Реферат: Образование в Великобритании


Great Britain is one of the mostdeveloped countries in the world. Great Britain enters into the number ofcountries of “large eight”.

We all know that the Britains are very cultural people and many possessan outstanding mind. What makes them similar? National culture, heredity,traditions or may be education? But do many people in our country know abouteducation in other countries? Many students would like to know about how theircontemporaries in other countries live. In what schools do they study? Does thestate ensure all them with necessary means for studying? What are their chancesto obtain higher or technical education for worthy life in the future?

This article opens the curtain above education in Britain and containssufficiently complete and comprehensive information for the student and schoolstaff. The purpose of this article is to study the system of education inBritain and to look at from an objective point of view.

In the second half of the 20-century qualitative changes in educationsystem occurred in Britain: the system of education began to be more orientedtowards the development of useful knowledge. But in spite of this in theBritish system of education many survivals of the past, which strongly harmeducation, still remained.

In this synopsis the following reductions are accepted:

·       A-level (advance level) – an examination usually taken by pupils at their final year at schoolat the age of eighteen. The exam was introduced in 1951. A-levels are needed toenter most types of higher education and a student must usually have three goodgrades to enter university.

·       AS level (advancedsupplementary level) – an examination taken bysome pupils in their final year at school when they are taking their A-level.The AS level is a simpler examination than the A-level and can be studied inhalf the time. The exam was first introduced in 1989 and is intended to givepupils the chance to study a greater variety of subjects.

·       Cathedral school (choirschool) – a school in a cathedral city, usually apreparatory school or, occasionally, a public school, some of their pupils singin the cathedral choir.

·       College of Further Education(CFE) – a local college attended mostly by studentsbetween the ages of 16 and 19 who are working for the NVQ’s and practicalqualifications; by some students taking A-levels and by mature students doingpart-time courses.

·    College – 1. An independent institution of higher education within a university,typically one at Oxford University or Cambridge University. 2. A specializedprofessional institution of secondary higher education, such as a college ofmusic or a college of education. 3. The official title of certain publicschools, such as Eton College.

·    Comprehensive school – a large state secondary school for children of all abilities from asingle district, providing a wide range of education. Over 90% of all secondaryschool students attend a comprehensive school. Comprehensive schools wereintroduced in 1965 to provide an equal secondary (11 – 18 years old) education.Comprehensive schools put pupils in different classes according to theirability, but there are no entry examinations.

·    Further education – a term used to apply to any kind of education after secondary school,but not including university work (which is higher education).

·    General Certificate ofEducation, the (GCE) – the standardschool-leaving examination. It is taken by school pupils at the end of theirfifth year of secondary education, at the age of 16. The GCE replaced theformed dual examination system of GCE O-level (General Certificate of EducationOrdinary Level) and SCE (Certificate of Secondary Education, Ordinary Level),and the first GCSE examination were held in 1988. GCSE certificates are awardedfor each subject on a seven-point scale, from A to G, and the examination’ssyllabus and grading procedures are monitored by the School Examination andAssessment Council.

·    Local Educational Authority(LEA) – the local government body that isresponsible for the state schools in a district, as well as further education,and that engages teachers, maintains school buildings and supplies schools withequipment and materials.

·    National Curriculum (NC) – was introduced into the education system in 1989. Until that time LEAdecided on the curriculum, the subjects which would be taught in school intheir area. The NC is designed to make a national standard for all schoolpupils between the ages of 5 to 16. The main subjects are English, Mathematics,Science and a foreign language, either French or German. There are examinationsfor all pupils at the ages of 7, 11, 14, and 16 to check on their progress.

·    Oxbridge – a colloquial term for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge,jointly regarded as being superior to other universities and as enjoying andgiving special privilege and prestige.

·    Secondary school – a state school or private school education for school children agedbetween 11 and 18. Other types of secondary schools are grammar schools, middleschools, secondary modern schools, technical schools and public schools. Anextension of a state secondary schools a tertiary college.

·    Nursery school – a school for very young children, usually three or four years old(before compulsory education, which begins at the age of five).

·    Pidgin English (PE) – 1. A language made up of elements of English and some other foreignlanguage, especially Chinese or Japanese, originally developing as a means ofverbal communication when trading. 2. Loosely, any kind of English spoken withthe elements of another language, whether for genuine communication or of comiceffect.

§1. Education.

