1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.
2. A HISTORY OF THE MODERN SYSTEM OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
2.1. Ancient times.
2.2. Medieval times.
2.3. Modern times.
2.3.1. The nineteenth century: the 1870 Educational Act.
2.3.2. The twentieth century: other Educational Acts.
3. THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
3.1. Definition: What is education?
3.2. The Education System in the United Kingdom.
3.2.1. The English Educational System.
22.214.171.124. State education.
126.96.36.199. Independent schools.
188.8.131.52. The universities.
184.108.40.206. Extracurricular education.
3.2.2. The Educational System in Northern Ireland.
3.2.3. The Educational System in Wales.
3.2.4. The Educational System in Scotland.
4. NEW DIRECTIONS ON LANGUAGE TEACHING.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
The present unit, Unit 65, aims to provide a useful introduction to the Education System in the United Kingdom as an atte mpt to offer a general overview of education in each country in terms of differences and similarities. In doing so, the unit is to be divided into two main chapters: first, Chapter 2 offers a history of the modern system of education in the United Kingdom so as to better understand the current educational system in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. In doing so, we have offered a historical overview of education from (1) ancient times and (2) medieval times, up to (3) modern times, where we have further examined the main events during (a) the nineteenth century, namely regarding the 1870 Educational Act, and during (b) the twentieth century, with respect to other Educational Acts up to the present day.
Chapter 3, then, provides a more current and general overview of the Education System in the United Kingdom by offering first (1) a definition of term ‘education’ and, secondly, an analysis of (2) the Education System in the United Kingdom, in which we include an approach to (a) the English Educational System regarding (i) state education, (ii) independent schools, (iii) universities, and (iv) extracurricular education; and then (b) the Educational System in Northern Ireland, (c) the Educational System in Wales, and (d) the Educational System in Scotland, which is different from the previous ones. Finally, Chapter 4 will be devoted to the main educational implications in language teaching regarding the introduction of this issue in the classroom setting; Chapter 5 will offer a conclusion to broadly overview our present study, and Chapter 6 will include all the bibliography for further references.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.
An influential introduction to the Education System in the United Kingdom is based on Bromhead, Life in Modern Britain (1962); Howatt, A history of English Language teaching (1984); and Richards, J., & Rodgers, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (1992). Other sources include the Encyclopaedia Larousse 2000 (2000); the Encyclopedia Britannica (2004); and the following up-to-date websites: www.historylearningsite.co.uk (2004), http://en.wikipedia.org; and http://www.know-britain.com.
The background for educational implications is based on the theory of communicative competence and communicative approaches to language teaching are provided by the most
complete record of current publications within the educational framework is provided by the guidelines in B.O.E. (2004) for both E.S.O. and Bachillerato; the Council of Europe, Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European Framework of reference (1998); and van Ek and Trim, Vantage (2001).
2. A HISTORY OF THE MODERN SYSTEM OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
Chapter 2 offers a history of the modern system of education in the United Kingdom so as to better understand the current educational system in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. In doing so, we have offered a historical overview of education from (1) ancient times and (2) medieval times, up to (3) modern times, where we have further examined the main events during (a) the nineteenth century, namely regarding the 1870 Educational Act, and during (b) the twentieth century, with respect to other Educational Acts up to the present day.
2.1. Ancient times.
Following the website www.know-britain (2004), regarding general education in England, “ever since the existence of man the teaching and learning process has been an integral part of human experience. The communication of knowledge and practical skills has always been essential to the development of individuals, groups and wider communities. If this is true of the most primitive of communities it is all the more so in today’s complex society where personal fulfilment depends to a large extent on one’s social role which is often a direct result of acquired knowledge and the ability to make the most of it. The ability to develop one’s critical sense, the ability to analyse, to see how things and persons relate are all skills that are the result of education.”
Moreover, “it was not long before communities realised that if they needed people of ability then it had to encourage education. After all a society of any kind is not a mere abstraction but a number of individuals that are in some way are related and interact. The development of society as a whole depends on the development of each constituent part. Even the Homo Habilis of the Stone Age had to learn to make rudimentary weapons to defend himself and to hunt for food. He had to learn how to use the skins of the animals to make basic protective clothing. The transmission of knowledge and skills (education) allowed him to survive.”
So, we can affirm that education (in the sense of language teaching) traces back to ancient civilizations. Also, as Richards & Rodgers (1992) state, the function of the earliest educational systems was primarily to teach religion and to promote the traditions of the people. Thus, in the Old Testament, one of the aims and methods of education among the ancient Jewish traditions was to teach their children a foreign la nguage. Yet, it was around the fifth century B.C that in ancient India the early states of language were written down as a set of rules which, in fact, became a grammar of Sanskrit whose effects went far beyond the original intentions of the authors.
2.2. Medieval times.
During the Middle Ages (15th-16th century), the early educational systems of the nations of the Western world emanated from the Judea-Christian religious traditions, which were combined with traditions derived from ancient Greece philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. According to Howatt (1984), Christianity in the Middle Ages became a powerful force in the countries of the Mediterranean region and other areas in Europe. Many monastic schools, as well as municipal and cathedral schools, were founded during the centuries of early Christian influence.
Actually, following the website www.know-britain, some of these early schools built by the time formal education was already taking shape in Britain still survive nowadays. During the Middles Ages, schools ranged from those organised by the local parish to those connected to Cathedrals, chantries and monasteries. These gave a very elementary education where pupils were given religious instruction and were taught to read. From this period we have the first grammar schools that prepared pupils for entrance into the colleges in Oxford and another very prestigious institution, Eton College, which was founded by Henry VI in 1440. It is worth mentioning that both Winchester College and Eton College still exist as very exclusive institutions.
Apart from those already mentioned there are a number of other ancient schools that still survive, such as St Paul’s School founded in 1509 by John Colet (1467?-1519). All of these institutions provided specialised knowledge in Latin and Greek necessary for their future studies in one of the Oxford colleges. Apart from these academically orientated institutions there were also other forms of formal education especially those of a vocational kind. Apprentices learnt their trade skills in schools run by the various guilds.
As we can see, this double choice, dating from the age of primitive man down to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is still present in the modern system of education in England today. So, from early times we have two separate systems providing different types of education: academic and vocational. Similarly, we also see existing side by side two types of educational institutio ns: secular and religious since there has always been a close association between the Church and education which has survived throughout the ages. Schools run by religious organisations have always had a profound influence on the development of education and still offer an invaluable service to the nation.
