Education in Great Britain

7.Life at School.

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

The autumn term starts on the first Tuesday morning in September. In July schools break up for eight weeks.

Life at school is more or less similar everywhere. Each group of 30 pupils is the responsibility of a form tutor. Each school day is divided into periods of 40-50 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 in Leads.

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, team practice, detentions.

On important occasions such as end of term or national holiday, called in English schools speech-days pupils are gathered in the assembly or hall.

Most of the pupils time is spent in a classroom equipped with desks and a blackboard nowadays often called chalkboard because normally it is brown or green. The desks are arranged in rows, the space between the rows is called an aisle.

In addition to classrooms there are laboratories for Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Technical rooms are for Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical Drawing. There are 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 Education lessons are conducted at the gymnasium, games-hall or at the playground in front of the school building. There are also language laboratories and house craft rooms. Every school has a library and a school canteen. In student common room boys and girls can relax during the breaks and lunchtime the Staff common room is for teachers. In case of illness a schoolchild may go to the sick room.

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

Young people in Britain often dont like their school uniform, especially the hats and shoes. Sometimes they do not wear the right clothes. Schools will often give them a warning the first time that this happens but then will punish them if they continue not to wear the correct uniform. Senior student dont have to wear their school uniform.

It sounds logical to say that the schools function is to train a pupils mind and his character should be formed at home. Teachers would be pleased if the problem could be solved so easily. But children dont leave their characters at home when their minds go to school. Many of them have personality problems of one kind or another.

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

Corporal punishment has recently been banned in state schools. But in most public schools it is still allowed. Caning is the usual punishment for serious misbehavior in class, damage and vandalism. Many teachers remark that standards of discipline have fallen since corporal punishment was banned by the government.

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





8.Social, Cultural and Sporting Life

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

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

There are many clubs and societies. Very popular, especially with senior pupils, is school debating society.

Most clubs meet regularly: daily, weekly or monthly, at lunch time or after school. Extracurricular activities include various outings, visits to places of interest and dances. School choirs and orchestras give regular 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. You have probably read about the Scout and Girl Guides Associations. There are some clubs run by the churches. There three pre-service organizations (the Sea Cadet Corps, Army, Cadet Force and Air Training Corps) are not very large. Their activities are related to the work of the armed forces.

But the largest youth organizations, as you probably know, are the associations of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides. There are about 1,300,000 boys and girls in them. The movement of Boy Scouts was founded by General Baden-Powell in 1908 and began to spring up in almost every town and village of the British Isles. Its aim is to help I Scout ( boy from 8 to 18) to develop into good man and useful citizen. He must be able to handle sails, to use compass, to lay and light fire out of doors, he must know first aid and develop his interest in music, literature, drama, arts and films. A Scout is friend to animals, he is 'clean in thought, word and deed. He must obey the Scout Law.

The Girl Guides Association was founded by Lord Baden-Powell in 1910. It is divided into three sections: Brownies (from 7,5 t 11), Guides (age 11 16) and Rangers (age 16 21). The programmer of training is 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 Scout Girl Guide must be friend to animals. She must be 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 young people of Great Britain. It co-operates with the National Union of Students and many other youth organizations. It organizes mass rallies and meetings, demonstrations, marches of protest, festivals.

9.Life at College and University

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

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

Good -level results in at least two subjects are necessary to get place at university. However, good exam passes alone are not enough. Universities choose their students after interviews. For all British citizens place at university brings with it grant from their local education authority.

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

After three years of study university graduate will leave with the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine, etc. Later he may continue to take Masters Degree and then Doctors Degree. Research is an important feature of university work.

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

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

In the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth centuries the so-called Redbrick universities were founded. These include London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Birmingham. 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 and some others.

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

Some of those who decide to leave school at the age of 16 may go t further education college where they can follow course in typing, engineering, town planning, cooking, or hairdressing, full-time or part-time. Further education colleges have strong ties with commerce and industry.

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

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

10.Higher education.

As has been mentioned above, there is a considerable enthusiasm for post-school education in Britain. The aim of the government is to increase the number of students who enter into higher education. The driving force for this has been mainly economic. It is assumed that the more people who study at degree level, the more likely the country is to succeed economically. A large proportion of young people about a third in England and Wales and almost half in Scotland continue in education at a more A-level beyond the age of 18. The higher education sector provides a variety of courses up to degree and postgraduate degree level, and careers out research. It increasingly caters for older students; over 50% of students in 1999 were aged 25 and over and many studied part-time. Nearly every university offers access and foundation courses before enrolment on a course of higher education of prospective students who do not have the standard entry qualifications.

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

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

All universities in England and Wales are state universities (this includes Oxford and Cambridge).

