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The English school system

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Britain has several school systems. The solution which is chosen depends on where people live and how rich they are. British law requires all children to be in full-time education from the age of 5 to 16.

Education in Britain is provided by the Local Education Authority (LEA) in each county. It is financed partly by the government and partly by local taxes.

Until September 1988, each LEA was free to decide how to organise education in its own area. But the National Curriculum was introduced in September 1988.
It sets programmes of study in a range of subjects for all state schools in England and Wales. Independent schools need not follow it, though many do.

1. School organisation
Most schools have a five-day week, from Monday to Friday. The school day begins at about 9 PM and ends at about 4 PM for oldest pupils (3 PM for the younger ones).

The academic year starts in September and is divided into three terms.

Pupils have holidays at Christmas, Easter and during the summer, and short breaks at half-term.

2. Schools according to the ages
a. Play school
Younger children are sent to a nursery school or play school.
b. Primary education
Pupils go to primary school between the age of 6 and 10. They do not usually have homework.
c. Secondary education
They are larger than primary schools and children often have to take the bus to go there. Most secondary school pupils have to wear a school uniform which originally was supposed to stop the distinction between rich pupils and poor pupils.

In the past, secondary schools used to be very selective since they accepted the pupils only if they had passed an exam called the eleven-plus.
The ancient grammar schools are not as numerous as in the past and have been turned into comprehensive schools.

Children study subjects in the national curriculum and take SATs at 14, and then prepare the GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in as many subjects as they want. Pupils who want to go to university need to pass their A levels in two or three subjects.

d. Universities
The British join a university according to the results at their A Levels. Pupils traditionally leave their parents' to go to university in another city.

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