Education in the UK

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Have you ever wondered how the British Education System look like? For Polish it may be a little bit problematic to understand. The reason is obvious. These two systems differ from each other. The structure presented below seems to look weird but do not worry, everything can be easily explained. Put the emphasis on the names because for instance ‚Public School’ does not mean szkoła publiczna.

In the UK children are required to attend school between the age of 5 (in Northern Ireland 4) and 16. During that time school is compulsory for them. Generally the stages of education in the UK can be divided into 5: 1) early years 2) primary 3) secondary 4) further education 5) Higher Education.



There are two possibilities to choose a school career for a child. Parents can send their daughter or son to one of the state schools (they are governed by LA – local authorities) or to an independent school (either private or public). First of them is free of charge, however, parents are obliged to provide their children with some basic stationery like a pen, a pencil etc. In independent schools parents have to pay monthly fee, for school uniforms. Due to the costs, most children in the UK are sent to state schools. Note: state school is the equivalent to szkoła państwowa, private school is like szkoła prywatna and public school is not szkoła publiczna but prywatna szkoła for children aged 11/13-18.

Children start their adventure with learning at the age of 5. First they attend primary school: infant school for children aged 5-7. Then they move on to junior school (between 7-11 year of life). Note here that junior school in the UK is like our Polish szkoła podstawowa for children who are 7-11. Similar but not the same name you can also fing in the USA. There is junior high school. This school is for older teens, it means, 12-14 year old and in Polish this type of school can be translated as niższa szkoła średnia or gimnazjum.

As far as secondary schooling is concerned, teens are offered several options. The easiest one and the most popular, because of the fact that there is no entry exam and every child can attend this type of school, is comprehensive schoolIt is worth mentioning that comprehensive schools were established because there were people who were opponent of stress during examination. For more demanding parents and students there are grammar schools. However, if they want to apply for admission to grammar school, they have to take an 11+ exam first and pass it on a satisfactory level.

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