“Teachings, then, centered on grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music, and the chief storehouse of learning were the monasteries, which maintained archives that preserved many manuscripts of the preceding classical culture, and durin g this period universities were established in several countries, such as Italy, Spain, France and England. Medieval education also took the form of apprenticeship training in some craft or service. As a rule, however, education was the privilege of the upper classes, and most members of the lower classes had no opportunity for formal learning.”
During the Renaissance period educators emphasized such subjects as history, geography, music, and physical training, and taught mostly in Latin grammar schools. Montaigne, among others, in the sixteenth century and Comenius and John Locke in the seventeenth century, promoted alternative approaches to education, making specific proposals for curriculum reform and for changes in the way Latin was taught (Howatt 1984), but since Latin had for so long been regarded as the classical and therefore most ideal form of language, the role of language study in the curriculum reflected the long-established status of Latin.
Beginning around the 16th century, French, Italian, and English gained in importance as a result of political changes in Europe, and Latin gradually became displaced as a language of spoken and written communication. In the seventeenth century, language study and therefore, education was to be promoted in subsequent centuries through the fields of philosophy, logic, rhetoric, sociology, and religion, among others, providing the framework for the main task of linguistic scholars. This was basically to study and understand the general principles upon which all languages are built and in doing so, teach them better. Some of those methodological and theoretical principles and ideas are still used within the field of education nowadays.
Also, during the 17th century there was a rapid growth of scientific knowledge , which gave rise to its inclusion in courses in the universities of the European countries and led to the exchange and spread of scientific and cultural ideas throughout Europe. Children entering “grammar
school” in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries in England were initially given a rigorous introduction to Latin grammar (Howatt 1984) and were often met with brutal punishment. Latin was said to develop intellectual abilities, and the study of Latin grammar became an end in itself.
2.3. Modern times.
Following www.know-britain (2004), “the events that lead directly to the birth of the modern system of education in England are to be sought mainly in the second half of the 19th-century. There were certain individuals at the beginning of the 19th century who were in favour of widespread education, however, for a number of reasons, they did not have the backing either of the government or of the people. Later on in the century leaders of the Chartist Movement and the Radicals were in favour of some sort of national system of education. However, it is safe to say that there was no widespread desire for the education of the population as a whole. In the social legislation of this period education did not become a real priority until the year of the first Education Act, 1870.” Let us examine the steps that led to the English Modern Educational System.
2.3.1. The nineteenth century: the 1870 Educational Act.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, several events related to education took place in Britain. For instance, in August 1833, “parliament voted sums of money each year for the construction of schools for poor children, distributed by the Treasury, the first time the state had become involved with education. In 1839 government grants for the construction and maintenance of schools were switched to voluntary bodies, and became conditional on a satisfactory inspection,” and next year, “in 1840 the Grammar Schools Act expanded the Grammar School curriculum from classical studies to include science and literature.”
“Before 1870, education was largely a private affair, with wealthy parents sending their children to fee-paying schools. The Forster Elementary Education Act of 1870 required partially state funded board schools to be set up to provide primary (elementary) education in areas where existing provision was inadequate. Board schools were managed by elected school boards. The schools remained fee-paying. The previous government grant scheme established 1833 ended on December 31, 1870.” Then, “under the 1880 Elementary Education Act, education became free up to the age of 10, but was also made compulsory up until that age as well.”
Yet, “the 1891 Free Education Act provided for the state payment of school fees up to ten shillings per week. ” Later on, “the 1893 Elementary Education (School Attendance) Act raised the school leaving age to 11 and later to 13. The Elementary Education (Blind and Deaf Children) Act of the same year extened compulsory education to blind and deaf children, and made provision for the creation of special schools.” And finally, by the end of the century, “the Voluntary Schools Act of 1897 provided grants to public elementary schools not funded by school boards.”
2.3.2. The twentieth century: other Educational Acts.
Also, by the turn of the century many changes took place within the field of education. For instance, the first change occurred in April 1900 when “higher elementary schools were recognised, providing education from the age of 10 to 15.” Two years later, “the 1902 Balfour Education Act created Local Education Authorities (LEAs), who took over responsibility for board schools from the school boards. Grammar schools also became funded by the LEA.”
In 1918 “the Fisher Education Act made secondary education compulsory up to age 14 and gave responsibility for secondary education schools to the state. Under the Act, many higher elementary schools and endowed grammar school sought to become state funded central schools or secondary schools. However, most children attended primary (elementary) school up until age 14, rather than going to a separate school for secondary education.” Then, “after the passing of the 1929 Local Government Act, Poor Law schools became state funded elementary schools.” Moreover, “the Butler Education Act of 1944 established the Tripartite System, and defined the modern split between Primary and Secondary education at age 11.” Finally, “education was made compulsory up to age 15 in 1947.”
Then, during the Post-War period, “due to the failures of the Tripartite system, the Labour government of the time requested proposals from all the UK’s regions for them to move from the Tripartite system to Comprehensive Schools. Note that this was an optional reform for the regions, and as of late 2003 some regions still have the Tripartite System. Education was made compulsory up to age 16 in 1972.” Seven years later, “following the 1979 General Election, the Conservative party regained power in central government, and made two main changes in this period.”
First, though the Labour Party had done some small efforts beforehand, the Conservative Party achieved the considerable expansion of New Vocationalism. “This was seen as an effort to reduce the high youth unemployment figures, which were seen as one of the causes of the
rioting that was relatively commonplace at the end of the seventies. Secondly, the introduction of the Assisted Places scheme which was introduced in 1980, “where gifted children who could not afford to go to fee-paying schools would be given free places in those schools if they could pass the school’s entrance exam.”
However, more important changes were just about to happen in the 1980s as for instance the Education Reform Act of 1988, which made quite a few changes to the system of education. “These changes were aimed at creating an education ‘market’ so that schools were competing against each other for ‘customers’ (pupils), and that bad schools would lose pupils and close, leaving only the good schools open.” The reforms include the following changes:
The introduction of the National Curriculum, “which forced schools to teach certain subjects, as opposed to the choice of subjects being up to the school as had previously been the case.”
“The Assessments of the National Curriculum at the key stages 1 to 3 (ages 7, 11, 14 respectively) through what were formerly called SATs. At key stage 4 (age 16), the assessments were done with the GCSE exam.”
The introduction of the so-called “League Tables, which started to be compiled showing statistics for each school, which are published in newspapers so parents can see which schools are doing well in each area of the country and which aren’t.”
