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Education in England

Education in England may differ from the system used elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Basically, there are two systems: one covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland and one covering Scotland. The two education systems have different emphases. Traditionally the English, Welsh and Northern Irish system has emphasised depth of education whereas the Scottish system has emphasised breadth. Thus English, Welsh and Northern Irish students tend to sit a small number of more advanced examinations and Scottish students tend to sit a larger number of less advanced examinations. It should be noted that local English practice can vary from this general picture although Scottish practice is well nigh universal.

In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.

Table of contents
1 School years
2 Costs
3 History
4 See also

School years

In some regions of England, pupils attend a Lower School until age 9, a Middle School between 9 and 13, and then a High School or Upper School.


The costs for a normal education in the United Kingdom are as follows:

Primary and Secondary education can also be charged for, if a fee-paying school is attended by the child in question (public schools)


The Period Before 1950

The Post War Period

Due to the failures of the Tripartite system, the Labour government of the time requested proposals from all the UK's regions for them to move from the Tripartite system to Comprehensive Schools. Note that this was an optional reform for the regions, and as of late 2003 some regions still have the Tripartite System. Education was made compulsory up to age 16 in 1972.

Following the 1979 General Election, the Conservative party regained power in central government, and made two main changes in this period:

  1. New Vocationalism was expanded (Labour had done some small efforts beforehand, but the conservatives expanded it considerably). This was seen as an effort to reduce the high youth unemployment figures, which were seen as one of the causes of the rioting that was relatively commonplace at the end of the seventies.
  2. The Assisted Places scheme was introduced in 1980, where gifted children who could not afford to go to fee-paying schools would be given free places in those schools if they could pass the school's entrance exam.

The Education Reform Act of 1988

The 1988 Education Reform Act made quite a few changes to the system of education. These changes were aimed at creating an education 'market' so that schools were competing against each other for 'customers' (pupils), and that bad schools would lose pupils and close, leaving only the good schools open.

The reforms are as follows:

New Labour's Educational Policies from 1997

Following the 1997 General Election, the Labour party regained power in central government. New Labour's political ideology meant that most of the changes introduced by the Conservatives during their time in power stayed.

The following changes happened:

See also

External links