In England schooling is compulsory for children of 5 to 16 years of age. Any child may attend, without paying fees, a school provided by the public authority, and the great majority attend such schools. Yet, a limited number of schoolchildren attend fee-paying schools called "public", though they are in fact private schools.
Primary Schools. (A Primary school - начальная школа). At five years old, the age at which education becomes compulsory, children go to infant schools until they arc seven and then on to junior schools until the age of 11. Over 80% of all primary schools are mixed.
Some junior schools carry out. a policy of streaming. Pupils are streamed, according to their abilities to learn, into А, В, С and D streams - the brightest children go to the A stream and the least gifted to the D stream.
There are some types of secondary schools in England. They are: grammar schools, modern schools and comprehensive schools.
Secondary Schools. At the age of 11 when children leave junior school to start the second stage of their education they go to assessment centers or for interviews at local secondary schools. This system has replaced the old selective examination (it was called "Eleven Plus Examination") which was much criticized by teachers and parents. Nowadays most of the secondary schools in Great Britain have gone over to be comprehensive system. Almost 50% of all secondary schools are single sex.
The Comprehensive Schools take all children over eleven regardless of their supposed intelligence. In these schools children are not separated according to ability. On graduating, the students can enter universities, colleges, polytechnics or other higher educational establishments.
The organization of state schooling is not centralized as in most European countries. Firstly, there is no prescribed curriculum. Secondly, the types of school available and the age ranges vary in different parts of the country. State schooling in the United Kingdom is financed partly by the government and partly by local rates.
Pupils going on to higher education or professional training usually take "A" level examinations in two or three subjects. Universities accept students mainly on the basis of their "A" level results.
There are forty-seven universities in Britain and thirty former polytechnics, plus 350 colleges and institutes of higher education.
The most famous universities are Oxford and Cambridge, called "Oxbridge".