The introduction of formula funding, “which basically meant that the more children a school could attract to it, the more money it got.”
“Open Enrolment and choice for parents were brought back, so that parents could
(within limits) choose what school their children went to.”
The establishment of the OFSTED, an inspection committee which was set up to inspect schools.
Finally, the choice for schools to be able to “opt out of local government control, becoming opt-out schools and receiving funding direct from central government” if enough of their pupils’ parents agreed. “The enticement for schools was that the government offered more money than the school would get from the local authority, and this was seen as a political move given that local authorities were not run by the Conservative party as a rule, and central government was.”
The 1990s are characterized by the New Labour’s Educational Policies from 1997 onward. Actually, “following the 1997 General Election, the Labour party regained power in central government. New Labour’s political ideology meant that most of the changes introduced by the
Conservatives during their time in power stayed.” Hence, the main changes that the Labour
Party stated are as follows:
A new focus on tailoring education to each child’s ability substituted the previous Labour focus on the Comprehensive system. “Critics see this as reminiscent of the original (and proven to have failed) intentions of the Tripartite system.” “Comprehensives are being turned into specialist schools (known as Centres of Excellence), which will teach the National Curriculum subjects plus a few specialist branches of knowledge (e.g. business studies) not found in most other schools. These schools will be allowed to select 10% of their pupils.
New percentages since in 1997 there were 196 of these schools, and by August 2002 there were 1000. “By 2006 the plan is to have 2000, and the goal is to make all secondary schools specialist eventually.”
The introduction of the concept of Beacon schools, by means of which, in any area of deprivation, a school that is doing well is marked as a Beacon school, and shares its ideas and methods with other less successful schools.”
The introduction of academies, “which are schools that have done so badly as to close, and have been reopened under the control of central government and local businesses/interested third parties.”
The introduction of Education Action Zones, “which are deprived areas run by an action forum of people within that area with the intention of make that area’s schools better.”
The restructuring and renaming of vocational qualifications as follows: GNVQs became Vocational GCSEs and AVCEs whereas NVQs scope expanded so that a degree- equivalent NVQ was possible.
The introduction of the New Deal, “which made advisors available to long-term unemployed (in the UK this is defined as being unemployed for more than 6 months) to give help and money to those who want to go back into Education.”
The introduction of set targets for literacy and numeracy hours into schools, such as Set
The setting of a maximum class size of 30 for 5-7 year olds.
The introduction of the EMA, “which is paid to those between 16 and 18 as an enticement to remain in full-time education and get A-Levels/AVCEs.”
The introduction of Curriculum 2000, “which reformed the Further Education system into the current structure of AS levels, A2 levels and Key Skills.”
The abolition of the Assisted Places scheme.
“In the 20th century Education became a sensitive social, economic and political issue in most European countries. England was no exception. In the history of English education the most important piece of legislation of the twentieth century was the Education Act of 1944, also known as the “Butler Act”. It replaced all previous legislation. It became increasingly clear that education was of vital importance to the nation and to the individual and the legislation passed necessarily reflected this conviction. It also reflected political tendencies, as well as the social and economic needs of the nation.”
3. THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
Chapter 3 provides a more current and general overview of the Education System in the United Kingdom by offering first (1) a definition of term ‘education’ and, secondly, an analysis of (2) the Education System in the United Kingdom, in which we include an approach to (a) the English Educational System regarding (i) state education, (ii) independent schools, (iii) universities, and (iv) extracurricular education; and then (b) the Educational System in Northern Ireland, (c) the Educational System in Wales, and (d) the Educational System in Scotland, which is different from the previous ones.
3.1. Definition: What is education?
On defining the term ‘education’ we shall follow Howatt (1984), who stated that a thorough education consists not only of the acquisition of knowledge, but the physical, mental, emotional, moral, and social development of the individual. Also, following wikipedia (2004), we may say that “education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, good judgement and wisdom. One of the fundamental goals of education is to impart culture across the generations.” Hence, according to Howatt (1984), the early Greek aim was to prepare intellectually young people to take leading roles in the activities of the state and of society, and Romans considered the teaching of rhetoric and oratory important, with particular attention to the development of character.
3.2. The Education System in the United Kingdom.
Similarly, formal education occurs “when society makes a commitment to educate people, usually the young. Formal education can be systematic and thorough, but the sponsoring group may seek selfish advantages when shaping impressionable young scholars.” It is worth remembering that education in England may differ from the system used elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Actually, there are two main systems: one covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland and one covering Scotland.
Basically, the two education systems have different emphases. For instance, on the one hand, traditionally the English, Welsh and Northern Irish system has emphasised depth of education whereas the Scottish system has emphasised breadth. Thus English, Welsh and Northern Irish students tend to sit a small number of more advanced examinations and Scottish students tend to sit a larger number of less advanced examinations. It should be noted that local English practice can vary from this general picture although Scottish practice is well nigh universal. So, let us examine the four main types within the United Kingdom.
3.2.1. The English Educational System.
Before examining the main types of education institutions in England, it is worth introducing some general considerations regarding the students’ age, school years (which are closely related), costs, types of schools, types of examination, details about the academic year in terms of time , and the different stages within formal education (primary, secondary, tertiary (university) education and so on).
First of all, regarding age, following Bromhead (1962), “education is compulsory for all children aged 5 to 16 years. Nine-tenths of all children are educated in ‘state schools’ (actually run by the local education authorities).” In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.
With respect to the school years the division between primary and secondary education is at the age of eleven, when almost all children in the state system change schools. At the age of sixteen about two-thirds of these pupils leave school and get jobs or apprenticeships (if they can). A large proportion take part-time (or full-time) courses,
mainly related to work-skills, in the technical and commercial colleges which are also operated by local authorities1.
Hence, within primary education we the school years are divided into: primary education, infant School or Primary School, reception years (age 4 to 5), Year 1 (age 5 to 6), Year 2 (age 6 to 7; KS1 National Curriculum Tests –England only); Junior School or Primary School, ranging from year 3 to year 6, that is, Year 3 (age 7 to 8), Year 4 (age 8 to 9), Year 5 (age 9 to 10), Year 6 (age 10 to 11; eleven plus exams in some areas of England, KS2 National Curriculum Tests).
