The education system in the UK is divided into four main parts, primary education, secondary education, further education and higher education. Children in the UK have to legally attend primary and secondary education which runs from about 5 years old until the student is 16 years old.
Primary Education Compulsory education begins at the age of 5 when children go to primary school. Primary education lasts for 6 years. It is divided into two periods: infant schools (pupils from 5 to 7 years old) and junior schools (pupils from 7 to 11 years old). In infant schools children don't have real classes. They mostly play and learn through playing. It is the time when children just get acquainted with the classroom, the blackboard, desks and the teacher. But when pupils are 7, real studying begins. Now they have real classes, when they sit at desks, read, write and answer the teacher's questions.
Secondary Education Secondary school is traditionally divided into 5 forms: a form to each year. Children study English, Mathematics, Science, History, Art, Geography, Music, a Foreign language and have lessons of Physical training. Religious education is also provided. English, Mathematics and Science are called "core" subjects. At the age of 7,11 and 14 pupils take examinations in the core subjects. Primary and secondary education is mandatory in the UK; after age 16, education is optional.
Further Education Once a student finishes secondary education they have the option to extend into further education to take their A- Levels, GNVQ's, BTEC's or other such qualifications. UK students planning to go to college or university must complete further education.
Higher Education There are more than 60 universities in the U.K. The leading universities are Cambridge, Oxford and London. English universities differ from each other in traditions, general organization, internal government, etc. British universities are comparatively small, the approximate number is about 7-8 thousand students. Most universities have under 3000 students, some even less than 1500 ones. London and Oxford universities are international, because people from many parts of the world come to study at one of their colleges.
Universities usually select students basing on their A-level results and an interview. After three years of study a university graduate get the Degree of a Bachelor of Arts, Science or Engineering. Many students then continue their studies for a Master's Degree and then a Doctor's Degree (PhD).