The School Education in Great Britain

The School Education in Great Britain

Файл : The School Education in Great Britain.doc (размер : 32,768 байт)

The School Education in Great Britain

The aim of education in general is to develop to the full the talents of both children and adults for their own benefit and that of society as a whole. It is a large-scale investment in the future.

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

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

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

The administrative functions of education in each area are in the hands of a Chief Education Officer who is assisted by a deputy and other officials.

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

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

The education reform of 1988 also gave all secondary as well as larger primary schools responsibilities for managing the major part of their budgets, including costs of staff. Schools received the right to withdraw from local education authority control if they wished.

Together with the National Curriculum, a programme of Records of Achievements was introduced. This programme contains a system of new tests for pupils at the ages of 7, 11, 13 and 16. The aim of these tests is to discover any schools or areas which are not teaching to a high enough standard. But many believe that these tests are unfair because they reflect differences in home rather than in ability.

The great majority of children (about 9 million) attend Britain’s 30,500 state schools. No tuition fees are payable in any of them. A further 600,000 go to 2,500 private schools, often referred to as the “independent sector” where the parents have to pay for their children.

In most primary and secondary state schools boys and girls are taught 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 year normally begins in early September and continues into the following July. The year 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 England or the Roman Catholic Church. They are also financed by LEAs.