Within secondary education, we find the Middle School, High School or Secondary School which ranges from year 7 to year 9, for instance, Year 7 (old First Form; age 11 to 12), Year 8 (old Second Form; age 12 to 13), Year 9 (old Third Form; age 13 to 14; KS3 National Curriculum Tests, known as SATs (Standard Assessment Tests)). Then, we find the Upper School or Secondary School from year 10 to year 11, for instance, Year 10 (known as old Fourth Form, age 14 to 15), Year 11 (old Fifth Form; age 15 to
16 where students take old O Level examinations, modern GCSE examinations).
Finally, we find the Upper School, Secondary School, or Sixth Form College, from year
12 to year 13, for instance, Year 12 or Lower Sixth (age 16 to 17 (AS- level examinations)), and Year 13 or Upper Sixth (age 17 to 18, where students take A2-level examinations. Both AS-levels and A2-levels count towards A-levels.).
Regarding costs, the costs for a normal education in the United Kingdom include no charge for Primary, Secondary Education, and Further (Secondary) Education in either a sixth form or college. Yet, Primary and Secondary education can also be charged for, if a fee-paying school is attended by the child in question (i.e. public schools). Moreover, there is no charge if under 19 in that particular academic year or on a low income. However, Higher/Tertiary Education (at University) has a tuition fee per year (around £1,000).
In addition, regarding the types of schools , we find state schools, which are free; private schools, which have to pay fees; grammar schools, which can be private or public, but
1 In some regions of England, pupils attend a Lower (Primary) School before going to, a Middle School between 8
and 12 or, more commonly 9 and 13, and then a High School or Upper School. Other, more vocational qualifications offered including GNVQs and BTECs.
schools, which prepare children (age 7-13 years) for public boarding school (private); boarding school, where children (age 11/13-18) board termly or weekly; and finally, public schools, another type of boarding school but for the more elite, which cost much more than a normal private school (i.e. Eton and Harrow).
Following Bromhead (1962:143), “the state system has effectively taken over and incorporated most of the schools originally founded by churches. Complex laws define the right of a church to keep some power, including influence over appointment of some teachers, in a school to whose costs it makes a small contribution.” Actually, “about one-quarter of children aged under eleven are in Church of England schools, but there are few Church of England secondary schools. There is, on the other hand, a whole range of Catholic primary and secondary schools, including some newly-built. Some parents prefer not to use the ‘state’ system but pay for their children to be educated at independent schools. These account for el ss than one-tenth of all chidren, but this private sector includes the so-called ‘public schools’, some of whose names are known all over the world, and whose importance is out of proportion to their numbers.”
Regarding types of examination , “preparation for examination is not the first purpose of education, but before we go on to look at the various types of schools in detail it may be useful to mention the main certificates which indicate educational attainments. Moderately assiduous children take the Certificate of Secondary Education (C.S.E.) which indicates satisfactory completion of schooling to sixteen. More ambitious children take the examinations for the General Certificate of Education (G.C.E.) at ordinary level. This may be taken in any number of subjects, and some children take as many as ten subjects. Many, after gaining this certificate, leave school to start training for various careers; the certificate is the required starting-point for many types of professional training” (Bromhead, 1962:144).
“Most young people who stay at school after passing their ordinary level examinations prepare themselves for an attempt to win a certificate at advanced level, usually in only two or three subjects. During the last years at school the pupils are almost obliged to specialise in narrow fields, as the advanced level certificate demands intensive study of the two or three subjects in which the examination is taken. Some people believe that English education at this level is too higly specialised. In Scotla nd it is much broader and the Scottish Higher Certificate may well cover five subjects.”
Also, “the examinations for the General Certificate of Education are not conducted by the state or by any public authority, but by various examining boards, each of which arranges its syllabus, prepares question-papers, grades the candidates and awards certificates. In England there are six of these examining boards, each connected with a university or a group of universities, and certain other boards as well. The examinations set by the different boards differ in content and arrangement, but not in difficulty. In practice each school prepares its pupils for the examination of one of the boards.”
“A student who receives further full-time education after the age of eighteen, either at a university or at some other college giving training of a special type, can usually receive a grant from the public authorities to cover his expenses, or almost all of them, unless his parents have a large income. But the number of young people who can enter universities is limited by the capacity of the universities, which is less than enough to take all the young people who have the basic qualifications, in the form of general certificates at advanced level, for university admission. In practice, therefore, entry to the universities is competitive. But university degree courses are also available at polytechnics, and entry to the Open University is less restricted.”
Regarding some details about the academic year in terms of time, we may say that “the teaching day is typically divided into seven periods of forty minutes each, and these include periods for football, hockey and other sports on the playing fields beside the school buildings, as well as for Physical Education in the gymnasium” (Bromhead:1962:149). Then in general, “the academic year begins after the summer holidays and is divided into three ‘terms’, with the intervals between them formed by the Christmas and Easter holidays. The exact dates of the holiday vary from area to area, being in general about two weeks at Christmas and Easter, plus often a week or more at Whitsun, and six weeks in the summer, beginning rather late. Schools outside the state system decide on their own holiday dates, generally taking a month off at Christmas and Easter and eight weeks in the summer. The three terms are not everywhere called by the same names; some schools call the January-March period ‘the Spring Term’, others call it ‘Easter Term’, ‘Hilary Term’ or ‘Epiphany Term’. All this illustrates a very English individualism, harmless enough but confusing and often rather pointless” (Bromhead, 1962:144-5).
“Day-schools mostly work Mondays to Fridays only, from about 9 a.m. to between 3 and 4 p.m. Lunch is provided and parents pay part of the cost unless, by a complicated formula, they show that their income is low enough to entitle them to free children’s
meals.” For instance, “out of 9 million children of all ages in maintained schools in
1977, 5 ½ million took schools meals, 14% of them without payment; the rest brought their own sandwiches or went home for lunch.”
Finally, among the different stages within formal education , we must mention early childhood education, primary education, secondary education, tertiary education, quaternary education, higher education, vocational education, post-secondary education, university, college, and further education regarding independent schools and extracurricular education.
220.127.116.11. State education.
Following Bromhead (1962:146- 150), “state education is in two main stages: primary up to the age of eleven, and secondary from eleven to eighteen. The primary stage is subdivided, with the period between five and seven years being generally called ‘infants’. Nearly all children change schools at the age of eleven, even if they have to travel a long way to the secondary school. Boys and girls are together in nearly all primary schools, and at the secondary level only a few separate schools for boys or girls still survive. The changeover to co-educational secondary education has been accepted with virtually no opposition.”
