FAQs About The UK Education System

UK Education System

Written by Kimberly Linhares

From reading cheesy young adult novels to writing reviews about them. Books, have been an escape from reality. Writing, to capture a little bit of everything about my versatile lifestyle. Let’s talk but first grab some coffee!

September 14, 2021

What Is An Independent School?

There are two types of schools in the UK education system, the state schools are fully funded by the government and are free for individuals or independent schools charge a fee to the parents of the individual. Almost all the schools taking part in the HMC Projects Scholarship Scheme are independent schools. According to the education in the United Kingdom, independent schools have an excellent reputation for high standards of teaching and learning. Scholarships to state schools can only be offered to students from countries in the EU. Independent schools have an excellent reputation for high standards of teaching and learning and almost all pupils go on to prestigious universities when they leave. 

UK Education System

UK Education System Guide: FAQ’s

Is The British Education System The Same In Every School?

There are many similarities between the UK education system and that of Scotland. For instance, all boys and girls must attend full-time education until the age of 16. Many pupils stay on at school after that age to prepare themselves for university or other careers. There are also significant divergences between practice in England, Wales and Scotland.

In England and Wales, the government introduced a National Curriculum of Education in 1988. This provides a framework for the education system in the UK between the ages of 5 – 18. All UK state schools are required to follow it. Independent schools do not have to follow every detail but they must provide a good all-round education.

How Does The National Curriculum Work?

The National Curriculum in England and Wales is constructed in five key stages:

  • Key Stage 1: Foundation year and Years 1 to 2 – for pupils aged between 5 and 7 years old.
  • Key Stage 2: Years 3 to 6 – for pupils aged between 8 and 11 years old.
  • Key Stage 3: Years 7 to 9 – for pupils aged between 12 and 14 years old.
  • Key Stage 4: Years 10 to 11 – for pupils aged between 15 and 16 years old.
  • Key Stage 5: Years 12 to 13 – for pupils aged between 17 and 18 years old.

How Many Subjects Do HMC Projects Scholars Study?

The majority of HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) Projects scholars will study on the Advanced Level programme but a small number will study on the International Baccalaureate or Scottish Higher programmes. Education systems explained for the UK in three levels:

  • Advanced Levels: For the Advanced Level programme (Key Stage 5), nearly all pupils study subjects three or four for two years and take examinations in these at the end of the second year. They may also take one or even two additional subjects for one year only at Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level and take examinations in these at the end of the year. Some schools will offer examinations at AS level to pupils in those subjects they are studying for A level at the end of the first year of the two-year course. Universities use Advanced Levels as entry qualifications.
  • Scottish Highers: Students will take at least five subjects at Higher Level, reducing to three or four for their Advanced Higher courses.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): Increasing numbers of HMC schools are taking pupils for the International Baccalaureate. The IB requires students to take courses in six subjects, three at standard level and three at higher level. Students are also required to take a course in the theory of knowledge, to write a long essay and to undertake some community service. This course is very similar to the Baccalaureate courses which are commonly studied in Europe.

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How Is The Daily Timetable Organised?

Each UK school organises its timetable according to a different year and subject. For each subject, a student will attend classes for about 5 hours a week. They are also expected to undertake at least 6 hours of private study. In England and Wales the two years of Advanced Level or International Baccalaureate study are often called “Sixth Form”.

What Are The Extracurricular Activities?

School sixth-formers in Northern Ireland are able to offer a substantial programme of “extra-curricular activities” as part of the student experience at school. These activities include sport, theatre, music, drama, science and literary societies, art galleries in the UK and other leisure activities.

Will The Qualifications You Get In The UK Help In Entering A British University?

Students with an EU passport are able to apply for a UK student visa from 1st January 2021. Visa requirements are also different for students at universities in the UK from those you may have dealt with as a school scholarship student. It is not uncommon for a scholar to have to decline a very attractive offer from some of the finest universities like Oxford or Cambridge simply because the tuition fees are unaffordable. 

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We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on ‘FAQs About The UK Education System’. Do check out our other blogs. 

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