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


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

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

Oxford and Cambridge universities consist of number of colleges. Each college is different, but in many ways they are alike. Each

college has its name, its coat of arms. Each college is governed by a Master. The larger ones have more than 400 members, the smallest colleges have less than 30. Each college offers teaching in wide range of subjects. Within, the college one will normally find chapel, dining hall, library, rooms for undergraduates, fellows and the Master, and also rooms for teaching purposes.

Oxford is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It is the second largest in Britain, after I.ondon. The town of Oxford is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 911 .D. and it was popular with the early English kings (Richard Coeur de Lion' was probably here). The university's earliest charter" is dated t 1213.

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

The local car industry in East Oxford gives an important addition to the city' s outlook. There great deal of bi- cycle traffic both in Oxford and Cambridge.



The first written record of the town of Oxford dates back to the year 912. Oxford University, the oldest and most famous university in Britain, was founded in the middle of the 12th century and by 1300 there were already 1,500 students. At that time Oxford was a 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 killed many people in England. The relations between the students and the townspeople were very unfriendly and there was often fighting in the streets.

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

Oxford University has a reputation of a privileged school. Many prominent political figures of the past and present times got their education at Oxford.

The Oxford English Dictionary is well-known to students of English everywhere. It contains approximately 5,000,000 entries, and there are thirteen volumes, including a supplement.

Oxford University Press, the publishing house which produces the Oxford English Dictionary has a special department called the Oxford Word and Language Service.

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

On the banks of the Cam'4 willow trees drown their branches into the water. The colleges line the right bank. There are beautiful college gardens with green lawns and lines of tall trees. The oldest college is Peterhouse, which was founded in 1284, and the most recent is Robinson College, which was opened in 1977. The most famous is probably King' s College" because of its magnificent chapel, the largest and the most beautiful building in Cambridge and the most perfect example left of English fifteenth-century architecture. Its choir of boys and undergraduates is also very well known.

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

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

The universities have over hundred societies and clubs, 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. Every year, in summer, one of the biggest festivals of folk music in arrive in Cambridge for the Festival. Many of the fans put up their tents to stay overnight. The Cambridge Folk Festival is always very well organized and there is always good order. However, some people who live nearby do not like Festival. They say that there is too much noise, that too much rubbish is left on the ground, and that many of the fans take drugs. On the other hand, local shopkeepers are glad, because for them the Festival means a big increase in the number of customers.

The second group of universities comprises various institutions of higher education, usually with technical study, that by 1900 had sprang up in new industrial towns and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. They got to be know as civic or redbrick universities. Their buildings were made of local 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 they were given the right to award their own degrees, and so became universities themselves. In the mid-20th century they started to accept students from all over the country.

The third group consists of new universities founded after the Second World War and later in the 1960s, which saw considerable expansion in new universities. These are purpose-built institutions located in the countryside but close to towns. Examples are East Anglia, Sussex and Warwick. From their beginning they attracted students from all over the country, and provided accommodation for most of their students in site (hence their name, campus universities). They tend to emphasise relatively new academic disciplines such as social science and make greater use than other universities of teaching in small groups, often known as seminars.

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

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

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

This kind of selection procedure means that not everyone in Britain with A-level qualifications will be offered the chance of a university education. Critics argue that this creates an elitist system with the academic minority in society whilst supporters of the system argue that this enables Britain to get high-quality graduates who have specialized skills. The current system will be modified by the late 90s and into the 21st century, since secondary system is moving towards a broader-based education to replace the specialized A level approach. The reasons for this lie in Britains need to have a highly skilled and educated workforce, not just an elite few, to meet the needs of the technological era.

The independence of Britains educational institutions is most noticeable in universities. They make their own choices of who to accept on their courses and normally do this on the basis of a students A-level results and an interview. Those with better exam grades are more likely to be accepted. Virtually all degree courses last three years, however there are some four-year courses and medical and veterinary courses last five or six years. The British University year is divided into three terms, roughly eight to ten weeks each. The terms are crowded with activity and the vacations between the terms a month at Christmas, a month at Easter, and three or four months in summer are mainly periods of intellectual digestion and private study.

The courses are also full-time which really means full-time: the students are not supposed to take a lob during term time. Unless their parents are rich, they receive a state grant of money, which covers most of their expenses including the cost of accommodation. Grants and loans are intended to create opportunities for equality in education. A grants system was set up to support students through university. Grants are paid by the LEA on the basis of parental income. In the late 80s (the Conservative) government decided to stop to increase these grants, which were previously linked to inflation. Instead, students were able to borrow money in the form of a low-interest loan, which then had to be paid back after their course had finished. Critics argue that students from less affluent families had to think twice before entering the course, and that this worsened the trend which saw a 33% drop in working-class student numbers in the 1980s.

Students studying for the first degree are called undergraduates. At the end of the third year of study undergraduates sit for their examinations and take the bachelors degree. Those engaged in the study of arts such subjects as history, languages, economics or law take Bachelor of Arts (BA). Students studying pure or applied sciences such as 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 honours degrees, awarded in different classes. These are: Class I (known as a first), Class II, I (or an upper second), Class II, II (or a lower second), Class III (a third). A student who is below one of these gets a pass degree (i.e. not an honours degree).