“Everywhere in England the education committee of the local elected council is responsible for all the schools, except for those which are ‘independent’ and a few which receive direct grants from the state and form a special category [independent schools and extracurricular education]. The ‘state’ schools in inner London are run by the Inner London Education Authority, in outer London by the London boroughs, in metropolitan counties by the districts. In all of the rest of England the schools are under the control of the county councils. The education committee of a council which has charge of schools is known as the Local Education Authority.”
“State laws provide a general framework within which the schools operate and the central government provides a large part of the money, but there is only a fairly loose state control over the schools throughout the country. The Department of Education and Science establishes standards to which schools ought to conform and it sends out Her Majesty’s Inspectors, who are officials of the Department, to visit and make thorough reports on the work of every school from time to time. They give advice to the teachers and suggest new ideas, but their function is above all advisory. In every school the head teacher has a great deal of autonomy in deciding what is to be taught and how the teaching is to be carried out.”
“Most primary schools are wholly owned and controlled (technically maintained) by the local authorities, but about one-third belong to churches, either Anglican or Roman Catholic, having been founded by religious bodies with the idea of providing not only general education but also religious instruction according to the ideas of particular denominations. When education became universal and free these church schools were taken into the general system but kept some degree of independence. The general principle is that the more money the church contributes towards the cost of maintaining the buildings the more independence it keeps2, the more positions on the board of managers, the more control over the appointment of teachers.”
Within state education the present system (21st century) comprises children ranging between 5 and 11. It is during this time that children attend the primary school and then progress to secondary school level, which normally means entry into a Comprehensive School. It is worth noting that before the introduction of Comprehensive Schools the state education system in England was essentially tripartite and was made up of grammar schools, secondary modern schools, and secondary technical schools. Officially, a Comprehensive school is defined as the type of school which is intended to provide all the secondary education of all the children in a given area without an organisation in the tripartite system.
Among the Comprehensive Schools are also the Voluntary denominational schools (particularly strong are the Roman Catholic Comprehensive Schools). These schools take all pupils regardless of ability (except those children with special needs who attend special schools). They therefore cater for children from a variety of social backgrounds, hence the name “comprehensive”. There is no examination or any other selection process for entry. Comprehensive Schools, however, have not eliminated distinctions. There is what is called
‘streaming’ and ‘setting’ according to learning ability. This means that students are grouped
together in order to achieve a degree of uniformity in classes.
“Secondary schools of all types try seriously to build up the sense that the school is a real community, with its hierarchy of order and authority. Every school wants a hall, big enough to accommodate all the pupils, and this is expensive to build. The curriculum for children aged 11 to 16 gives them scope for choice, and the Certificate of Secondary Education enables children to be examined in skills which are not strictly academic, as well as in the normal academic school subjects. Actually, “local authorities also provide technical and commercial colleges,
2 “In the schools not connected with churches, religion is not neglected. In all schools run by local authorities the day must, by law, begin with prayers, and there is religious instruction, though both the prayers and the religious teaching are supposed to be ‘Christian’ without learning towards any particular
type of Christianity.
rapidly. They are for the most part not like ordinary schools, in that most of their pupils, or rather their students, are not undergoing full-time courses of instruction.”
18.104.22.168. Independent schools.
As mentioned above, outside the state system, we find other British institutions, such as the so- called independent schools which are of many different types: private schools, which have to pay fees; grammar schools, which can be private or public, but have to pass an exam to enter the school (high level of intelligence); preparatory schools, which prepare children (age 7-13 years) for public boarding school (private); boarding school, where children (age 11/13-18) board termly or weekly; and finally, public schools, another type of boarding school but for the more elite, which cost much more than a normal private school (i.e. Eton and Harrow).
According to Bromhead (1962:151-2), in this private-sector of education, “most of their pupils
are sent to them because their parents wish to exercise choice and are willing and able to pay fees. A small proportion of pupils are paid for by local authorities for various reasons. These reasons may include the absence of a state school with facilities suitable for a child or for its parents’ requirements.” Yet, the term ‘public school’ is obviously misleading, because the schools are in fact private.
Like other British institutions, “public schools had changed so much since their founding that they were unrecognizable by the age of Victoria. Although the seven elite boarding schools (Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Rugby, Winchester, Charterhouse, and Shrewsbury) and two London day schools (St. Pauls and Merchant Taylors’s) identified as ‘Public Schools’ certainly educated many major figures, some historians blame them for doing far more harm than good to the nation” (wikipedia, 2004). Let us briefly examine their history.
“Virtually all secondary and tertiary (university) educational institutions in Great Britain were originally founded to train clergy for the established church, the Church of England (or the Anglican Church, as it was also known). Since members of the comparatively tiny nobility and wealthy classes had private tutors, many, if not all, the public schools were intended for the deserving poor. By the nineteenth century many of these schools had become means of upward mobility, not for the poor, but for the upper-middle classes, who wished to move their children into the aristocracy.”
“By the time Thomas Arnold, the poet’s father, assumed the headmastership of Rugby, ‘Public
Schools’ had become characterized by dreadful teaching, archaic curricula, bullying, sexual
abuse, and dreadful living conditions. Rugby led the way in raising the general moral tone of Public Schools and for a time even pioneered modern practices of art education for children and other innovations. Nonetheless, even at their best, Public Schools concerned themselves more with producing gentlemen than with preparing their graduates for the economic, political, and technological challenges facing contemporary England.”
Moreover, “the assimilation of the British business classes to the social pattern of the gentry and aristocracy had proceeded very rapidly from the mid nineteenth century, the period when so many of the so-called ‘public schools’ were founded, or reformed by finally excluding the poor for whom they had originally been intended. In 1869 they were more or less set free from all government control and set about elaborating that actively anti- intellectual, anti-scientific, games-dominated Tory imperialism which was to remain characteristic of them.”
“Unfortunately, the public school formed the model of the new system of secondary education, which the less privileged sectors of the new middle classes were allowed to construct for themselves after the Education Act of 1902, and whose main aim was to exclude from education the children of the working classes, which had unfortunately won the right to university primary education in 1870. Knowledge, especially scientific knowledge, therefore took second place to the maintenance of a rigid division between the classes. The British therefore entered the twentieth century and the age of modern science and technology as a spe ctacularly ill-educated people.”
“If Public Schools failed to notice the importance of science and technology and hence had little effect on these fields, they also did little to advance literature and culture. To be fair, one must add that a few major British authors attended Public Schools: Matthew Arnold of course attended Rugby, where his father was headmaster, and so did Arthur Hugh Clough. Anthony Trollope did poorly at both both Harrow and Winchester, William Morris attended Marlborough for several years, leaving after school riots. Arthur Henry Hallam studied at Eton, and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) went to Westminster.”
