UK Education Insights
The United Kingdom's education system operates under four delegated jurisdictions which are; Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.
- The UK curriculum is divided into four parts; primary education, secondary education, further education and higher education.
- The education system is further split into key stages which cover up to secondary education level. These stages are; Key stage 1: 5 to 7 years old, Key stage 2: 7 to 11 years old, Key stage 3: 11 to 14 years old and Key stage 4: 14 to 16 years old.
- Education is compulsory until 16 years old, that is, completion of secondary level, after which the rest is optional.
- Education in the UK is shorter than in any other country.
- The age for starting school differs with the states. In England and Wales, the pupils start schooling at the age of five while in Northern Ireland, they start schooling at the age of four.
- It comprises of key stages 1 and 2.
- During key stage one, the pupils are introduced to basic knowledge in subjects such as; English language, Mathematics, History, Physical Education, Music and Geography.
- The assessment during this stage is done on the kid's ability to decode and understand phonics properly through phonics screening.
- At key stage two, the curriculum aims at enabling the pupils to gain more knowledge of core subjects, which will be tested at the end of this stage. The subjects to be tested are; English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling, Science and Mathematics.
- This level comprises of key stages 3 and 4.
- Some new subjects are introduced during key stage three. The subjects include; English, Mathematics, Science, Art and Design, Music, Geography, History, Physical Education, Modern Foreign Languages, Technology and Computing.
- At the end of this stage, some students may take their GSCE or other national qualifications.
- Key stage four is the final stage of the compulsory education where students undergo through national assessment tests, leading them to take a GSCE or other national qualifications.
- Core and foundation subjects are taught at this stage. The core subjects are; Mathematics, English and Science. The foundation subjects are; Computing, Physical Education and Citizenship.
- Other than formal education, the UK education system allows addtional alternative education. Some of the alternative education is forest schools, homeschooling, flexi education, among others.
- In forest schools, pupils experience regular outdoor sessions in natural environments to enable them to develop confidence through hands-on learning.
- Homeschooling pupils have continued to grow in numbers. Research shows that there were almost 37,000 home-educated pupils in 2015, which was a rise of 65% in six years.
- Flexi education is a combination of homeschooling and part-time school attendance but with the consent of the school. However, there is little sign of this kind of education spreading.
Types of Schools
- There are two main categories of schools in the UK education system; State schools which are funded by the government and hence free to every pupil and Independent schools which charge fees to the parents of the pupils.
- Additionally, there are other schools such as academies, faith schools, grammar schools and special schools.
- Academies are independent schools that are publicly funded and given money direct from the government and not by the local council.
- Faith schools are associated with a certain religion and can be free schools, academies or voluntary aided schools. They are run like state schools except for religious studies.
- Grammar schools are academically centered secondary schools.
- Special schools are designed for pupils with special educational needs and are taught by teachers who are trained in special education.