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Education in United Kingdom


Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England, and the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for Scotland,[1] Wales[2] and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Education in England

Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Local authorities (LAs) take responsibility for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a local level. The education system is divided into early years (ages 3–4), primary education(ages 4–11), secondary education (ages 11–18) and tertiary education (ages 18+). Full-time education is compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 17 (from 2013, and up to 18 from 2015), either at school or otherwise, with a child beginning primary education . Higher education often begins with a three-year bachelor's degree. Postgraduate degrees include master's degrees, either taught or by research, and the doctorate, a research degree that usually takes at least three years. Universities require aRoyal Charter in order to issue degrees, and all but one are financed by the state via tuition fees.

Education in Scotland

Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and theS cottish education system is distinctly different from those in the other countries of the United Kingdom. The Scotland Act 1998 gives the Scottish Parliamentlegislative control over all education matters, and the Education (Scotland) Act 1980is the principal legislation governing education in Scotland. Traditionally, the Scottish system at secondary school level has emphasised breadth across a range of subjects, while the English, Welsh and Northern Irishsystems have emphasised greater depth of education over a smaller range of subjects. Following this, Scottish universities generally have courses a year longer (typically 4 years) than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK,. One unique aspect is that the ancient universities of Scotland issue aMaster of Arts as the first degree in humanities. State schools are owned and operated by the local authorities which act asEducation Authorities, and the compulsory phase is divided into primary school andsecondary school (often called high school). Schools are supported in delivering learning and teaching by Education Scotland (formerly Learning and Teaching Scotland).. There are also private schools across the country, Qualifications at the secondary school and post-secondary (further education) level are provided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which is the national awarding and accrediting body in Scotland . Political responsibility for education at all levels is vested in theScottish Parliament and the Scottish Education and Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Departments.

Education in Northern Ireland

Education in Northern Ireland differs from systems used elsewhere in the United Kingdom, though it is more similar to that used inWales than it is to Scotland. A child's age on 1 July determines the point of entry into the relevant stage of education unlike England and Wales where it is the 1 September. Northern Ireland's results at GCSE and A-Level are consistently top in the UK.. The Northern Ireland Executive's Department of Education (DENI) is responsible for the country's education policy except for the higher and further education sector for which the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) retains responsibility. Education at a local level in Northern Ireland is administered by five education and library boards covering different geographical areas.

These boards are as follows:

Belfast Education and Library Board
North Eastern Education and Library Board
South Eastern Education and Library Board
Southern Education and Library Board
Western Education and Library Board

Education in Wales

Education in Wales differs in certain respects from education elsewhere in theUnited Kingdom. For example, a small number of students all over Wales are educated either wholly or largely through the medium of Welsh: in 2008/09, 22 per cent of classes in maintained primary schools used Welsh as the sole or main medium of instruction.[2] Welsh medium education is available to all age groups through nurseries, schools, colleges and universities and in adult education; lessons in the language itself are compulsory for all pupils until the age of 16. Since devolution, education policy in the four constituent countries of the UK has diverged: for example, England has pursued reforms based on diversity of school types and parental choice; Wales (and Scotland) remain more committed to the concept of the community-based comprehensive school. Systems of governance and regulation - the arrangements for planning, funding, quality-assuring and regulating learning, and for its local administration - are becoming increasingly differentiated across the four home countries.[3] Education researcher David Reynolds claims that policy in Wales is driven by a "producerist" paradigmemphasising collaboration between educational partners. He also alludes to lower funding in Welsh schools compared to England, echoing similar concerns at university level. He concludes that performance data do not suggest that Wales has improved more rapidly than England, although there are considerable difficulties in making these kinds of assessments.