22.214.171.124. The universities.
There are more than forty universities in Britain, which are to be classified into five main categories: ancient universities (founded before the nineteenth century), red brick universities (founded in the nineteenth and early twentieth century), glass plate universities (founded in the years after WWII), new universities (formed when the distinction in status between polytechnic
colleges and universities was abandoned in 1992), and finally, the open university or distance- learning university (founded in 1968). It must be borne in mind that the University of London and the University of Wales are unusual in that their colleges/constituent instit utions are treated as universities in their own right.
Following Bromhead (1962:157-166), “all British universities are private institutions. Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and local politicians as well as a few acade mics.” The vast majority of British universities are state financed, with only one private university – the University of Buckingham – where students have to pay all their fees. However, none of the universities are actually state-owned. British undergraduate students (and students from other EU countries) have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive from the local authority of the place a personal grant (including lodging and food) unless his parents are rich. Then their university fees go up to a maximum of approximately
£1,000 (assessed on the basis of the income of the student and of the student’s family).
At this point it is worth noting that “students in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are also eligible for a means-tested grant, and many universities provide bursaries to poorer students. International students are not subsidised by the state and so have to pay much higher fees similar to those paid at Ivy League universities in the USA. In principal all postgraduate students are liable for fees, though a variety of scholarship and assistantship schemes exist which may provide support” (wikipedia, 2004). Similarly, following Bromhead (1962:158), “the Government gives money to the universitites to cover the cost of buildings and to cover almost the whole of their current expenditure. The Department of Education and Science does not exercise direct control, but it can have important influence on new developments through its power to allocate funds. It takes the advice of the University Grants Committee, a body which is mainly composed of academics.”
“The first postgraduate degree is normally that of Master, conferred for a thesis based on at least one year’s full-time work; the time actually taken is usually more than a year. Recently there has been an increase in Masters’ degrees based mainly on course work and examinations. In most universities it is only in the science faculties that any large numbers of students stay to do postgraduate work. Oxford and Cambridge are peculiar in that they give the Master of Arts degree automatically to any Bachelor who pays the necessary fees at any time after the seventh year from his first admission to the university, and in Scotland the degree of Master of Arts is given as a first degree, being equivalent to an English Bachelor’s degree.”
Following Bromhead (1962:163), “each university decides each year how many students it proposes to admit to each of its courses, and chooses the right number of applicants on the basis of merit. People who wish to enter a university fill up a long form which they obtain from the Universities Central Council for Admissions, and name up to five universitites at which they would like to study particular courses, in their order of preference. For each course at a unversity, applicants are placed in order of apparent merit –and merit is judged by a combination of examinations marks, school teachers’ confidential reports and (in some cases) special written and/or oral tests.”
Following wikipedia (2004), “British universities tend to have a strong reputation internationally, although this is limited to a small number of internationally known universities (notably Oxford, Cambridge and a few of the London colleges). Within Britain a university’s reputation is sometimes proportional to its age. However this distinction is becoming blurred with the top red brick universities challenging Oxbridge, a development accelerated by the introduction of league tables ranking university teaching and research in which Oxford and Cambridge are sometimes matched or beaten by other universities. Despite this, there is still a clear two-tier system in operation, with less well-considered universities often struggling to attract able students, staff and funding. Many of the less highly regarded universities have had to expand into new areas (such as media studies and sports science) in order to compete3.” Let us examine the different types of universities and see why they have a special eminence.
Among the most ancient universities founded before the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom, it is important to mention in order of formation (date of foundation): the University of Oxford (1249), University of Cambridge (1284), University of St Andrews (1411), University of Glasgow (1451), University of Aberdeen (1494), and the University of Edinburgh (1583). Out of the United Kingdom it is relevant to mention the University of Dublin, founded in 1592 by the Queen Elizabeth I.
Thus, Oxford is regarded as the oldest university in the English-speaking world and
3 Hence, “recent academic analysis of published statistics has pointed to the existence of 4 groupings of universities in terms of academic performance: the elites, the top old universities, the other old universities, and the new universities (ex-polytechnics and others that have achieved university status
since 1992). The elite group consists of Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial. The other members of the
Russell Group lie in the second tier of 22 universities, along with Bath, Durham, Leicester, Queen’s
University Belfast, St Andrews, UMIST and York (wikipedia, 2004).”
was founded in 1209 by scholars escaping Oxford after a fight with locals. Both of them are often referred to as ‘Oxbridge’, a portmanteau which makes reference to its old age. They are peculiar in that they give the Master of Arts degree automatically to any Bachelor who pays the necessary fees at any time after the seventh year from his first admission to the university; and also in that they are referred to together as Oxbridge, vie for the position of best overall university in the UK.
Also, unlike the most selective American universities, Oxford and Cambridge are public institutions seeking only the best students, and do not practise “legacy preference”, that is, in the case of children of affluent parents who attended Harvard these are far more likely to be successful in the applications process than those who have no previous link with the university.
Regarding the University of St Andrews, it was founded in 1413 and is regarded as the oldest university in Scotland; the university of Glasgow was founded in 1451 as a School of Divinity, and was part of the city’s cathedral. It is said to be the largest of the three universities in Scotland; these two, together with the University of Aberdeen (1494) are ecclesiastical foundations, while the University of Edinburgh (1583) is a city foundation.
With respect to red brick universities, these were founded in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and are called like that because of the material with which the outside was covered (red brick) and because of the industrial period in which they were founded. They represent those institutions of higher education founded in most of the biggest industrial towns and in a few other centres. They were also called ‘university colleges’, because they were not universities in their own right among which we include the universities of London, Durham, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Reading, Nottingham, Leicester, Southampton, Exeter, Hull and Newcastle upon Tyne.4
glass plate universities were founded in the years after WWII, each in a campus near a not-too- large, not-too- industrial town. We refer to the universities of Staffordshire, York and Lancaster, Sussex, Kent, Warwick, Essex and East Anglia. According to Bromhead (1962:162), “taking the name from the county seems to reflect American
Topic 65 – The educational system in the anglo-saxon worldideas. Each of these new universities, like Keele, has its own approach to teaching.”
4 “In Wales there are four similar institutions, dating from the same period, united rather uncomfortably as the University of Wales” (Bromhead, 1962:161).
