Too Cool School System

Today at Birmingham City University was interesting. So far most of the lectures and academic activities we’ve been doing have revolved around nursing, however it was a pleasant change to hear some information regarding education. The lectures were focused specifically on public education specifically in England rather than the UK as a whole. 

We began the intro to public education in England with the early years education sector. This group of learning is for children ages 0-5 and they must complete many tests including a  baseline assessment and a phonics screening test, as well as assessments which are composed of English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling, and math. I also learned about the legal ratios associated with the care and teaching of children. One nurse can oversee three children under two, four children aged two to three, eight children ages five to eight and thirteen children for every qualified teacher. I found this part of the lecture particularly important since I have an interest in working with children in this age range and previously never thought about how education relates to children this young, however there are certain marks that children need to meet during this age range in order to ensure that they are developing correctly and will not require any SEND interventions. 

Next we covered primary school, where children ages 5-11 complete key stages 1 and 2. Students must complete the Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) at age 7 as their first key stage test, they must also complete key stage 2 which are again the SATs at age 11. After primary school students, age 12-16, continue onto secondary school where they will complete their key stages 3 and 4. As their key stage requirements students will complete their GCSEs at age 16. 

From here students can stop their education and begin working if they achieved a grade 4 or higher, however if not they must continue with their studies and focus their education on math and english until the age of 18. They may also do an apprenticeship where they may work up to 20 hours but they must also be doing part time studying. At age 18 is when students interested in pursuing higher education will attend university and there is also further education which relates to any qualifications that fall between primary school and university, which is what lots of adults do for retraining. 

Furthermore, we learned about the national curriculum and all the different types of schools present in England. The national curriculum was set in place in 1988 and decided on the 11 core subjects that students would take in order to increase equality.There are grammar schools which are selective schools where students are admitted based on academic ability and must take a test to be accepted. There are also comprehensive schools which are non selective schools where generally everyone can attend, faith schools that are associated with particular religious beliefs, free schools which are schools set up so that anyone can attend and anything can be taught, academies which are schools not regulated by local governments and don’t follow the national curriculum, special schools for students with SEND and private schools that also don’t follow the national curriculum and charge fees. 

Listening to the lectures I realized many differences between the UK and US’ public education. In the US, I believe we only have public, private, and charter schools while the UK has many more options. Our levels of education are also different with the US having elementary schools that students attend for five or six years before moving onto middle school for three years and high school for another four years and can either stop their education or move onto university. 

Although I learned a lot about the education systems, I am still curious to find out the outcomes of these children’s educations. I know that in the US students who attend private school ultimately have more resources than those in public schools and will therefore have a better outcome in their higher education than students who attend public school and I’m wondering if it is the same for the UK as well?

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