The British educational system hasmuch in common with that in Europe, in that:

ØFull-time education iscompulsory for all children in the middle teenage years. Parents are required by law to see that their children receivefull-time education, at school or elsewhere, between the ages of 5 and 16 inEngland, Scotland and Wales and 4 and 16 in Northern Ireland.

ØThe academic year begins atthe end of summer.

ØCompulsory education is freeof charge, though parents may choose a private school and spend their money oneducation their children. About 93% of pupilsreceive free education from public funds, while the others attend independentschools financed by fees paid by parents.

ØThere are three stages ofschooling, with children moving from primary school (thefirst stage) to secondary school (the second stage). The third stage (sometimescalled the tertiary level) provides further and higher education and includesCFE, technical college, college of higher education, and universities.

There is, however, quite a lot that distinguishes education in Britainfrom the way it works in other countries. The most important distinguishingfeatures are the lack of uniformityand comparativly little central control.There are three separate government departments managing education: theDepartments for Education and Employment is responsible for England and Walesalone; Scotland and Northern Ireland retain control over the education withintheir respective countries. None of these bodies exercises much control overthe details does not prescribe a detailed program of learning, books andmaterials to be used, nor does it dictate the exact hours of the school day,the exact days of holidays, school’s finance management and suchlike. As manydetails as possible are left to the discretion of the individual institution orof the LEA.

Many distinctive characteristics of British education can be ascribed,at least partly, to the public school tradition. The present-day level of‘grass-root’ independence as well as different approach to education has beengreatly influenced by the philosophy that a (public) school is its owncommunity. The 19th century public schools educated the sons of theupper and upper-middle classes and the main aim of schooling was to prepareyoung men to take up positions in the higher ranks of the army, the Church, tofill top-jobs in business, the legal profession, the civil serves and politics.To meet this aim the emphasis was made on ‘character-building’ and thedevelopment of ‘team spirit’ (hence traditional importance of sports) ratherthan on academic achievement.

Such schools were (and still often are) mainly boarding establishments,so they had a deep and lasting influence on their pupils, consequently,public-school leavers formed a closed group entry into which was difficult, theruling elite, the core of the Establishment.

The 20th century brought education and its possibilities forsocial advancement within everybody’s reach, and new, state schools naturallytended to copy the features of the public schools. So today, in typicallyBritish fashion, learning for its own sake, rather than for any practicalpurpose is still been given a high value. As distinct from most othercountries, a relatively stronger emphasis is on the quality of person thateducation produces rather than helping people to develop useful knowledge andskills. In other words, the general style of teaching is to developunderstanding rather than acquiring factual knowledge and learning to applythis knowledge to specific tasks.

What’s a “public school”? A public school in Britain is not open to everyone; the ordinary, local schools where most people go are called “state” schools. Public schools are schools where parents have to pay money if they want their children to attend. Public schools are old, often traditional and prestigious institutions. Most of the kinds who go to them have very rich parents. Public schools are often single-sex, which means they don’t permit girls and boys to be educated together. There are sometimes boarding schools, that mean that kids live at school during the week. Some famous public schools for boys are Eton college, Harrow and Malvern, and for girls, Benedon and Cheltanham Ladies College. Prince William was educate at Eton and his brother Harry is still a pupil there. Eton is renowned for its academic excellence and some of its traditions. The school was founded by Henry VI in 1440 – 1441 and was intended for 70 highly qualified boys who received scholarships. This dates back to the death of George III. The school wore mourning clothes but this later became established as the official uniform. Weblink: www.etoncollege.com.  

This traditional public-school approach, together with the above-mentioneddislike of central authority, also helps to explain another thing: the NC, thepurpose of which was to do away with the disparities in the type and quality ofeducation, was not introduced until 1989 – much later than in other countries.

§2. Pre-school and primary education.

There is no countrywide system ofnursery (or pre-primary) schools. In some areas there are nursery schools andclasses (or, in England, reception classes in primary schools), providinginformal education and play facilities, but they are not compulsory and only25% of 3-4 year-olds attend them. There are also some private nurseries andpre-school playgroups organized and paid by parents themselves where childrenare brought twice a week for an hour or two.

The present Labour government is working to expand pre-school educationand wants all children to begin school with basic foundation in literacy andnumeracy, or what is know as ‘the three Rs’ (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic).From September 1998 it is providing free nursery education in England and Walesfor all 4-year-olds whose parents want it.