Students who obtain their Bachelor degree can apply to take a further degree course, usually involving a mixture of exam courses and research. There are two different types of post-graduate courses the Masters Degree (MA or MSc), which takes one or two years, and the higher degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which takes two or three years. Funding for post-graduate courses is very limited, and even students with first class degrees may be unable to get a grant. Consequently many post-graduates have heavy bank loans or are working to pay their way to a higher degree.

The university system also provides a national network of extra-mural or Continuing Education Departments which offer academic courses for adults who wish to study often for the sheer pleasure of study after they have left schools of higher education.

One development in education in which Britain can claim to lead the world is the Open University. It was founded in 1969 in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and is so called because it is open to all this university does not require any formal academic qualifications to study for a degree, and many people who do not have an opportunity to be ordinary students enroll. The university is non-residential and courses are mainly taught by special written course books and by programmes on state radio and television. There are, however, short summer courses of about a week that the students have to attend and special part-time study centers where they can meet their tutors when they have problems.

As mentioned above, the British higher education system was added to in the 1970s, which saw the creation of colleges and institutions of higher education, often by merging existing colleges or by establishing new institutions. They now offer a wide range of degree, certificate and diploma courses in both science and art, and in some cases have specifically taken over the role of training teachers for the schools.

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


The word science comes from the Latin word scientia, which means knowledge. Scientists make observations and collect facts in field they work in. Then they arrange facts orderly and try to express the connection between the facts and try to work out theories. Then they have to prove the facts or theory correct and make sufficient and sound evidence. So scientific knowledge is always growing and improving.

Science has great influence on our life. It provides with base of modern technology, materials, sources of power and so on. Modern science and technology have changed our life in many different ways. During the present century our life changed greatly. Thanks to radio and television we can do a great number of jobs; it was radio and TV that made it possible to photograph the dark side of the moon and to talk with the first cosmonaut while he was orbiting the Earth. On of the wonders of our age is the electronic brain, or giant calculating machine, which can to some extent duplicate human senses. The desk computer is expected to function as your personal librarian, to carry out simple optimization computations, to control your budget or diet, play several hundred games, etc. further development of the computer is believed to lead to a situation in which most of the knowledge accepted by mankind will be stored in the computers and made accessible to anyone with the home computers. It is natural that the advent of minicomputers with extensive memories and possibilities will lead to a new higher level in information culture. Among other things, we shall be able to organize educational process in the countrys colleges and universities and also in the system of school education on a new basic. Knowledge is the most valuable wealth, and minicomputers will help us to make it accessible for everyone. Agricultural scientists develop better varieties of plants. The development of antibiotics and other drugs has helped to control many diseases. Studies in anatomy and physiology have let to amazing surgical operations and the inventions of lifesaving machines, that can do the work of such organs as heart, lungs and so on. Nuclear fission when a tremendous amount if energy is setting free is very important discovery.

Science improved the living standards, communications, promoted contact between people and government, knowledge and culture, made it possible to discover and develop new sources of energy, made it possible to prolong mans life.

But science also has some disadvantages. It produces mass culture: painting, music, literature. Some scientific inventions increase the ecological problems, provide with new diseases like AIDS, increased the danger of violent death.

The greatest scientists were very persistent and were sure in their success. Even without any serious education they made great inventions. Even during times of disappointing experiments and unacknowledgement by other scientists, they didnt give up and went on working out theories. Also they were always ready to begin everything from the very beginning. They worked a lot, and this work wasnt for money.

The aim, the main object of the greatest scientists of all times was always to find out the troth and no personal prejudices can be allowed. So the science grows and prospers and is the engine of progress.

The problem of learning languages very important today. Foreign languages are socially demanded especially at the present time when the progress in science and technology has led to an explosion of knowledge and has contributed to an overflow of information. The total knowledge of mankind is known to double every seven years. Foreign languages are needed as the main and the most efficient means of information exchange of the people of our planet.

Today English is the language of the world. Over 300 million people speak it as mother tongue. The native speakers of English live in Great Britain, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. English is one of the official 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 the official language of some thirty states which represents different cultures, but it is also the major international language for communication in such areas as science, technology, business and mass entertainment. English is one of the official languages of the United Nations Organization and other political organizations. It is the language of literature, education, modern music, international tourism.

Russia is integrating into the world community and the problem of learning English for the purpose of communication is especially urgent today.

So far there is no universal or ideal method of learning languages. Everybody has his own way. Sometimes it is boring to study grammar or to learn new words. But it is well known that reading books in the original, listening to BBC news and English speaking singers, visiting an English speaking country, communicating with the English speaking people will help a lot.

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

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