The Department for Education is the government department responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including education. State-run and -funded schools are attended by approximately 93% of English schoolchildren. Of these, a minority are faith schools, primarily Church of England or Catholic. Between three and four is nursery school, 4 and 11 is primary school, and 11 to 16 is secondary school. After finishing compulsory education, pupils take a GCSE examination, following which they may decide to continue in further education for two years. Further education colleges, such as sixth form colleges are either separate or attached to the secondary school institution and prepare students to sit A-Level examinations, for higher education at universities.
Although most English secondary schools are comprehensive, in some areas there are selective intake grammar schools, to which entrance is subject to passing the eleven plus exam. Around 7.2% of English schoolchildren attend private schools, which are funded by private sources. Standards in state schools are monitored by the Office for Standards in Education, and in private schools by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
Students normally enter universities in the United Kingdom from 18 onwards, where they study for an academic degree. There are over 90 universities England, all but one of which are public. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is the government department responsible for higher education in England. Students are generally entitled to student loans for maintenance. The first degree offered to undergraduates is the Bachelor's degree, which usually takes three years to complete. Students are then eligible for a postgraduate degree, a Master's degree, taking one year, or a Doctorate degree, which takes three.
England's universities include some of the highest-ranked universities in the world; the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and University College London are all ranked in the global top 10 in the 2010 QS World University Rankings. The London School of Economics has been described as the world's leading social science institution for both teaching and research. The London Business School is considered one of the world's leading business schools and in 2010 its MBA programme was ranked best in the world by the Financial Times. Academic degrees in England are usually split into classes: first class (I), upper second class (II:1), lower second class (II:2) and third (III), and unclassified (below third class).
The King's School, Canterbury and King's School, Rochester are the oldest schools in the English-speaking world. Many of England's better-known schools, such as Winchester College, Eton College, St Paul's School, Rugby School, and Harrow School are fee-paying institutions.
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Famous quotes containing the word education:
“Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it.”
—Stephen Vizinczey (b. 1933)
“The fetish of the great university, of expensive colleges for young women, is too often simply a fetish. It is not based on a genuine desire for learning. Education today need not be sought at any great distance. It is largely compounded of two things, of a certain snobbishness on the part of parents, and of escape from home on the part of youth. And to those who must earn quickly it is often sheer waste of time. Very few colleges prepare their students for any special work.”
—Mary Roberts Rinehart (18761958)
“Our children will not survive our habits of thinking, our failures of the spirit, our wreck of the universe into which we bring new life as blithely as we do. Mostly, our children will resemble our own misery and spite and anger, because we give them no choice about it. In the name of motherhood and fatherhood and education and good manners, we threaten and suffocate and bind and ensnare and bribe and trick children into wholesale emulation of our ways.”
—June Jordan (b. 1939)