A) State schooling in Britain today.
State schools are free and have to follow a National Curriculum (programme obligatoire), with obligatory and optional subjects. We can distinguish:
- Comprehensive schools which are co-educational (boys and girls together) and open to pupils of all abilities, who are often streamed (répartis par niveaux) depending on their level.
- Grammarschools which are often more academically-oriented.
Unlike France, the educational system in Britain is completely decentralized; about 90% of the schools are administered by local authorities and supported by public funds. Set up at the beginning in the 20th century on the model of public schools, state schools are independent communities either run by the Local Education Authorities (LEAs)or self-governing.
The Department for Education and Skills is responsible for education in England and Wales. Since devolution (decentralisation), the Welsh Assembly has been able to make some decisions on education in Wales, but the system is almost the same as the English one, except for the teaching of the Welsh language. Scotland has a somewhat different state system. By devolution withinGreat British, we mean movement for separation for different regions of Britain like those in Wales and Scotland which had been in opposition to Westminster for centuries, if only to safeguard their unique cultures. When the British Empire began to dissolve after the Second World War, voices began to reassert old claims to free their lands from English – that means Westminster –.
About 90% ofthe schools are organized and maintained by Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and are financed entirely by public funds. Most children go to state schools. Until 1988, these were all responsible to Local Education Authorities (LEAs) which obtain their funding from central government and the council tax. In 1988, secondary schools and larger primary schools were encouraged to opt out (choisirl’autonomie) for LEA control and become grant-maintained. These school receive money directly from central government are run by a board of government consisting of parents and members of the public. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, most schools are still managed by local authorities. Therefore, we can conclude that most children in the UK receive state-run maintained education.
Younger children mayattend a private preparatory school (or prep school) until the age of 13. The British education system aims to education the whole person, so that each child develops his or her personality as well as gaining academic knowledge. Most primary and secondary schools offer a range of extra-curricular activities (activities outside normal lessons), including sports, music, community service and tripsto places of interest. Secondary schools also give careers advice and help students to prepare for having a job by arranging short periods of work experience with local businesses.
B) Independent or Public schools.
Some parents may send their children to private school, even if this is against their principles, because they think that their children will receive a better education. Privateschools were created to educate the sons of the rich and aristocratic, the “sacred nine”, the nine best-known public schools are: Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, Shrewsbury, Merchant, Taylor’s and St Paul’s Preparatory schools prepare pupils for an entrance exam to enter public schools at the age of 13.
At first, they were boarding schools (internats) for boys. Nowthey are open to girls as well. Only 8% of British children attend these schools. For example, Eton is an English public school for boys near Windsor in Berkshire, started in 1440 by King Henry VI. Public school education emphasizes character building and the development of team spirit as much as academic achievement. The inculcation of traditional value such as good manners, loyalty and...
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