The average child begins his or her compulsory education at the age of 5starting primary school (infant schools are for children betweenat the ages of 5 and 7 and junior schoolsfor those between the ages of 8 and 11).

LEAs, in the partnership with private nurseries, playgroups and schools, have drawn up ‘early years development plans’ of providing 4 year olds with basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. The plans are designed to show how co-operation between private nurseries, playgrounds and schools can best serve the interests of children and their parents. In addition, the government aims to establish ‘early excellence centres’ designed to demonstrate good practice in education and childcare.

§3. Secondary education.

The majority of state secondaryschool pupils in England and Wales attend comprehensive schools. These largelytake pupils without reference to ability or aptitude and provide a wide rangeof secondary education for all or most children in a district. Schools takethose, who are the 11 to 18 age-range, middle schools (8 to 14), and schoolswith an age-range from 11 to 16. Most other state-educated children in Englandattend grammar or secondary modern schools, to which they are allocated afterselection procedures at the age of 11.

Before 1965 a selective system of secondary education existed inEngland. Under that system a child of 11 had to take an exam (known as ‘an11+’), which consisted of intelligence tests covering linguistic, mathematicaland general knowledge and which was to be taken by children in the last year ofprimary schooling. The object was to select between academic and non-academicchildren.  Those who did well in theexamination went to a grammar school,while those who failed went to a secondary modern school andtechnical college. Grammar schools prepared children for national examinationssuch as the GCE at O-level and A-level. These examinations qualified childrenfor the better jobs, and for entry higher education and the professions. Theeducation in secondary modern schools was based on practical schooling, whichwould allow entry into a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs.

Many people complained that it waswrong for a person’s future to be decided at a so young age. The children whowent to ‘secondary moderns’ were seen as ‘failures’. More over, it was noticedthat the children who passed this exam were almost all from middle-classfamilies. The Labour Party, among other critics, argued that the 11+examination was socially divisible, increasing the inequalities between richand poor and reinforcing the class system.

The Labour Party, returned to power in 1965, abolished the 11+ and triedto introduce the non-selective education system in the form of ‘comprehensive’ schools, that would provide schooling for children of all abilitylevels and from all social backgrounds, ideally under one roof. The finalchoice between selective and non-selective schooling, though, was left to LEAsthat controlled the provision of school education in the country. Someauthorities decided for comprehensive, while others retained grammar schoolsand secondary moderns.

In the late 1980s the Conservative government introduced another majorchange. Schools cloud now decide whether to remain as LEA-maintained schools orto ‘opt-out’ of the control of theLEA and put themselves directly under the control of the government department.These ‘grant-maintained’ schoolswere financed directly by central government. This did not mean, however, thatthere was more central control: grant-maintained schools did not have to askanybody else about how to spend their money.

A recent development in education administration in England and Wales inthe School Standards and Framework Act (SSFA) passed in July 1998. The Actestablishes that from 1.09.1999 all state school education authorities with theending of the separate category of grant maintained status.


There are some grant-maintained or voluntary aided schools, called City Technology Colleges (CTCs). In 1999 there were 15 CTCs in England. These are non-fee-paying independent secondary schools created by a partnership of government and private sector sponsors. The promoters own or lease the schools, employ teachers, and make substantial contributions to the costs of building and equipment. The colleges teach the NC, but with an emphasis on mathematics, technology and science.

So, today three types of state schools mainly provide secondaryeducation: secondary modern schools, grammar schools and (now predominant)comprehensive schools. There should also be mentioned another type of schools,called specialist schools. Thespecialist school programme in England was launched in 1993. Specialist schoolsare state secondary schools specializing in technology, science andmathematics; modern foreign languages; sports; or arts – in addition toproviding the full NC.

State schools are absolutely free (including all textbooks and exercisebooks) and generally co-educational.

Under the new NC a greater emphasis at the secondary level is laid onscience and technology. Accordingly, ten subjects have to be studied: English,history, geography, mathematics, science, a modern foreign language (atsecondary level), technology (including design), music, art, and physicaleducation. For special attention there were chosen three of these subjects(called ‘core subjects’): English, science, mathematics, and seven othersubjects are called ‘foundation orstatutory subjects’. Besides, subjectsare grouped into departments and teachers work in teams and to plan work.