Other new universities were formed in the middle 1960s when five hundred local technical colleges maintained by local authorities gained special prestige under a further new development in education. Thus, following Bromhead (1962:162), “by
1967 then of these had been given charters as new universities, though still
concentrating mostly on science and technology, with languages and social sciences on a smaller scale. Most of these are in the biggest cities where there are already established universities, and now some cities have two universit ies each” when the distinction in status between polytechnic colleges and universities was abandoned in
Among this type of universities we include the University of Aston (Birmingham), Salford (close to Manchester), Strathclyde (Glasgow), Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh), Brunel (London) and the City University of London; also universities at Bradford (Yorkshire) and Loughborough (near Nottingham). “A few others among these newest foundations are being developed in completely new sites; thus the Bristol College of Technology has become the University of Bath, in completely new buildings
30 kilometres from its original home. Also, the old Battersea Technical College (South
London) has become the new University of Surrey, at Guildford, 50 kilometres away.”
and finally, the open university or distance-learning university which was founded in
1968 and is considered as an independent type of University, though still linked to formal education.
126.96.36.199. Extracurricular education.
Yet, although the technical and commercial colleges are doing so much in the field of education for adolescents and adults, “there are still other types of adult education which are flourishing in a different way. The Workers’ Educational Association is a voluntary organisation, which now works in collaboration with university extra-mural boards which get funds, ultimately, from the state. Their main function is the provision of weekly meetings of classes for adults, during the winter months, for discussion of subjects of the type which are studied in universities, but without leading to diplomas or certificates” (wikipedia, 2004). Also, other extracurricular ways of education are the Academic Decathlon, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), and the International Science Olympiad.
3.2.2. The Educational System in Northern Ireland.
As stated above, the Educational System in the United Kingdom is approached from two perspectives: one system covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland and one covers Scotland, where the two education systems have different emphases. Hence the Educational System in Northern Ireland may differ from the system used elsewhere in the United Kingdom namely in two aspects: first, that traditionally the English, Welsh and Northern Irish system has emphasised depth of education whereas the Scottish system has emphasised breadth. Secondly, English, Welsh and Northern Irish students tend to sit a small number of more advanced examinations and Scottish students tend to sit a larger number of less advanced examinations.
In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month. The school years are divided as follows: (1) Primary Education, which is divided into (a) Infant School or Primary School and (b) Junior School or Primary School. The former being subdivided into the reception stage (age
4 to 5), Year 1 (age 5 to 6), Year 2 (age 6 to 7; KS1 National Curriculum Tests, but for England
only); and the latter into Year 3 (age 7 to 8), Year 4 (age 8 to 9), Year 5 (age 9 to 10), Year 6 (age 10 to 11), when students take the Eleven Plus exams in some areas of England; and KS2
National Curriculum Tests).
On the other hand, we find (2) Secondary Education, which is again divided into (a) Middle School, High School or Secondary School, (b) Upper School or Secondary School, and (c) Upper School, Secondary School, or Sixth Form College. Regarding the former one, this is subdivided into Year 7 (old First Form, age 11 to 12), Year 8 (old Second Form, age 12 to 13), Year 9 (old Third Form, age 13 to 14; KS3 National Curriculum Tests, known as SATs (Standard Assessment Tests). Regarding the second type, the Upper School, this is subdivided into Year 10 (old Fourth Form, age 14 to 15), Year 11 (old Fifth Form, age 15 to 16), when students take the old O-Level examinations, that is, modern GCSE examinations. Finally, regarding the latter type, that is, Upper School, Secondary School, or Sixth Form College, we find the following subdivision: Year 12 (or Lower Sixth, age 16 to 17) when students take AS- level examinations; and Year 13 (or Upper Sixth, age 17 to 18) when students take A2- level examinations. Note that both AS-levels and A2-levels count towards A-level examinations.
3.2.3. The Educational System in Wales.
Similarly, Wales follow the same educational parameters as England and Northern Ireland. Following wikipedia (2004), “the system of statutory national key stage tests in Wales was,
until 2000, the same as in England and was managed by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA). In 2000, the National Assembly for Wales took responsibility for these tests in Wales, at which point they were developed by test agencies on behalf on ACCAC, whilst the tests in England were developed for QCA. In 2002, the Welsh Assembly decided to cease the tests at Key Stage One. Instead, optional teacher assessment materials were provided to schools in 2003 for use in English, mathematics and Welsh.”
“These had been adapted from materials that had originally been developed by NFER and the other test agencies to be used as statutory assessment materials for 2003. At the end of 2003, the Daugherty Report as commissioned by the Welsh Assembly to undertake a review of the country’s assessment procedures. The interim report by the committee was perceived by the media as supporting a complete abolishment of the assessments at key stages two and three.”
Within the school year organisation the only difference with the previous systems is in terminology, so it is established as follows: (1) Primary Education, which is divided into (a) Infant School or Primary School and (b) Junior School or Primary School. The former being subdivided into the reception stage (age 4 to 5), Year 1 (age 5 to 6), Year 2 (age 6 to 7; but instead of KS1 National Curriculum Tests as in England, we find the end of Key Stage One Teacher Assessments); and the latter into Year 3 (age 7 to 8), Year 4 (age 8 to 9), Year 5 (age 9 to 10), Year 6 (age 10 to 11), when students, instead of taking the Eleven Plus exams and KS2
National Curriculum Tests as in England and Northern Ireland, coincide with the End of Key
Stage Two Tests and Tasks).
On the other hand, we find (2) Secondary Education, which is again divided into (a) Middle School, High School or Secondary School, (b) Upper School or Secondary School and (c) Upper School, Secondary School, or Sixth Form College. Regarding the former one, this is subdivided into Year 7 (old First Form, age 11 to 12), Year 8 (old Second Form, age 12 to 13), Year 9 (old Third Form, age 13 to 14; but instead of taking KS3 National Curriculum Tests, known as SATs (Standard Assessment Tests), students take the End of Key Stage Three Tests and Tasks).
Regarding the second type, the Upper School, this is subdivided into Year 10 (old Fourth Form, age 14 to 15), Year 11 (old Fifth Form, age 15 to 16), when students take the old O-Level examinations, that is, modern GCSE examinations as in England and Northern Ireland. Finally, regarding the latter type, that is, Upper School, Secondary School, or Sixth Form College, we find the following subdivision: Year 12 (or Lower Sixth, age 16 to 17) when students take AS- level examinations; and Year 13 (or Upper Sixth, age 17 to 18) when students take A2- level examinations. Note that both AS-levels and A2-levels count towards A-level examinations.
