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British education system history


Education in England is the responsibility of the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Local Authorities are responsible for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a local level. The system is divided into:-

  • Early Years (Ages 3-4),
  • Primary Education (Ages 4-11),
  • Secondary Education ( Ages 11-18), and
  • Tertiary Education (Ages 18+)

Full time education is compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 17 (from 2013, and up to 18 from 2015), either at school or otherwise, with children beginning primary education during the school year he or she turns 5.

Secondary students may then continue their education for a further 2 years, (sixth form), leading most typically to A-level qualification.

Other qualifications and Courses exist, including Business and Technology Education (BTEC) qualifications, the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge Pre-U.

The school leaving age for compulsory education was raised to 18 by the education and Skills Act 2008, taking effect in 2013 for 16 year olds and 2015 for 17 year olds.

State provided schooling and sixth form education is paid for by taxes. Parents are free to choose any suitable means of educating their children e.g. independent schooling.

Higher education begins with a 3 year Bachelor’s degree. Post graduate degree include, master’s degree, either taught or by research, and the doctorate, a research degree that usually takes at least 3 years.

Universities require a Royal Charter in order to issue degrees, and all but one are financed by the state via tuition fees, which cost up to £9,000 per academic year for English, Welsh and E.U students.


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