Most common departments are:

ØHumanities Department: geography, history,economics, English literature, drama, PE, social science;

ØScience Departments: chemistry, physics, biology,mathematics;

ØLanguage Department: German, French, English;

ØCraft Design and Technology Department:information and communications technology, computing, home economics, andphotography.

The latter (often as CTD) brings together the practical subjects likecooking, woodwork, sewing and metalwork with the new technology used in thosefields. Students can design a T-shirt on computer using graphics software andmake-up the T-shirt design. Students can also look at way to market theirproduct, thus linking all disciplines. This subject area exemplifies theprocess approach to learning introduced by the NC.

It is worth mentioning here the growing importance of PSE (Personal andSocial Education). Since the 1970s there has been an emphasis on ‘pastoral’care, i. e. education in areas related to life skills such as health (thisincludes looking at drug, discussing physical changes related to poverty, sexeducation and relationships). There are usually one or two lessons a week, fromprimary school through to sixth form, and they are an essential part of theschool’s aim to prepare students to life in society.

Education in Britain is not solely concentrated on academic study. Greatvalue is placed on visits and activities like organizing the school club orfield trips, which are educational in a more general sense. The organization ofthese activities by teachers is very much taken for granted in the Britishschool system. Some teachers give up their free time, evenings and weekends todo this ‘unpaid’ work. At Christmas teachers organised concerts, parties andgeneral festivities. It is also considered a good thing to be ‘seen’ to bedoing this extra work since it is fairly essential for securing promotion inthe school hierarchy.

Classes of pupils are called ‘forms’ (though it has recently becomecommon to refer to ‘years’) and are numbered from one to six, beginning withfirst form. Nearly all schools work a five-day week, and are closed onSaturdays. The day starts at or just before nine o’clock and finishes betweenthree and four. The lunch break usually lasts about an hour-and-a-quarter.Nearly two-thirds of pupils have lunch provided by the school. Parents pay forthis, except for the 15 per cent who are rated poor enough and have it forfree. Other children either go home for lunch or take sandwiches.

Schools usually divide their year into three ‘terms’, starting at thebeginning of September:

Autumn term

Christmas holiday (about 2 weeks)



Easter holiday (about 2 weeks)

Summer term

Summer holiday (about 6 weeks)

Passage from one year to the next one is automatic. At the age of 14pupils are tested in English, maths and science, as well as in statutorysubjects. At that same age, in the 3rd or 4th form pupilsbegin to choose their exam subjects and work for two years to prepare for theirGCSE qualifications. The exams are usually taken in the 5th form atthe age of 16, which is a school-leaving age. The GCSE can be taken in a rangeof subjects (usually five in number). The actual written exams are set byindependent Examination Boards, and are marker anonymously by outsideexaminers, but they must be approved by the government and comply with nationalguidelines. There are several examination boards in Britain and each schooldecided which board’s exam its pupils take. Most exams last for two hours,marks are given for each exam separately and are graded from A to G (grades A,B, C are considered to be ‘good’ marks).

16 is an important age for school-leavers because they have to make keydecisions as to their future lives and careers. There is a number of choicesfor them.


§4. Education and training after 16.

The governmenthas stated that all young people should have access to high-quality educationand training after the age of 16. Young people have two routes they that canfollow – one based on school and college education, and the other on work-basedlearning.

About 70% of pupils choose tocontinue full-time education after 16. Broadly speaking, education after 16 isdivided into further and higher education. Further (and adult) education islargely vocational and covers up to and including GCE A-level and ACqualifications, General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQ) A-level.Higher education covers advanced courses higher than GCE A-level or equivalent.

Those wishing to go on to highereducation stay for two years more into the Sixth form (17 year-olds in theLower Sixth and 18 year-olds in the Upper Sixth). If their schools do not havethe sixth form or do not teach the desired subjects pupils may choose to go toa Sixth Form College. The pupils then concentrate in two or three subjects, inwhich they take the GCE A-level examination. Good passes are now essentialbecause the competition for places in the universities and other colleges hasbecome much stiffer. The number of subjects taken at A-level varies between oneand four, although three are usually required for entry into higher education.The concentration is upon a few subjects a high degree of early specializationin the British system.

Since 1988 there has beenintroduced a new level of examination: the AS exam, which is worth half anA-level and usually, involves one year’s study. This means that if pupils wishto study more than two or three subjects in the sixth form they can take acombination of ‘A’ and AS’ levels. A-level arts student, for example, can stillstudy science subjects at AS-level.

