Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England; whilst the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are respo ...
Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK Government is responsible for England; whilst the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for Scotland,[ Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively. In England and Wales, the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) is applicable to children aged 5 and below, and the national curriculum is applicable to children aged 5+. In each country there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education (FE) and higher education (HE). The law states that full time education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland) and 16, the compulsory school age (CSA). In England, compulsory education or training has been extended to 18 for those born on or after 1 September 1997. This full-time education does not need to be at a school and a number of parents choose to home educate. Before they reach compulsory school age, children can be educated at nursery if parents wish though there is only limited government funding for such places. Further Education is non-compulsory, and covers non-advanced education which can be taken at further (including tertiary) education colleges and Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The fifth stage, Higher Education, is study beyond A levels or BTECs (and their equivalent) which, for most full-time students, takes place in universities and other Higher Education institutions and colleges. The National Curriculum (NC), established in 1988, provides a framework for education in England and Wales between the ages of 5 and 18. Though the National Curriculum is not compulsory it is followed by most state schools, but some private schools, academies, free schools and home educators design their own curricula. In Scotland the nearest equivalent is the Curriculum for Excellence programme, and in Northern Ireland there is something known as the common curriculum. The Scottish qualifications the National 4/5s, Highers and Advanced Highers are highly similar to the English Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced Level (A2) courses. Ages and year groups 0 = N / A 1 = N / A 2 = N / A 3 = Preschool 4 = Preschool 5 = Year 0 (Reception) 6 = Year 1 7 = Year 2 8 = Year 3 9 = Year 4 10 = Year 5 11 = Year 6 12 = Year 7 13 = Year 8 14 = Year 9 15 = Year 10 16 = Year 11 17 = Year 12 18 = Year 13 Higher education Students normally enter university from age 18 onwards, and study for an academic degree. Historically, all undergraduate education outside a small number of private colleges and universities has been largely state-financed since the 1960s, with a small contribution from top-up fees introduced in the 1990s, however fees of up to £9,000 per annum have been charged from October 2012. There is a distinct hierarchy among universities, with the Russell Group containing most of the country's more prestigious, research-led and research-focused universities. The state does not control university syllabuses, but it does influence admission procedures through the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), which approves and monitors access agreements to safeguard and promote fair access to higher education. Unlike most degrees, the state still has control over teacher training courses, and uses its Ofsted inspectors to maintain standards. The typical first degree offered at English universities is the bachelor's degree, and usually lasts for three years. Many institutions now offer an integrated master's degree as a first degree, which typically lasts for four years, with the first three years running parallel to the bachelor's course. During a first degree students are known as undergraduates. The difference in fees between integrated and traditional postgraduate master's degrees (and that fees are capped at the first degree level for the former) makes taking an integrated master's degree as a first degree a more attractive option. Integrated master's degrees are often the standard route to chartered status for professionals in England. Some universities offer a vocationally based foundation degree, typically two years in length for those students who hope to continue on to a first degree but wish to remain in employment. Postgraduate education Students who have completed a first degree are eligible to undertake a postgraduate degree, which might be a: Master's degree (typically taken in one year, though research-based master's degrees may last for two) Doctorate (typically taken in three years) Postgraduate education is not automatically financed by the state. Specialist qualifications The University of Birmingham, a 'Red Brick university'. Education: Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Certificate in Education (Cert Ed), City and Guilds of London Institute (C&G), or Bachelor of Education (BA or BEd), most of which also incorporate Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Law: Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), studied at Law School. Medicine: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, studied at medical school Veterinary Medicine: Bachelor of Veterinary Science Pharmacy: Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) Business: Master of Business Administration (MBA). Psychology: Doctor of Educational Psychology (D.Ed.Ch.Psychol) or Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych.). Fees Until the academic year 2011-2012 most undergraduates paid fees that were set at a maximum of £3,375 per annum. These fees are repayable after graduation, contingent on attaining a certain level of income, with the state paying all fees for students from the poorest backgrounds. UK students are generally entitled to student loans for maintenance. Undergraduates admitted from the academic year 2012-2013 have paid tuition fees set at a maximum of up to £9,000 per annum, with most universities charging over £6,000 per annum, and other higher education providers charging less. Postgraduate fees vary but are generally more than undergraduate fees, depending on the degree and university. There are numerous bursaries (awarded to low income applicants) to offset undergraduate fees and, for postgraduates, full scholarships are available for most subjects, and are usually awarded competitively. Different arrangements apply to English students studying in Scotland, and to Scottish and Welsh students studying in England. Students from outside the UK and the EU attending English universities are charged differing amounts, often in the region of £5,000 - £20,000 per annum for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The actual amount differs by institution and subject, with the lab based subjects charging a greater amount.