3.2.4. The Educational System in Scotland.
Finally, regarding Scotland, it namely differs from England, Northern Ireland and Wales in that instead of emphasizing depth of education and sitting a small number of more advanced examinations, it emphasizes breadth of education and sitting larger number of less advanced examinations. Note that, in general, the cut-off point for ages is still the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.
However, there is a great difference in the organisation and terminology of school years. For instance, in Scotland, we namely find three main stages: (1) Nursery School, which comprises Year 1 (age 3-5), (2) Primary School, which is subdivided into Primary 1 (age range 4-6), Primary 2 (age range 5-7), Primary 3 (age range 6-8), Primary 4 (age range 7-9), Primary 5 (age range 8-10), Primary 6 (age range 9-11), and Primary 7 (age range 10-12); and the third and final stage, (3) Secondary School, which is subdivided into First Year (age range 11-13), Second Year (age range 12-14), Third Year (age range 13-15), Fourth Year (age range 14-16), Fifth Year (age range 15-17), Sixth Year (age range 16-18).
It is worth noting that “the age ranges specify the youngest age for a child entering that year and the oldest age for a child leaving that year. Also note that children may leave school at the end of any school year after they reach 16 years of age and that they may attend Scottish universities when they are 17. Therefore two sets of national examinations are held. The first set, the Standard Grade examinations, take place in the Fourth year of secondary school and show basic education level. The second set, the Higher examinations take place in the Fifth and Sixth years. A third level, Advanced Higher, is sometimes taken by students intending to study at an English university and covers the gap between the Scottish “Higher” level and the English “Advanced” level courses” (wikipedia, 2004).
4. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING.
As we have seen, since ancient times British education has suffered from the class-based nature of British society, and even recently, it has been proved that there are three main factors that affect class educational achievement in British children: class, gender and ethnicity, the former affecting more than the other two factors. Hence achievement in British Education has been led by a branch of British Sociology which examines and discusses influencing the achievement of
pupils who are taught by the British education system from the perspective that British education is Meritocratic .
Hence, how is this issue linked to our Spanish students? Basically, through the educational activity, both in and out the classroom, the former being developed in terms of tutorial or classroom activities and the latter by promoting the right moral attitudes on our students. Moreover, the issue of the organisation of the Educational System in the United Kingdom is not unfamiliar for Spanish students, who are taking a similar organisation in terms of types of schools, years, stages and examinations. Hence it makes sense to examine the historical background of education within the Anglo-Saxon scope so as to understand why class distinction in English education is so important.
Currently, educational authorities are bringing about relevant changes for the school reality and, therefore, students feel how the Spanish educational system is changing. The integration of Spain into the European Union makes relevant for students to become aware of other educational system within the European panorama so as to be able to compare and appreciate the main similarities and differences within each system. It must be borne in mind that the European Union offers students the possibility of taking a school-year (primary, secondary, tertiary) in a foreign country so as to improve their personal and professional development.
So, the issue of educational systems may be easily approached to students by the increasing number of European programs (Comenius, Erasmus, school trips) and technologies (the Internet, mobile phones, mail) which provide students the opportunity of exchanging information with other European teenagers and know other cultures. Actually, among the stage objectives for both E.S.O. and Bachillerato students (stated respectively in RD 112 and RD
113/2002, 13 September) there is a clear reference to the fact of getting acquainted with other cultures so as to promote respect and, for our purposes, an attitude of critical awareness of other educational systems.
Thus, E.S.O. objectives (number nine, eleven and fourteen) make reference to first, analyse the
mechanisms and values that govern the functioning of societies, especially those related to the rights and duties of citizens, adopting open and democratic attitudes and judgements (objective
9); secondly, to know the traditions and cultural patrimony of other countries, value them
critically, and respect the cultural and linguistic diversity as a people’s and countries’ right (objective 11); and finally, to develop habits or study and discipline, learning how to make a lot of effort and act responsibly, as a necessary condition for an efficient achievement of educational and social tasks, both individually and collectively (objective 14).
On the other hand, Bachillerato students are expected to first, analyse and value critically the reality of the current world and of the antecedents and factors that influence upon it (objective
5) and secondly, to use the information and communication technologies to acquire types of knowledge and transmit information, solve problems and facilitate interpersonal relations, valuing its use critically (objective 7). So, as we can see Spanish students are expected to know about the history of education in the United Kingdom and its influence in the world by a wide range of means (technology, trips, educational programs, classroom, friendship).
The success partly lies in the way this issue becomes real to the users. Some of this motivational force is brought about by comparing both systems through another European student’s life at school. Otherwise, we have to recreate as much as possible the whole cultural environment in the classroom by means of documentaries, history books, or films. This is to be achieved within the framework of the European Council (1998) and, in particular, the Spanish Educational System which establishes a common reference framework for the teaching of foreign languages where students are intended to carry out several communication tasks with specific communicative goals. Broadly speaking, the main aims that our currently educational system focuses on are mostly sociocultural, to facilitate the study of cultur al themes, as our students must be aware of their current social reality within the European framework.
The present unit, Unit 65 has aimed to provide a useful introduction to the Education System in the United Kingdom as an attempt to offer a general overview of education in each country in terms of differences and similarities. In doing so, the unit has been divided into two main chapters: first, a history of the modern system of education in the United Kingdom so as to better understand the current educational system in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland from ancient times to modern times. Secondly, we have provided a more current and general overview of the Education System in the United Kingdom by offering first a definition of term
‘education’ and, secondly, an analysis of the Education System in the United Kingdom, in
whic h we include an approach to the Educational Systems in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. Finally, Chapter 4 has stated the relevance of this issue within the curricular basis of E.S.O. and Bachillerato. Now Chapter 5 offers a conclusion to broadly overview our present study, and finally, in Chapter 6 we will include all the bibliography for further references.
B.O.E. 2004. Consejería de Educación y Cultura. Decreto N.º 116/2004, de 23 de enero. Currículo de la Educación Secundaria Obligatoria en la Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia.
B.O.E. 2004. Consejería de Educación y Cultura. Decreto N.º 117/2004, de 23 de enero. Currículo de Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia.
Bromhead, Peter. 1962. Life in Modern Britain . Longman.
Council of Europe. 1998. Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common
European Framework of reference.
Howatt, A. (1984). A history of English Language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. 1992. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (2nd ed.).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
van Ek, J.A., and J.L.M. Trim, 2001. Vantage. Council of Europe. Cambridge University Press.
Enciclopedia Larousse 2000. 2000. Editorial Planeta.