Some young people want to stay inschools for the period between 16 and 18, not just to do academic work but alsoget ready for examinations that lead to professional training or vocationalqualifications (and because the general level of unemployment is now high).

To the end of September 1992 therewere introduced the GNVQ. They are mainly undertaken by young people infull-time education between the ages of 16 and 18 and focus on vocationalskills such as business and finance, information and technology. There arethree GNVQ levels – Advanced, Intermediate and Foundation. An Advanced GNVQrequires a level of achievement broadly equal to two GCE A-levels. Mostcommonly the GNVQ’s courses are studied at CFE but more and more schools arealso offering them.

The following five levels of NVQs have been established:

Level 1 – Foundation;

Level 2 – Basic craft;

Level 3 – Technical, advanced craft, supervisor;

Level 4 – Higher technical, junior management;

Level 5 – Professional, middle management.

There are also job-specificNational Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

These are the awards, whichrecognize work-related skills and knowledge and provide a path for lifelonglearning. They are prepared by industry and commerce, including representativesfrom trade unions and professional bodies.

NVQs are based on nationalstandards of competence and can be achieved levels from 1 to 5.

With Britain’s new enthusiasm forcontinuing education, far fewer 16 years-olds go straight out and look for ajob than used to. About a third of them still take this option, however. Theimportance of creating a ‘gap’ in their education is ever appealing to young peoplein Britain today. Experience outside classroom is also valued since itdemonstrates maturity and a willingness to be independent.

The first step for young peopleentering the job market is their local Jobcentre or careers office. Some schoolcareers advisors teach such skills as filling out a curriculum vitae or writingletters applying for jobs, which is a problem for many young people. Youthworkers of Youth Service organizations also can give advice and counseling. Alarge number 16 and 17 years-olds enter. YouthTraining Programmes established by the government as a means of helpingyoung people to gain vocational experience. The government guarantees a placeon the scheme to everybody under 18 who is not in full-time education or inwork. Such programmes cover a widerange of vocational skills from hairdressing to engineering.

To sum up, average pupils usuallyattempt six or seven subjects, and the basic subjects required for jobs andfurther education are English, mathematics, science and foreign language. GoodGCSE results will qualify pupils for a range of jobs, and for entry to furthereducation if desired. GCE A-level examinations are normally associated withmore academic children, who are aiming to entry higher education or to getprofessions.  The dispersion of all 16-17years olds in Britain in 1990 was following:

Ø 36% were at schools or colleges;

Ø 49% were working (employment) or seeking work;

Ø 15% were in Youth Training placements.

§5. Higher education.

As has been mentioned above, thereis a considerable enthusiasm for post-school education in Britain. The aim ofthe government is to increase the number of students who enter into highereducation. The driving force for this has been mainly economic.  It is assumed that the more people who studyat degree level, the more likely the country is to succeed economically. Alarge proportion of young people – about a third in England and Wales andalmost half in Scotland – continue in education at a more A-level beyond theage of 18. The higher education sector provides a variety of courses up todegree and postgraduate degree level, and careers out research. It increasinglycaters for older students; over 50% of students in 1999 were aged 25 and overand many studied part-time. Nearly every university offers access andfoundation courses before enrolment on a course of higher education ofprospective students who do not have the standard entry qualifications.

Higher education in Britain istraditionally associated with universities, though education of Universitystandard is also given in other institutions such as colleges and institutes of higher education, which have the powerto award their own degrees.

The only exception to stateuniversities is the small University of Buckingham which concentrates on law,and which draws most of its students of overseas.

All universities in England andWales are state universities (this includes Oxford and Cambridge).

English universities can be broadlyclassified into three types. First come the ancient universities of Oxford andCambridge that date from the 12th century and that until 1828 werevirtually the only English universities.

Oxford and Cambridge are composedof semi-independent colleges, each college having its own staff, know as‘Fellows’. Most colleges have their own dining hall, library and chapel andcontain enough accommodation for at least half of their students. The Fellowsteach the students, either one-to-one or in very small groups (called‘tutorials’ in Oxford and ‘supervision’ in Cambridge), the tutorial methodbrings the tutor into close and personal contact with the student. Before 1970all Oxford colleges were single-sex (mostly for men). Now, the majority admitsboth sexes.

