Education in the United Kingdom

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Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England; the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for Scotland,[1] Wales[2] and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Stages[edit]

In each country there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education (FE) and higher education (HE).[3] The law states that full time education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland) and 16, the compulsory school age (CSA).[3] In England, compulsory education or training has been extended to 18 for those born after 1 September 1997. This full-time education does not need to be at a school and a number of parents choose to home educate.[4] Prior to the compulsory school age, children can be educated at nursery if parents wish though there is only limited government funding for such places.[5] Further Education is non-compulsory, and covers non-advanced education which can be taken at further (including tertiary) education colleges and Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The fifth stage, Higher Education, is study beyond A levels or BTECs (and their equivalent) which, for most full-time students, takes place in universities and other Higher Education institutions and colleges.

The National Curriculum (NC), established in 1988, provides a framework for education in England and Wales between the ages of 5 and 18. Though the National Curriculum is not compulsory it is followed by most state schools, but some private schools, academies, free schools and home educators design their own curricula.[6] In Scotland the nearest equivalent is the Curriculum for Excellence programme, and in Northern Ireland there is something known as the common curriculum.[5] The Scottish qualifications the National 4/5s, Highers and Advanced Highers are highly similar to the English Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced Level (A2) courses.[7]

Rankings[edit]

Traditionally a high-performing country in international rankings of education, the UK has stagnated in recent years in such rankings as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests; in 2013 for reading and maths the country as a whole stood in the middle-rankings, a position broadly similar to three years before.[8] Within the UK Scotland performed marginally better than England; both were slightly ahead of Northern Ireland and markedly ahead of Wales.[9] However these results contradict those of the education and publishing firm Pearson published in 2014, which placed the UK in second place across European countries and sixth worldwide; these rankings took account of higher-education graduate rates, which may have accounted for the higher ranking than in PISA.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Scottish Government scotland.gov.uk, accessed 6 June 2009
  2. ^ About wales.gov.uk, accessed 6 June 2009
  3. ^ a b "EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE UK" (PDF). British Government. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Guardian article
  5. ^ a b "THE EDUCATION SYSTEMS OF ENGLAND & WALES, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND" (PDF). British Council. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Education Otherwise website
  7. ^ "The British Education System". HMC Projects. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Coughlan, Sean. "UK makes no progress in Pisa tests". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Pisa ranks Wales' education the worst in the UK". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Coughlan, Sean. "UK 'second best education in Europe'". BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]