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Author Topic: How do schools work in the UK?  (Read 6301 times)

Offline Evie

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How do schools work in the UK?
« on: 23/10/2008 17:55:32 »
Two nights ago, my fiancee (who is a math teacher) and I were discussing education in general. I am of the opinion that we (the collective U.S.) require too much quantity and not enough quality of teaching. There is a belief that every child needs to receive a classical education in a variety of subjects up through high school, and even on into college. I think it has gotten a little out of hand and we require such a mass of information to be covered that the kids barely understand anything they are learning anymore, and remember hardly any of it later on.

During said discussion, I expressed my opinion that I felt much more was expected of me when I spent a semester in Scotland than at my home university in the States. This led to a general comparison of world education systems, but I didn't have a lot of facts to be able to go into much detail.

I thought, since we have a diverse collection on this board, you guys could help me out!  :)

So, here are a few questions:

1. How do schools operate in the UK and Europe (or other countries if you have reliable first-hand knowledge)?

2. What type of classes do you take in the equivalent of high school (what's that called?)?

3. How many subjects do you take each year or semester in high school? University?

4. What standardized tests do you have to take, and is that to graduate, or just to place into University?

5. Do you have trade or apprentice schools/programs?

That's about it to kick this off, though I'll probably have lots more to ask if I get some responses.

Thanks!


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #1 on: 23/10/2008 18:48:15 »
It was many years ago that I was at school, and things have changed a lot since then. Personally, I think the schooling I received was superior to that which today's pupils get (undoubtedly so in English spelling & grammar!).

I went up to secondary school at age 11. I was fortunate enough to get a place at a County Grammar school. For the first 4 years we were given a grounding in a wide range of subjects. Those of us who were considered good enough then took 'O' level (Ordinary level) exams. If we got enough good grades (8) we skipped the 5th form & went straight into Lower 6th. Those who didn't make the grade went into the 5th form.

At 6th form level we began specialising and studying for 'A' levels (Advanced level). At my school we had Arts, Modern and Science. My school was very much geared up for Oxbridge entrance (Oxford and Cambridge universities) and so the target was 4 A grade A level passes (or a minimum of 3 As and a B).

We studied for A levels for 2 years (Lower 6th and Upper 6th). Pupils who wanted Oxbridge entrance but who did not get the required grades could stay on and try again. Others went into Scholarship 6th to get additional qualifications.

My school was also part of a collegiate scheme with another grammar school and a secondary modern. Pupils who found the pace of learning at my school too daunting could transfer to the other grammar school or, if they had more of an interest in trade- or skill-based learning, to the secondary modern. Pupils from those schools who excelled in academic subjects could be transferred to my school. The system worked very well.

I don't think academically-gifted pupils are given enough support these days. We have gotten into the "one size fits all" mentality and I do not think that works. Nor do I believe that enough emphasis is placed on basic knowledge and skills. As an example, I was amazed to discover that at my local college in Suffolk, students on degree courses were offered basic literacy & numeracy classes. I would like to know how they managed to get the required qualifications to get on a degree course without being able to read & write properly or do simple maths.

I cannot comment on the standards of literacy & numeracy at colleges and universities in other countries; but I am willing to bet they are a lot higher.
« Last Edit: 23/10/2008 18:51:31 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline JimBob

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #2 on: 24/10/2008 03:15:54 »
Perhaps the best education is one in which the teachers instill in the love of learning. I recognized towards the end of my university education - mainly because of my high school education (upper forms) that the love of reading and he use of the English language, history and geometry (yes geometry and logic) that I would never know as much as I wanted to know. I still read and, since the internet, can read almost any subject I desire. I still continue to educate myself.

The problem these days is society is too afraid of offending people buy telling them their children didn't learn enough in any particular class and that those people offended in such a manner they blame the teacher - NOT THEMSELVES - for the lack of learning in their own children. It is the parents responsibility to discipline and prod their children into getting on in the world. If my mother had not insisted, many times over strong objections on my part, that I study rather than goof-off - well I would have been just another slacker.

Our schools are a shambles in both the UK and the US it seems. The parents and the educational philosophies of the 60's and 70's have screwed our countries futures. The best educated will rule the earth. The Indians and the Chinese.

Oh, and I agree with Bev's last statement.
« Last Edit: 27/10/2008 00:29:54 by JimBob »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #3 on: 24/10/2008 14:56:16 »
Bev? You illiterate war-mongerer!

Jim - it seems you and I are both autodidacts.
 

Offline Don_1

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #4 on: 24/10/2008 17:42:15 »
the stait off englesh skools ar rearly verry goode" i was tort grama in 1 off the bestest skols in the cuntry? and they're were a emfasis on maffs. soon i lerned fat 2 + 2 ekwals 22 and 2 - 2 ekwals bugger all.

i Fink u is gonna lick wot yoo se ova ere.

we got sum good techers ere wen thay ar ere eneway cos sum of em av jus bin ta tha usA fur a conphrence. [ bet ya didnt fink i culd speel conphrence did ya} 20 of em went ta arizonea fur 60 grande ov my taxis.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #5 on: 24/10/2008 20:23:45 »
the stait off englesh skools ar rearly verry goode" i was tort grama in 1 off the bestest skols in the cuntry? and they're were a emfasis on maffs. soon i lerned fat 2 + 2 ekwals 22 and 2 - 2 ekwals bugger all.

i Fink u is gonna lick wot yoo se ova ere.

we got sum good techers ere wen thay ar ere eneway cos sum of em av jus bin ta tha usA fur a conphrence. [ bet ya didnt fink i culd speel conphrence did ya} 20 of em went ta arizonea fur 60 grande ov my taxis.