Among other older universitiesthere should be mentioned four Scottish universities, such as St. Andrews(1411), Glasgow (1450), Aberdeen (1494), and Edinburgh (1583). The first ofthese, being the oldest one, resembles Oxbridge in many ways, while the otherthree follow the pattern of more modern universities in that the students liveat home or find their own rooms in town. At all of them teaching is organizedalong the lines of the continental traditions – there is less specializationthan at Oxford.

The second group of universitiescomprises various institutions of higher education, usually with technicalstudy, that by 1900 had sprang up in new industrial towns and cities such asBirmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. They got to be know as civic or‘redbrick’ universities. Their buildings were made of local material, oftenbrick, in contrast to the stone of older universities, hence the name,‘redbrick’. These universities catered mostly for local people. At first theyprepared students for London University degree, but later they were given theright to award their own degrees, and so became universities themselves. In themid-20th century they started to accept students from all over thecountry.

The third group consists of newuniversities founded after the Second World War and later in the 1960s, whichsaw considerable expansion in new universities. These are purpose-builtinstitutions located in the countryside but close to towns. Examples are EastAnglia, Sussex and Warwick. From their beginning they attracted students fromall over the country, and provided accommodation for most of their students insite (hence their name, ‘campus’ universities). They tend to emphasiserelatively ‘new’ academic disciplines such as social science and make greateruse than other universities of teaching in small groups, often known as‘seminars’.

Among this group there are alsouniversities often called ‘never civic’ universities. These were originallytechnical colleges set up by local authorities in the first half of thiscentury. Their upgrading to university status took place in two waves. Thefirst wave occurred in the mid-1960s, when ten of them were promoted in thisway.

Another thirty became‘polytechnics’, in the early 1970s, which meant that along with their formercourses they were allowed to teach degree courses (the degrees being awarded bya national body). Polytechnics were originally expected to offer abroader-based, more practical and vocational education than the universities.In the early 1990s most of the polytechnics became universities. So there arenow 80 universities and a further 19 colleges and institutions of highereducation in the UK. The country has moved rapidly from a rather elitist systemto one which is much more open, if not yet a mass system of higher education.

Higher education in England andWales is highly selective; i.e. entrance to British universities is via astrict selection process is based on an interview. Applications for firstdegree courses are usually made through the Universities and Colleges AdmissionService (UCAS), in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. After the interview a potentialstudent is offered a place on the basis of GCE A-level exam results. If thestudent does not get the grades specified in the offer, a place can not betaken up. Some universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, have an entranceexam before the interview stage.

 This kind of selection procedure means thatnot everyone in Britain with A-level qualifications will be offered the chanceof a university education. Critics argue that this creates an elitist systemwith the academic minority in society whilst supporters of the system arguethat this enables Britain to get high-quality graduates who have specializedskills. The current system will be modified by the late 90s and into the 21stcentury, since secondary system is moving towards a broader-based education toreplace the specialized ‘A’ level approach. The reasons for this lie inBritain’s need to have a highly skilled and educated workforce, not just anelite few, to meet the needs of the technological era.

The independence of Britain’seducational institutions is most noticeable in universities. They make theirown choices of who to accept on their courses and normally do this on the basisof a student’s A-level results and an interview. Those with better exam gradesare more likely to be accepted. Virtually all degree courses last three years,however there are some four-year courses and medical and veterinary courseslast five or six years. The British University year is divided into threeterms, roughly eight to ten weeks each. The terms are crowded with activity andthe vacations between the terms – a month at Christmas, a month at Easter, andthree or four months in summer – are mainly periods of intellectual digestionand private study.

The courses are also ‘full-time’which really means full-time: the students are not supposed to take a lobduring term time. Unless their parents are rich, they receive a state grant ofmoney, which covers most of their expenses including the cost of accommodation.Grants and loans are intended to create opportunities for equality ineducation. A grants system was set up to support students through university.Grants are paid by the LEA on the basis of parental income. In the late 80s(the Conservative) government decided to stop to increase these grants, whichwere previously linked to inflation. Instead, students were able to borrowmoney in the form of a low-interest loan, which then had to be paid back aftertheir course had finished. Critics argue that students from less affluentfamilies had to think twice before entering the course, and that this worsenedthe trend which saw a 33% drop in working-class student numbers in the 1980s.


