British Education System
The educational system in British schools is significantly different from the world one. Compulsory education is from the 1st to the 11th grade (from 5 to 16 years old). Students planning higher education usually study for two more years - in the 12th and 13th grades, whose courses are devoted to pre-university preparation.
Differences in the education system are the reason why graduates of foreign schools with foreign certificates cannot immediately enter universities in the UK (and some other countries): they need to fill in the missing years of study.
There are several ways to compensate for missing classes for applicants from other countries.
completing a basic preparatory course.
entering the first year of a UK university after one year of study at a foreign university.
Passing a pre-university course and passing A-levels or IB diploma exams.
Trimesters and holidays
The school year in the UK is divided into three semesters: autumn, spring and summer. Education starts in September and ends in July. The New Year and Easter holidays last two to three weeks and the summer holidays last from one and a half to two months, depending on the type of school and district. In addition, there are additional weekly holidays in the middle of each semester.
All public schools follow a standard schedule. Private schools also adhere to the general principle of dividing the school year into three terms, but unlike public schools, the terms are shorter and the holidays are longer.
Years 10 and 11 in British schools are the last two years of the compulsory curriculum, so every student has to take and pass exams in all subjects and get a GCSE . The GCSE curriculum consists of 9 to 12 subjects, some of which are compulsory (English, mathematics and natural sciences), and students can choose some of them on their own.
Some schools offer special program options designed for international students: a one-year intensive GCSE preparation program for children over 15 years old, in which no more than 6 subjects are studied, and iGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) - an international program designed for foreigners, consisting of 5 to 7 programs.
Since 2018, the grading system has started to change: the alphabetical system (A * - highest score, G - lowest score) has been replaced by a numerical system. Now 9 is the highest score and 1 is the lowest score. However, due to the smooth transition, many schools now use both letter and numeric scales.
GCSE exam results are very important for enrolling in pre-university courses: the higher the score, the more prestigious the educational institution where the student can be considered for further study. In addition, exam results can influence the choice of specialism: at some schools it is necessary to confirm your knowledge in your chosen subject with a high GCSE score in order to study the A-level subjects in depth. It is also important to consider that universities can look not only at the results of A-levels but also at the results of core GCSE subjects during admissions.
A-levels is the English national curriculum for Years 12 and 13.
The main difference is that the number of subjects studied in the upper grades has not increased, but on the contrary has decreased. It is believed that when entering a pre-university program, students must decide on their future professional direction at university and focus their final two years of study on professional subjects rather than "spreading out" over other subjects.
As part of the A-levels, only 3 or 4 subjects are studied, of the student's choice. The set of available subjects depends on the educational institution and usually includes 20-35 subjects, and schools may also specialize in certain areas of education.
At the end of the eduaction, students take an exam in the chosen subject. The results are assessed on a 6-point scale: A*, A, B, C, D, E (where A* is the highest score). Students who do not achieve the minimum pass level will receive a U (unclassified).
The choice of A-level subjects is crucial for subsequent university admissions: the subjects studied must correspond to the future profession. Most reputable UK universities publish lists of 'desirable' subjects for each stream, and some universities additionally list subjects that applicants should not choose.
A-levels can be supplemented by what is known as an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), in which students undertake research work and write a detailed essay. EPQ scores are taken into account by universities for admission purposes. In effect, the Extended Project is a school simulation of the term paper, which is assessed in the same way as the A-levels.
The International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma) is the most common alternative to the A-level. The IB is recognized by UK universities in the same way as the A-level.
Unlike the English National Program, the IB Diploma is designed to provide a more diverse education. Students choose a subject from six different groups and are required to study their native language and a foreign language, social and natural sciences, mathematics, and any other elective subjects that may include not only scientific subjects, but also creative subjects. At the same time, students independently determine the level of difficulty - standard or advanced - at which they want to master the chosen subject. In addition to studying six subjects, students write an Extended Essay and engage in creative, sports and social work. Project activities receive a lot of attention.
When choosing between two college preparatory programs, it is important to assess your child's interests and needs. The IB program does not require an early choice of major, but it is more difficult: getting top marks in the IB exams is much more difficult than in the A-level exams.
Prices of various types of education in London
Toddlers can be sent to kindergartens in London from the age of one up to the age of 4-5. At the age of 5, all children must be enrolled. Parents can choose the type of kindergarten, private or public, and the schedule of visits. In private kindergartens, the child's education costs £1,500 per month, but in public kindergartens, parents have the opportunity to get 15 hours per week for free.
As for visiting schedules, here is another option. If parents can not be with their children during the day and do not have the possibility or do not want to use the services of a babysitter, then it is worth sending the children to the garden for the whole day. In this case, the baby will go to the nursery 5 times a week, from morning to evening.
Many parents choose to send their children to kindergarten only a few days a week, or for a part of the day, for example before lunch or in the afternoon. With such a daily routine, it is possible to combine the kindergarten with visits to other preschools.
Schools in England are also private and public. As you may have guessed, the latter are free. However, to access them, you need to live close to an educational institution, and for primary and secondary schools, this distance may vary. As a result, many parents prefer to move closer to the school they are interested in. This option applies if the family lives in rental housing. If she lives in her own house or apartment, the option of selling and buying a new property may be more expensive than entering a private school.
Tuition fees for private schools vary widely. The cost for three semesters can be £10.000 or £30,000. The amount depends on the location of the school, the number of classes and many other factors.
In addition to basic education, many parents send their children to extra-curricular institutions. This is especially true for bilingual children, who can benefit from attending classes in English. Such classes are held once a week and cost parents between £100 and £200 a month. For school-age children, individual subjects can be studied from the general education curriculum.
The average cost for a foreigner to study a bachelor's degree at the University of London is £25,000 per year, while a master's degree costs £15,000. The final amount depends on the specialization (the most affordable is humanities, the most expensive medicine) and the status of the university: the most expensive is education at a ranked university.
There are almost no free options for undergraduate studies in London, but master's students have the opportunity to receive scholarships from the British government or from the university itself. The most important thing is to become a really valuable acquisition in the direction of science.