British education system

education in the UK

teacher and child at computer

Bright World offers a comprehensive 'one stop shop' for UK education. Each child is different and their different needs are catered for by the sophisticated and comprehensive nature of the UK education system. The majority of schools and colleges in the United Kingdom are funded by the British government and are called state schools. In the private sector there are around 2,500 independently funded institutions.

state education for post 16 year olds

Students can either choose a state sixth form college or a college of further education. Both offer GCSE and A level courses for students from the age of 16. Colleges of further education also offer foundation and diploma courses. All colleges can prepare students for entry to a  UK university or any university in the world. Bright World works with a number of state colleges in the UK which provide a multitude of vocational and academic courses. These courses can enable students to pursue their chosen career or to gain a place at a university of their choice.

The private sector

Bright World also works with many schools and colleges in the UK which are privately funded institutions. Private colleges are more expensive than state colleges for overseas students, have smaller class sizes and have smaller student numbers - some with just 150 students in one school. UK boarding schools are for students from 7-18 years of age and follow the traditional education system. Tutorial colleges start at age 15 and have a more flexible programme range, focussing on fast access to UK university.

Education in the UK

Secondary school - Ages 11-13 (School years 7-9) From the age of 11 to 14 students in British state and private schools study a broad range of 10-15 subjects that usually follow the guidelines of the National Curriculum. No public examinations are taken during this time.

Secondary school graduation (GCSE) - Ages 14-15 (School years 10-11)

Traditionally, at the age of 14 students start a programme that lasts for 2 years and during which time they study 5-10 subjects of their choice. Intensive, one year courses are available for students of 15 plus with the appropriate academic level from their own country. Fewer subjects are studied (maximum 6). After this two year period, students take GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) state examinations. These qualify students to continue onto A level or Foundation programmes for university preparation.

University preparation (A levels) - Ages 16-17 (School years 12-13)

Once a student reaches the age of 16 they can start a 2 year programme which leads to A (Advanced) level examinations. Students specialise in 3 or 4 subjects that are usually relevant to the degree subject they wish to follow at university. A levels are state examinations and are recognised by all UK universities and by institutions worldwide. From age 17, international students can opt to study one year foundation programmes. These courses lead to private examinations that are an alternative to A levels. Foundation courses at colleges are recognised by universities with whom they have partnerships. Some universities also offer foundation courses that lead onto their own degree programmes. A range of 1 and 2 year vocational diploma programmes are also offered at state colleges. These give students a recognised qualification and can also lead onto degree courses.

Undergraduate degree programmes (bachelors degree) - Age18+

A British bachelors degree normally takes three years to complete and most are awarded at honours level. Examples of first degrees are: BA (Bachelor of Arts), BEng (Bachelor of Engineering), and BSc (Bachelor of Science). State colleges offer some 2 year vocational diplomas that grant exemption from the first and sometimes second year of a degree programme. Some private tutorial colleges offer a one year diploma programme which is equivalent to year 1 of university. Students taking 1 year diplomas are awarded second year entry at some universities.

Postgraduate degree programmes (masters degree) - Ages 21+

Postgraduate courses in the UK are very intensive. This means that the courses are usually much shorter than in other countries. A master's degree typically takes 12 months to complete, for example an MA - Master of Arts and an MEng - Master of Engineering. An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a high profile Masters course which can take 2 years. Applicants will usually be high achieving with at least 2 years managerial experience. A PhD research degree in the UK can take between 2 and 7 years.

UK university placement

university students throwing mortar boards

For expert advice on UK and US university entry, Bright World has teamed up with Education Advisers Ltd, whose experienced consultants offer a full range of Higher Education services for international students. These range from complimentary advice on the best University Foundation courses, to bespoke Oxbridge and Medical School coaching and mentorship programmes. You can visit their websites at www.universityadvice.co.uk or www.best-schools.co.uk or call +44 1622 813870 for further information.

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