Redbrick universities werefounded. These include London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield andBirmingham. During the late sixties and early seventies some 20 'new'universities were set up. Sometimes they are called 'concrete and glass'universities. Among them are the universities of Sussex, York, East Anglia andsome others.

During these years the Government set up thirty Polytechnics. ThePolytechnics, like the universities, offer first andhigher degrees. Some of them offer full-time and sandwich courses. Colleges ofEducation provide two-year courses in teacher education or sometimes threeyears if the graduate specializes in some particular subject.

Some of those who decide to leave school at the age of 16 may go tоаfurther education college where they canfollow аcourse in typing, engineering, town planning, cooking, or hairdressing,full-time or part-time. Further education colleges have strong ties withcommerce and industry.

There is an interesting form of studies which is called the OpenUniversity. It is intended for people who study in their own free time and whoattend" lectures by watching television and listening to the radio. Theykeep in touch by phone and letter with their tutors and attend summer schools.The Open University students have nоformalqualifications and would be unable to enter ordinary universities.

Some 80,000 overseas students study at British universities or furthereducation colleges or train in nursing, law, banking or in industry.


10.Higher education.

As has been mentioned above, thereis a considerable enthusiasm for post-school education in Britain. The aim ofthe government is to increase the number of students who enter into highereducation. The driving force for this has been mainly economic.  It is assumed that the more people who studyat degree level, the more likely the country is to succeed economically. Alarge proportion of young people – about a third in England and Wales andalmost half in Scotland – continue in education at a more A-level beyond the ageof 18. The higher education sector provides a variety of courses up to degreeand postgraduate degree level, and careers out research. It increasingly catersfor older students; over 50% of students in 1999 were aged 25 and over and manystudied part-time. Nearly every university offers access and foundation coursesbefore enrolment on a course of higher education of prospective students who donot have the standard entry qualifications.

Higher educationin Britain is traditionally associated with universities, though education ofUniversity standard is also given in other institutions such as colleges and institutes of highereducation, which have the power to award their own degrees.

The onlyexception to state universities is the small University of Buckingham whichconcentrates on law, and which draws most of its students of overseas.

All universitiesin England and Wales are state universities (this includes Oxford andCambridge).

Englishuniversities can be broadly classified into three types. First come the ancientuniversities of Oxford and Cambridge that date from the 12th centuryand that until 1828 were virtually the only English universities.



Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest and most prestigious universities inGreat Britain. They are often called collectively Oxbridge. Both universitiesare independent. Only the education elite go to Oxford or Cambridge. Most oftheir students are former public schools leavers.

The normal length of the degree course is three years, after which thestudents take the Degree of Bachelor of Arts (В.А.). Some courses, such as languages or medicine, bay be one or two yearslonger. The students may work for other degrees as well. The degrees areawarded at public degree ceremonies'. Oxford and Cambridge cling to theirtraditions, such as the use of Latin at degree ceremonies. Full academic dressis worn at examinations.

Oxford and Cambridge universities consist of аnumber of colleges. Each college is different, but in many ways theyare alike. Each

collegehas its name, its coat of arms. Each college is governed bya  Master. The larger ones have more than400 members, the smallest colleges have less than 30. Each college offersteaching in аwide range of subjects. Within, the collegeone will normally find аchapel, аdining hall, аlibrary, rooms forundergraduates, fellows and the Master, and also rooms for teaching purposes.

Oxford is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It is the secondlargest in Britain, after I.ondon. The town of Oxford is first mentioned in theAnglo-Saxon Chronicle in 911 А.D. and it was popular withthe early English kings (Richard Coeur de Lion' was probably here). Theuniversity's earliest charter" is dated tо1213.

There are now twenty-four colleges for men, five for women and anotherfive which have both men and women members, many from overseas studying forhigher degrees. Among the oldest colleges are University College, All Souls andChrist Church.

The local car industry in East Oxford gives an important addition to thecity' s outlook. There аgreat deal of bi- cycletraffic both in Oxford and Cambridge.


The first written record of thetown of Oxford dates back to the year 912. Oxford University, the oldest andmost famous university in Britain, was founded in the middle of the 12thcentury and by 1300 there were already 1,500 students. At that time Oxford wasa wealthy town, but by the middle of the 14th century it was poorer,because of a decline in trade and because of the terrible plague, which killedmany people in England. The relations between the students and the townspeoplewere very unfriendly and there was often fighting in the streets.