Yeah, dey lick spendin our taxis innit. All dat travlin n dey dont pay nuffin coz we pays it.

I fgort it was spilt konfrenz.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #6 on: 29/10/2008 11:21:16 »
This is how it goes in the UK education system. Year 1 to 6 children mostly go to primary school. They focus on Maths and English in the morning in a strict prescriptive manor. In the afternoon they do all the other subjects. In year 6 they are groomed to pass they Standard Assessment tests which are basically hoops for the school to jump through. They are in Maths, English and Science. The tests have a ceiling so brighter children aren't really tested. At secondary school they are taught a wide curriculum in years 7 to 9. They used to be tested at this point but cocked all the results up last year and have cancelled them. In year 10 and 11 children can pick what they would like to study. They have to do the core subjects; maths, English and science. They take GCSE exams at the end of year 11. Children getting A to C results tend to go on to A-level in year 12 to 13. They take from 3 to 5 subjects free choice. If they get A grades they get a good university. If they get bad grades they go to not so good universities. At University you do the subject of your choice. Just one subject.
There is talk of bringing in the international Baccalaureate which will be a broad church option so that students don't specialise too early.
Beaver, teaching spelling and grammar was abolished under Mrs Thatcher and re-established under Blair. Gotcha!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #7 on: 29/10/2008 15:22:44 »
At University you do the subject of your choice. Just one subject.

Just 1 subject? How come my last Bachelor's degree was in Psychology & Evolutionary Science? A friend of mine did Philosophy & Film Studies (whoopee-do). In fact, twin subject degree courses are very common.


Quote
Beaver, teaching spelling and grammar was abolished under Mrs Thatcher and re-established under Blair. Gotcha!

Not at any of the schools my daughter went to it wasn't. It may have been abolished in Northern schools as Mrs Thatcher probably realised there was no point trying to teach you lot to write & spell properly!


 

paul.fr

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #8 on: 29/10/2008 15:59:40 »
Quote
Beaver, teaching spelling and grammar was abolished under Mrs Thatcher and re-established under Blair. Gotcha!

Not at any of the schools my daughter went to it wasn't. It may have been abolished in Northern schools as Mrs Thatcher probably realised there was no point trying to teach you lot to write & spell properly!


No, i think it was because the teachers were on strike far too often to give the kids a decent education.
 

Offline RD

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #9 on: 29/10/2008 20:53:48 »
On average UK schools are warmer than those in the USA... :)

Quote
Between 1998 and 2002 there were, on average, 2,100 fires per year in educational establishments in the United Kingdom, of which 1,500 per year (74%) occurred in schools. This equates to almost 30 fires in schools each week.
http://www.fire.org.uk/advice/FA/odpm_fire_pdf_028815.pdf


Quote
Each year in the United States, an average of 5,500 structure fires occur in educational institutions—public, private, and parochial schools where students attend during the day only     [2001/2 statistics].
http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/tfrs/v2i9-508.pdf

Remember the USA has five times the population of the UK.
« Last Edit: 29/10/2008 20:58:15 by RD »
 

paul.fr

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #10 on: 07/11/2008 11:55:58 »
They may be working very badle, very soon:

Backing for creationism discussion

1 hour 41 mins ago
Press Assoc.

    * Print Story

A third of teachers believe creationism should be given the same status as evolution in the classroom, a survey suggested. Skip related content

A Teachers TV poll of 1,200 teachers found that almost a third (30%) already consider creationism or intelligent design, to some extent, during science lessons.

And almost nine out of ten teachers take the view that they should be allowed to discuss the subject in science if pupils raise the question.

Supporters of creationism reject the concept of evolution and believe that the Earth and humanity were created by a deity. Intelligent design is a more modern version which argues that life is so complex it cannot solely be explained by evolution.

Andrew Bethell, chief executive of Teachers TV, said: "This poll data confirms that the debate on whether there is a place for the teaching of creationism in the classroom is still fierce.

"Although over half (50.4%) of teachers either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea that creationism should be given the same status as evolution, there is a significant minority who believe that it should be given equal weight."

The survey found that 31.1% of teachers agreed that creationism or intelligent design should be given the same status as evolution.

Mr Bethell added: "Perhaps most telling is the fact that, almost nine out of 10 (87.9%) teachers take the pragmatic view that they should be allowed to discuss creationism or intelligent design in science, if pupils raise the question."

In September leading biologist and education expert the Rev Professor Michael Reiss called for creationism to be included in science lessons.

Shortly after he stepped down as the Royal Society's director of education, and the society said his comments had damaged its reputation. Prof Reiss had argued that banning the subject from the classroom is likely to backfire with children who hold sincere beliefs.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20081107/tuk-backing-for-creationism-discussion-6323e80.html
 

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How do schools work in the UK?
« Reply #10 on: 07/11/2008 11:55:58 »

 

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