Education in Great Britain
In Great Britain compulsory education begins at the age of five, but before that age children can go to a nursery school, also called play school. School is compulsory till the children are 16 years old. First they study at infant schools. In these schools they learn to draw and paint. They play much because they are very young. Later they begin to learn letters and read, write and count. At the age of seven English schoolchildren go to junior schools. They do many subjects: English, Maths, History, Music, Drawing, French and Latin. The first lesson usually starts at 9 o’clock. There are 3 lessons with short breaks of 10 minutes between them and then an hour break for lunch. After lunch they have two more lessons which are over by half past three. Junior school ends at the age of 11 when pupils take the Eleven Plus examination and then secondary school begins. When students are 16 years old they may take an exam in various subjects in order to have a qualification. These qualifications can be either G. C. S. E. (General Certificate of Secondary Education) or ‘O level’ (Ordinary level). After that students can either leave school and start working or continue their studies in the same school as before. If they continue, when they are 18, they have to take further examinations which are necessary for getting into university or college. Some parents choose private schools for their children. They are very expensive but considered to provide better education and good job opportunities. In England there are 47 universities, including the Open University which teaches via TV and radio, about 400 colleges and institutes of higher education. The oldest universities in England are Oxford and Cambridge. Generally, universities award two kinds of degrees: the Bachelor’s degree and the Master’s degree.