Nowadays there are about 12,000students in Oxford and over 1000 teachers. Outstanding scientists work in thenumerous colleges of the University teaching and doing research work inphysics, chemistry, mathematics, cybernetics, literature, modern and ancientlanguages, art and music, psychology.

Oxford University has a reputationof a privileged school. Many prominent political figures of the past andpresent times got their education at Oxford.

The Oxford English Dictionary iswell-known to students of English everywhere. It contains approximately5,000,000 entries, and there are thirteen volumes, including a supplement.

Oxford UniversityPress, the publishing house which produces the Oxford English Dictionary has aspecial department called the Oxford Word and Language Service.

Cambridge University started during the 13th century and grew untiltoday. Now there are more than thirty colleges.

Onthe banks of the Cam'4 willow trees drown their branches into the water. Thecolleges line the right bank. There are beautiful college gardens with greenlawns and lines of tall trees. The oldest college is Peterhouse, which wasfounded in 1284, and the most recent is Robinson College, which was opened in1977. The most famous is probably King' s College" because of itsmagnificent chapel, the largest and the most beautiful building in Cambridgeand the most perfect example left of English fifteenth-century architecture.Its choir of boys and undergraduates is also very well known.

TheUniversity was only for men until 1871, when the first women' s college wasopened. In the 1970s, most col- leges opened their doors to both men and women.Almost all colleges are now mixed.

Мапуgreat men studied at Cambridge, among them Desiderius Erasmus", the greatDutch scholar, Roger Bacon", the philosopher, Milton, the poet,Oliver Cromwell", the soldier, Newton, the scientist, and Kapitza, thefamous Russian physicist.

Theuniversities have over аhundred societies andclubs, enough for every interest one could imagine. Sport is part of students'life at Oxbridge. The most popular sports are rowing and punting.


The Cambridge Folk Festival. Everyyear, in summer, one of the biggest festivals of folk music in arrive inCambridge for the Festival. Many of the fans put up their tents to stayovernight. The Cambridge Folk Festival is always very well organized and thereis always good order. However, some people who live nearby do not likeFestival. They say that there is too much noise, that too much rubbish is lefton the ground, and that many of the fans take drugs. On the other hand, localshopkeepers are glad, because for them the Festival means a big increase in thenumber of customers. 

The secondgroup of universities comprises various institutions of higher education,usually with technical study, that by 1900 had sprang up in new industrialtowns and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. They gotto be know as civic or ‘redbrick’ universities. Their buildings were made oflocal material, often brick, in contrast to the stone of older universities,hence the name, ‘redbrick’. These universities catered mostly for local people.At first they prepared students for London University degree, but later theywere given the right to award their own degrees, and so became universitiesthemselves. In the mid-20th century they started to accept studentsfrom all over the country.

The third groupconsists of new universities founded after the Second World War and later inthe 1960s, which saw considerable expansion in new universities. These arepurpose-built institutions located in the countryside but close to towns.Examples are East Anglia, Sussex and Warwick. From their beginning theyattracted students from all over the country, and provided accommodation formost of their students in site (hence their name, ‘campus’ universities). Theytend to emphasise relatively ‘new’ academic disciplines such as social scienceand make greater use than other universities of teaching in small groups, oftenknown as ‘seminars’.

Among thisgroup there are also universities often called ‘never civic’ universities.These were originally technical colleges set up by local authorities in thefirst half of this century. Their upgrading to university status took place intwo waves. The first wave occurred in the mid-1960s, when ten of them werepromoted in this way.

Another thirtybecame ‘polytechnics’, in the early 1970s, which meant that along with theirformer courses they were allowed to teach degree courses (the degrees beingawarded by a national body). Polytechnics were originally expected to offer abroader-based, more practical and vocational education than the universities.In the early 1990s most of the polytechnics became universities. So there arenow 80 universities and a further 19 colleges and institutions of highereducation in the UK. The country has moved rapidly from a rather elitist systemto one which is much more open, if not yet a mass system of higher education.

