Тема / Топик по английскому языку:
Schooling in the United Kingdom

The quality of a country’s future life, commercially, industrially and intellectually, depends on the quality of its education system. From the end of the World War II the state in the United Kingdom provides a full range of free educational facilities. Those parents who prefer to send their children to private institutions, and could afford it, are free to do so.

The organization of state schooling is not as centralized as in most European countries. Firstly, there is no prescribed curriculum. Secondly, the types of school available and the age ranges for which they cater vary in different parts of the country. In each area Local Education Authority is responsible for education. At any publicly-maintained school no tuition fees are payable. State schooling in the United Kingdom is financed partly by the Government and partly by local rates.

Schooling is voluntary under the age of five, but there is some free nursery school education before that age. Primary education takes place in infant schools for pupils aged from five to seven years old and junior schools (from eight to eleven years). Some areas have a different system in which middle schools replace junior schools and take pupils aged from nine to twelve years. Secondary education has been available in Britain since 1944. It is compulsory up to the age of sixteen, and pupils can stay at school voluntarily for up to three years longer.

Until 1964 children took an «eleven plus» exam at the age of eleven. At this exam they were selected, or «streamed» according to their current level of academic attainment, for education in different types of secondary schools. Grammar schools provided a mainly academic course for the top 20 percent; modern schools provided a general education with a practical bias. There were also a few technical schools-academic equals of grammar schools but specializing in technical studies.

In 1965 non-selective comprehensive schools were introduced. Most local education authorities have now completely changed over to comprehensive schooling.

At the age of sixteen pupils take school-leaving examinations in several subjects at the Ordinary level. The exam used to be conducted by eight independent examining boards, most of them connected with a university. This examination could also be taken by candidates at a further education establishment. This exam was called the General Certificate of Education. Pupils of comprehensive school had taken the examination called the Certificate of Secondary Education either with or instead of the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary level.

A General Certificate of Education of Advanced («А») level was taken two years after the Ordinary level exam. It was the standard for entrance to University and to many forms of professional training. In 1988 both examinations were replaced by the more or less uniform General Certificate of Secondary Education.

The private sector is running parallel to the state system of education, there are about 2500 fee-charging independent schools in Great Britain. Most private schools are single-sex until the age of 16. More and more parents seem prepared to take on the formidable extra cost for education. The reason is the belief that social advantages are gained from attending a certain school. The most expensive of boarding schools in Britain are exclusive public schools like Eton college for boys or St. James’ school for girls.

Topical Vocabulary

education system
система образования
a full range of free educational facilities
широкий спектр бесплатных образовательных учреждений
private institution
частное заведение
state schooling
государственное школьное обучение
prescribed curriculum
обязательная программа
local Education Authority
местный комитет по образованию
to be responsible for smth.
отвечать за что-либо
publicly-maintained school
государственная школа
tuition fee
плата за обучение
to be payable
подлежать выплате
local rates
местные налоги
free nursery-school education
бесплатное дошкольное обучение, подготовительная школа
primary education
начальная школа
infant school
начальные классы
junior school
средние классы
to be selected according to their current level of academic attainment
отбираться в соответствии с текущим уровнем успеваемости
to provide a mainly academic course
предоставить, в основном, академический курс
a general education with a practical bias
общее образование с практическим уклоном
to specialize in technical studies
специализироваться по техническим предметам
a comprehensive school
общеобразовательная школа
to completely change over to smth.
полностью перейти к чему-либо
to take a school-leaving examination in
сдавать выпускные экзамены по (какому-либо предмету)
Ordinary level
обычный уровень
to be conducted by an independent examining board
проводиться независимой экзаменационной комиссией
a further education establishment
учебное заведение дальнейшего образования
a General Certificate of Education
аттестат об общем образовании, экзамен на аттестат об общем образовании
Advanced level
продвинутый уровень
a General Certificate of Secondary Education
общий аттестат о среднем образовании, экзамен на аттестат о среднем образовании
to run parallel to smth.
существовать параллельно с чем-либо
a fee-charging independent school
платная независимая школа
to take on extra cost
взять на себя дополнительные расходы
a boarding school
a public school
частная школа

Answer the questions:

  1. What is State schooling in the United Kingdom characterized by?
  2. What are the stages of schooling in the United Kingdom?
  3. According to what principles were children streamed until 1965?
  4. What kind of school-leaving exams do children take at schools of different types?
  5. Why do many parents send their children to fee-paying schools?

Translate into English:

  1. С конца второй мировой войны за обучение в государственных школах не нужно платить.
  2. Родители в Великобритании могут выбрать школу из ряда бесплатных учебных заведений либо послать своего ребенка в частную школу.
  3. Государственное школьное обучение в Великобритании не так централизовано, как в других европейских странах.
  4. Школьное обучение в Великобритании подразделяется на необязательное (факультативное) - до 5 лет и с 16 до 19 лет - и обязательное - с 5 до 16 лет.
  5. Начальное образование осуществляется в подготовительной школе (с 5 до 7 лет) и начальной школе (с 8 до 11 лет); среднее образование обязательно до 16 лет и факультативно с 16 до 19 лет.
  6. До 1965 года детей в возрасте 11 лет разделяли в соответствии с успеваемостью.
  7. В зависимости от результатов экзамена «11+» детям предоставлялось академическое образование, техническое образование или общее образование с практическим уклоном.
  8. «Всеобщие» школы предоставляют неселективное образование.
  9. Выпускные экзамены сдаются по нескольким предметам в уровнях «О» (обычный) или «А» (продвинутый).
  10. Многие родители, которые могут это себе позволить, посылают детей в платные школы.