Cambridge is the second oldest university and city in Britain. It lies on the river Cam and takes its name from this river (Cam (тех. кулак) + bridge (мост)). Cambridge was founded in 1284 when the first college, Peterhouse, was built. Now there are 22 colleges in Cambridge, but only three of them are women’s colleges. The first women college was opened in 1896.

The ancient buildings, chapels, libraries and colleges are in the center of the city. There are many museums in the old university city. Its population consist mostly of teachers and students. All students have to live in the college during their course.

In the old times the students’ life was very strict. They were not allowed to play games, to sing, to hunt, to fish or even to dance. They wore special dark clothes, which they continue to wear in our days. In the streets of Cambridge, you can see young men wearing dark blue or black clothes and the ‘squares’ – the academic caps.

Many great men have studied at Cambridge, among them Cromwell, Newton, Byron, Tennyson, and Darwin. The great Russian scientist I.P. Pavlov came to Cambridge to receive the degree of the Honorary Doctor of Cambridge. 

The students presented him with a toy dog then. Now Cambridge is know all over the world as a great center of science, where many famous scientists have worked: Rutherford, Kapitza and others.

Students studying for the firstdegree are called undergraduates. Atthe end of the third year of study undergraduates sit for their examinationsand take the bachelor’s degree. Those engaged in the study of arts suchsubjects as history, languages, economics or law take Bachelor of Arts (BA). Students studying pure or applied sciencessuch as medicine, dentistry, technology or agriculture get Bachelor of Science (BSc). When they have been awarded the degree,they are known as graduates. Most peopleget honours degrees, awarded indifferent classes. These are: Class I (known as ‘a first’), Class II, I (or ‘anupper second’), Class II, II (or ‘a lower second’), Class III (‘a third’). Astudent who is below one of these gets a pass degree (i.e. not an honoursdegree).

Students who obtain their Bachelordegree can apply to take a further degree course, usually involving a mixtureof exam courses and research. There are two different types of post-graduate courses – the Master’s Degree (MA or MSc), whichtakes one or two years, and the higher degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which takes two or three years. Fundingfor post-graduate courses is very limited, and even students with first classdegrees may be unable to get a grant. Consequently many post-graduates haveheavy bank loans or are working to pay their way to a higher degree.

The university system also providesa national network of extra-mural or ‘Continuing Education’ Departmentswhich offer academic courses for adults who wish to study – often for the sheerpleasure of study – after they have left schools of higher education.

One development in education inwhich Britain can claim to lead the world is the Open University. It was founded in 1969 in Milton Keynes,Buckinghamshire and is so called because it is open to all – this universitydoes not require any formal academic qualifications to study for a degree, andmany people who do not have an opportunity to be ‘ordinary’ students enroll.The university is non-residential and courses are mainly taught by specialwritten course books and by programmes on state radio and television. Thereare, however, short summer courses of about a week that the students have toattend and special part-time study centers where they can meet their tutors whenthey have problems.

As mentioned above, the Britishhigher education system was added to in the 1970s, which saw the creation ofcolleges and institutions of higher education, often by merging existingcolleges or by establishing new institutions. They now offer a wide range ofdegree, certificate and diploma courses in both science and art, and in somecases have specifically taken over the role of training teachers for theschools.

There are also a variety of otherBritish higher institutions, which offer higher education. Some, like the RoyalCollege of Arts, the Cornfield Institute of Technology and various BusinessSchools, have university status, while others, such as agricultural, drama andarts colleges like the Royal Academy of Dramatics Arts (RADA) and the Royalcollege of Music provide comparable courses. All these institutions usuallyhave a strong vocational aspect in their programmes, which fills a specializedrole in higher education.


1.    Levashova V.A. Britain today: Life andInstitutions. – Moscow: INFRA-M, 2001.

2.     200 Тем Английского Языка./Сост.: Бойко В., ЖидкихН., Каверина  В., Панина Е. – Москва:Издательство Иванова В.И., 2001.

3.    Magazine “CLUB”, №3, January –February 2001.

4.    Книга длячтения к учебнику английского языка для 8 класса средней школы./Сост.: Копыл Е.Г.,Боровик М.А. Изд. 2-е. Москва, «Просвещение», 1978.

5.    Newspaper “English Learner’sDigest” №8, April 2001.

6.    Adrian Room, An A to Z of British Life;OUP 1992.


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