Highereducation in England and Wales is highly selective; i.e. entrance to Britishuniversities is via a strict selection process is based on an interview.Applications for first degree courses are usually made through the Universitiesand Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Afterthe interview a potential student is offered a place on the basis of GCEA-level exam results. If the student does not get the grades specified in theoffer, a place can not be taken up. Some universities, such as Oxford andCambridge, have an entrance exam before the interview stage.

          Thiskind of selection procedure means that not everyone in Britain with A-level qualificationswill be offered the chance of a university education. Critics argue that thiscreates an elitist system with the academic minority in society whilstsupporters of the system argue that this enables Britain to get high-qualitygraduates who have specialized skills. The current system will be modified bythe late 90s and into the 21st century, since secondary system ismoving towards a broader-based education to replace the specialized ‘A’ levelapproach. The reasons for this lie in Britain’s need to have a highly skilledand educated workforce, not just an elite few, to meet the needs of thetechnological era.

Theindependence of Britain’s educational institutions is most noticeable inuniversities. They make their own choices of who to accept on their courses andnormally do this on the basis of a student’s A-level results and an interview.Those with better exam grades are more likely to be accepted. Virtually alldegree courses last three years, however there are some four-year courses and medicaland veterinary courses last five or six years. The British University year isdivided into three terms, roughly eight to ten weeks each. The terms arecrowded with activity and the vacations between the terms – a month atChristmas, a month at Easter, and three or four months in summer – are mainlyperiods of intellectual digestion and private study.

Thecourses are also ‘full-time’ which really means full-time: the students are notsupposed to take a lob during term time. Unless their parents are rich, theyreceive a state grant of money, which covers most of their expenses includingthe cost of accommodation. Grants and loans are intended to createopportunities for equality in education. A grants system was set up to supportstudents through university. Grants are paid by the LEA on the basis ofparental income. In the late 80s (the Conservative) government decided to stopto increase these grants, which were previously linked to inflation. Instead,students were able to borrow money in the form of a low-interest loan, whichthen had to be paid back after their course had finished. Critics argue thatstudents from less affluent families had to think twice before entering thecourse, and that this worsened the trend which saw a 33% drop in working-classstudent numbers in the 1980s.

Students studying for thefirst degree are called undergraduates. At the end of the third year of studyundergraduates sit for their examinations and take the bachelor’s degree. Thoseengaged in the study of arts such subjects as history, languages, economics orlaw take Bachelor of Arts (BA). Students studying pure or applied sciences suchas medicine, dentistry, technology or agriculture get Bachelor of Science(BSc). When they have been awarded the degree, they are known as graduates.Most people get honoursdegrees, awarded indifferent classes. These are: Class I (known as ‘a first’), Class II, I (or ‘anupper second’), Class II, II (or ‘a lower second’), Class III (‘a third’). Astudent who is below one of these gets a pass degree (i.e. not an honoursdegree).

Students whoobtain their Bachelor degree can apply to take a further degree course, usuallyinvolving a mixture of exam courses and research. There are two different typesof post-graduate courses – the Master’s Degree (MA or MSc), which takes one ortwo years, and the higher degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which takes twoor three years. Funding for post-graduate courses is very limited, and evenstudents with first class degrees may be unable to get a grant. Consequentlymany post-graduates have heavy bank loans or are working to pay their way to ahigher degree.

The university system alsoprovides a national network of extra-mural or ‘Continuing Education’Departments which offer academic courses for adults who wish to study – oftenfor the sheer pleasure of study – after they have left schools of highereducation.

One developmentin education in which Britain can claim to lead the world is the OpenUniversity. It was founded in 1969 in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and is socalled because it is open to all – this university does not require any formalacademic qualifications to study for a degree, and many people who do not havean opportunity to be ‘ordinary’ students enroll. The university is non-residentialand courses are mainly taught by special written course books and by programmeson state radio and television. There are, however, short summer coursesof about a week that the students have to attend and special part-time studycenters where they can meet their tutors when they have problems.

As mentionedabove, the British higher education system was added to in the 1970s, which sawthe creation of colleges and institutions of higher education, often by mergingexisting colleges or by establishing new institutions. They now offer a widerange of degree, certificate and diploma courses in both science and art, andin some cases have specifically taken over the role of training teachers forthe schools.

