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Education in Britain is compulsory from the age of 5 to 16. Ninety per cent of children attend state schools wich provide free education.


Children attend infant schools from 5 to 7. From the age of 7 to 11 they go to junior schools.


Compulsory secondary education covers the ages from 11 to 16. Most student go to comprehensive schools where there are compulsory subjects (english, maths, science, history, etc.) and optional subjects (tipical are: latin, drama, philosophy, computing) that vary from school to school.

Other types of secondary schools are grammar schools for students with above average ability and secondary modern schools which admit student of average or below average academic ability.

At the age of 16 students can leave school. They are not obliged to take  a school-leaving exam. However, finding a job with no qualifications is not easy, therefore most students take the General Certificate of Secondary education (GCSE) and students can choose how many. For example, if a student takes six subject but fails two he will have four GCSEs.

Students can attend a further two-year course called Sixth Form. Sixth Form student can choose:

three subjects and specialise in them; at the end they take an examination called Advanced Levels (A-levels);

or choose two or more subjects at Advanced Supplementary Level (AS-level), a lower academic level than A-levels, or a mix of A-levels and AS-levels.

If they don't wish to work too hard they may take some AS-levels.

The results of the A- or AS- levels condition the student's acces to university or their chances of finding a job.


Students arrive at scholl at 9 o'clock, they meet in a general assembly for prayers and instructions; they usually have four periods in the morning with a break at about 11. At 12.30 they have lunch and in the afternoon they have more classes. Lessons are over at 4 o'clock and Saturday is free.

There are three terms in a school year. Religious instructions is compulsory and it can be taught by teachers of any subject. Particular importance is given to sporting activities. A report is sent home twice a year. Discipline is quite strict and it is the Headmaster's responsability.


There are over 2,000 indipendent schools in britain attended by about 10 % of the student population. Primary schools are called Prep (preparatory) schools and enable children to pass the examination for the admission to private secondary schools.

Private secondary education is provided by public schools because they were founded for the public's benefit between the 14th and the 16th century, in times when the upper classes had private teachers.

Public schools are very exclusive, charge high fees and some of them, such as Harrow, Rugby and Eton, are quite famous.

Many public schools are fully residential and accept boys only; there are fewer for girls.

Students are admitted on the basis of the results of the exams, but other factors, such as the name of the student's family, are equally important. Public schools offer very high academic standards which guarantee admission to university.


There are 46 universities and 30 polytechnics in Britain. University education is not free but deserving students who cannot pay the fee receiva a grant.

The application that the students send to enter university give details of their school carrer and list six universtity in order of preference.

Admission depends on the grades obtained in the A- or AS- levels, the number of places available and, sometimes, the results of an interview.

Politechnics provide more practical courses and prepare students for specific jobs. Students usually live on th euniversity campus attending lectures, seminars and join sport clubs.

The first degree of university specialization is the Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Science wich is obtained after three or four years of attendnce of a faculty.

Post-graduate courses are called Master of arts or Master of Science.

The highest degree is called Doctor of Philosophy and is awarded to students who have written a thesis on personal advanced research work. Students who don't enter university attended a technical colleges, schools of businnes, colleges of commerce, arts and so on and obtain diplomas or certificates.


Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in Britain as they were founded in the 30th century. They are both very selective.

Student's social academic life takes place within the college and they are entrusted to tutors, who take care of them.

Sports play an imortant role in the life of these universities and each college has its team in every sport.


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