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The UK School System: An overview of the way it is now.

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1 The UK School System: An overview of the way it is now

2 State schools Free 94% of British children Private or independent schools Fees anything up to £30,000 per year 6% of British children

3 Primary Ages 4-11 Secondary Ages All students take GCSEs at age (sixth form) A-levels or vocational qualifications After nursery school, which isnt compulsory, but for which parents may receive financial help, students start school on or around their fifth birthday.

4 From 2013, the school leaving age will be 18, not 16.

5 Primary schools Children start school on or just before their fifth birthday National tests at ages 7 and 11 in English, Maths and Science.

6 Admit any child, regardless of ability Comprehensive schools Do not exist everywhere. Admit children based on an exam – the 11 Plus. Grammar schools Admit children with Moderate to Severe Special Educational Needs Pupil Referral Units also exist for students who have been expelled from several schools, or who have problems attending mainstream schools. Special schools mainstream schools Overview of secondary schools (11-18)

7 GCSE Exams GCSE exams mark the end of compulsory schooling (age 16). Students take one or two qualifications for each subject studied. Typically, pupils may leave school with around 8 GCSEs. It depends on the pupil and the school. Getting 5 GCSEs between grades A*-C opens many doors for students in Further Education. Schools are judged in their pupils performance in GCSE exams, and results are published in league tables.

8 Post-16 education Many secondary schools have sixth forms – they run courses for students aged 16-18, but some do not. At the age of 16, pupils can choose to: – Leave school and find work – Continue study at their school, if it has a sixth form – Continue study at another school – Go to a Further Education College

9 Post-16 study options A-levels Students must have achieved 5 A*-C grades at GCSEs. They should achieve a B or above in the subjects they want to study. Usually, students take 4 subjects in the first year, and 3 in the second year. Vocational qualifications These include: GNVQs, BTECs, NVQs, and the new diplomas, some of which may replace A- levels. Sometimes students repeat some GCSEs, or go onto A-levels later.

10 University degrees Doctorates – PhDs (3 years) Masters – MA, MSc etc – 1-2 years Undergraduate degrees – 3-4 years BA, BSc etc

11 Teacher training All teachers must have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). There are many different routes to QTS: Undergraduate – BEd (Bachelor of Education). – Some primary teachers may train this way, but there are few secondary courses. Postgraduate Most teachers, particularly secondary teachers, take a BA/BSc/further degree in a subject of their choice, then take post- graduate training: – PGCE – GTP – SCITT

12 Postgraduate teacher training PGCE The traditional route. University lectures and seminars, plus two supervised placements GTP Little university time. Students may start teaching almost straight away SCITT Instead of having seminars at a university, students have seminars at a school.

13 Teaching qualifications in relation to other university degrees Doctorates – PhDs (3 years) Masters – MA, MSc etc – 1-2 years Undergraduate degrees – 3-4 years BA, BSc etc PGCEs at this level BEd

14 Education since Labour (1997)

15 Encouraging people to become teachers Bursaries and golden hellos were introduced to encourage people to become teachers in shortage subjects (e.g. English, Maths, Science, Modern Languages). Maths and Science teachers are in especially short supply, so those bursaries are more lucrative. These bursaries are now less generous as the shortages are said to be less severe.

16 Inclusion The policy of, where possible, including children with Special Educational Needs in mainstream education. This is to allow children with SEN to better integrate in society, and is part of the comprehensive ethos. More Teaching Assistants employed to work with students in class. Some special schools have closed. Some parents argue that they would prefer to send their children to a special school, where they may receive more specialised teaching and progress better. Cynics argue that Teaching Assistants are cheaper than specialist teachers and that inclusion is a cost-cutting exercise.

17 GCSE Achievement Schools are increasingly judged on how many of their students achieve 5 GCSEs graded A*-C (good passes) at age 16, the end of compulsory education. Results are published every year, and league tables are also produced, so parents can see how local schools perform. Lower exam results may mean that schools become less popular, and therefore lose their prestige, and extra funding (e.g. for being a specialist school, which only high-achieving schools can be). If a school has a sudden dip in exam results, this can trigger an Ofsted inspection.

18 Why is this controversial? Some schools have been accused of manipulating their figures by entering students for easier subjects, or not entering them for the exam if they are unlikely to get a C grade. Schools are now judged on how many of their students get 5A*-C grades in subjects including English and Maths, which can mean more emphasis on these subjects.

19 More attention is given to the exam year group, so other year groups arent given so many resources (including A-level students). There is a lot of pressure on staff and students to achieve these grades. Some argue: isnt there more to school than exams?

20 Academies The Academies scheme aims to turn failing schools (generally secondary schools) into successful ones by: Making them independent from local government patrol Having them sponsored by an outside organisation – a company, a church, another school, a university The academies can make their own policies and decide their own budgets

21 Diplomas Diplomas started in They are designed to replace GCSEs and A-levels and are more practical and applied. The government wants diplomas to be accepted by universities as alternatives to A- levels, but some universities are refusing to do this, saying they are unproven and may lack rigour.

22 PFI – Private Finance Initiative PFI Schemes are where new school buildings are funded by private companies. The school sells some land to the private company, and in return, gets a new building. It does not own the building, however. It leases new building from the company.

23 Up to the 1960sThe 1960s The 1980s 1997-present – well cover this in class Take several pages of your notebook and set up a timeline summarising the key events in the UK education system Use the information on your handout for these parts

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