There are alsoa variety of other British higher institutions, which offer higher education.Some, like the Royal College of Arts, the Cornfield Institute of Technology andvarious Business Schools, have university status, while others, such asagricultural, drama and arts colleges like the Royal Academy of Dramatics Arts(RADA) and the Royal college of Music provide comparable courses. All theseinstitutions usually have a strong vocational aspect in their programmes, whichfills a specialized role in higher education.


          The word “science” comes from the Latinword “scientia”, which means “knowledge”.Scientists make observations and collect facts in field they work in. Then theyarrange facts orderlyandtry to express the connectionbetween the facts and try to work out theories. Then they have to prove thefacts or theory correct and make sufficient and sound evidence. So scientificknowledge is always growing and improving.

          Science has great influence on ourlife. It provides with base of modern technology, materials, sources of powerand so on. Modern science and technology have changed our life in manydifferent ways. During the present century our life changed greatly. Thanks toradio and television we can do a great number of jobs; it was radio and TV thatmade it possible to photograph the dark side of the moon and to talk with thefirst cosmonaut while he was orbiting the Earth. On of the wonders of our ageis the “electronic brain”, or giant calculating machine, which can to someextent duplicate human senses. The desk computer is expected to function asyour personal librarian, to carry out simple optimization computations, tocontrol your budget or diet, play several hundred games, etc. furtherdevelopment of the computer is believed to lead to a situation in which most ofthe knowledge accepted by mankind will be stored in the computers and madeaccessible to anyone with the home computers. It is natural that the advent ofminicomputers with extensive memories and possibilities will lead to a newhigher level in information culture. Among other things, we shall be able toorganize educational process in the country’s colleges and universities andalso in the system of school education on a new basic. Knowledge is the mostvaluable wealth, and minicomputers will help us to make it accessible foreveryone. Agricultural scientists develop better varieties of plants. Thedevelopment of antibiotics and other drugs has helped to control many diseases.Studies in anatomy and physiology have let to amazing surgical operations andthe inventions of lifesaving machines, that can do the work of such organs asheart, lungs and so on. Nuclear fission when a tremendous amount if energy issetting free is very important discovery.

          Science improved the living standards,communications, promoted contact between people and government, knowledge andculture, made it possible to discover and develop new sources of energy, madeit possible to prolong man’s life.

          But science also has somedisadvantages. It produces mass culture: painting, music, literature. Somescientific inventions increase the ecological problems, provide with newdiseases like AIDS, increased the danger of violent death.

          The greatest scientists were verypersistent and were sure in their success. Even without any serious educationthey made great inventions. Even during times of disappointing experiments andunacknowledgement by other scientists, they didn’t give up and went on workingout theories. Also they were always ready to begin everything from the very beginning. They worked a lot,and this work wasn’t for money.

          The aim, the main object of thegreatest scientists of all times was always to find out the troth and nopersonal prejudices can be allowed. So the science grows and prospers and isthe engine of progress.

          The problem of learning languages veryimportant today. Foreign languages are socially demanded especially at thepresent time when the progress in science and technology has led to anexplosion of knowledge and has contributed to an overflow of information. Thetotal knowledge of mankind is known to double every seven years. Foreignlanguages are needed as the main and the most efficient means of informationexchange of the people of our planet.

          Today English is the language of theworld. Over 300 million people speak it as mother tongue. The native speakersof English live in Great Britain, the United States of America, Australia andNew Zealand.  English is one of theofficial languages in the Irish Republic, Canada, the South African Republic.As the second language it is used in the former British and  US colonies.

          It is not only the national or theofficial language of some thirty states which represents different cultures,but it is also the major international language for communication in such areasas science, technology, business and mass entertainment. English is one of theofficial languages of the United Nations Organization and other politicalorganizations. It is the language of literature, education, modern music,international tourism.

          Russia is integrating into the worldcommunity and the problem of learning English for the purpose of communicationis especially urgent today.

          So far there is no universal or idealmethod of learning languages. Everybody has his own way. Sometimes it is boringto study grammar or to learn new words. But it is well known that reading booksin the original, listening to BBC news and English speaking singers, visitingan English speaking country, communicating with the English speaking peoplewill help a lot.

           When learning a foreign language you learn theculture and history of the native speakers.      






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