ТОП 10:

Text 2. Education in Great Britain

Task 5. Read and translate the text. Divide the text into several parts and comment on each of them.

The British government paid little importance to education until the end of the 19th century when Britain was “the workshop of the world”. It was necessary to create an education system because the country needed literate citizens. All educational establishments are controlled by the Local Education Authority (LEA).

The British system of education is rather complicated and many-staged.

1. The first stage is nursery education.

2. The second stage is primary education (5-11 years old; 1-6 forms).

3. The third stage is secondary education which is divided into Junior High School (12-16; 7-11 forms; O-level exams) and Senior High School (17-18 years old; 12-13 forms A-level exams).

4. From Junior High School students may go to colleges of further education and the sixth form. The sixth form refers to those pupils who are studying beyond the age of 16.

5. From Senior High School students may go to Universities and High Education colleges and get Bachelor’s degree (3-4 years) or to Polytechnics and get Bachelor’s degree (3-4 years) and Master’s Degree (+1 year); or to Universities and get Bachelor’s Degree (3-4 years), Master’s Degree (+1 year) or Doctor of Philosophy (+3 years). This stage is linked with Higher Education which is provided at Universities, polytechnics and other educational institutions of higher and further education.

The basic features of the British educational system are: 1) Full-time education is compulsory up to the middle teenage years (5-16 years); 2) Compulsory education is free of charge, private education is fee-paying; 3) The academic year begins at the end of summer.

Higher education in England has several braches: colleges of education, polytechnics, and universities. Higher education is selective, it depends on a student’s GCE, “A «level» (the General Certificate of Education, “advanced” level) taken at about 18.

Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) are the oldest and prestigious universities in Britain. They comprise a collection of colleges. Oxbridge is one of the national icons of England.

The Tutorial system is one of the ways in which Oxford and Cambridge differ from all other English universities. Every student has a tutor who plans his work, gives advice and acts as a parent to the student away from home.

Besides the tutor there is the Dean, who is in charge of the discipline of students inside the College. Proctors and assistants called “Bulldogs” (policemen) are responsible for the discipline outside the college.

In Britain all stages of education are open to foreigners. “The best in the world” is attached to British education. For foreigners there are preparatory colleges. The British education is the most expensive in Europe and the third in the world after Japan and New Zealand. The majority of students study using educational credit and parents’ money.

There are “boarding schools” (Eton, Harrow, Rugby, and Winchester), their aim is to prepare young men to take up positions in the higher ranks of the army, business, the legal profession, the civil service and politics. In Britain today, about 8% of children are educated outside the state system.

Nearly all schools work on a five-day week. The day starts at 9 o’clock and finishes between 3-4 p.m. The lunch break lasts ≈ an hour-and-quarter. Nearly 2/3 of pupils have lunch provided by the school. Parents pay for this. Other children either go home or take sandwiches.

The academic (school) year is divided into 3 terms and 3 holidays starting at the beginning of September:

Autumn term → Christmas holidays (about 2 weeks) → spring term → Easter holidays (about 2 weeks) → summer term → summer holidays (about 6 weeks).

At the age of 16 students are free to leave school. Some of them may find employment or take part in trading and training programs.

After leaving school pupils take examinations and receive qualifications: GCSE= General Certificate of Secondary Education (The exams taken by 16 year-olds); A levels = Advanced Levels (Higher – level academic exams taken by 18 year – olds going on to Higher Education).

Students who wish to go on to higher education may choose any of various types of universities: Oxbridge: Oxford and Cambridge or Camford: Cambridge and Oxford; the old Scottish Universities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, St. Andrews); the early nineteenth – century English Universities (London, Durham); the older civic (“redbrick”) universities (Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds); the campus universities (East Anglia, Lancaster, Sussex, Warwick); The newer civic universities (originally “polytechnics”); the London School of Economics and Political Science.

All in all there are 90 universities in Great Britain, including polytechnics. When students graduate from the universities, they receive degrees (certificate or diploma, a qualification from a university): Bachelor’s Degree = the first degree (BA = Bachelor of Arts; BSc = Bachelor of Science); Master’s Degree = the second degree (MA = Master of Arts; MSc = Master of Science); Doctorate = the highest academic qualification, it carries the title PhD (usually but not everywhere)

The University of Oxford (Oxford University, or Oxford), located in the English city of Oxford, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is one of the world’s leading academic institutions. Oxford was founded in the medieval period, somewhere in 1167 by Henry II. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics moved to Cambridge and established the University there. The two “ancient universities” have many common features and are often referred to as Oxbridge. University colleges were exclusively for men; in the 19th century four colleges for women were established.

The university is a federation: it comprises over forty self-governing colleges headed by the Vice-Chancellor. Oxford and Cambridge are unique for this democratic form of governance.

The various academic faculties, departments, and institutes are organized into four divisions: the Humanities; the Social Sciences; the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; and the Medical Sciences Division.

The University of Cambridge is the second world-known university. The University of Cambridge (Cambridge University, or Cambridge) was founded in 1209 on the river Cam. Cambridge’s first college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284. The most recent college established is Robinson, built in the late 1970s. The chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, is the most famous symbol of both the city and the university.

The Oxbribge buildings are often arranged round a square of grass. They are called “quads” in Oxford and courts in Cambridge. Each Oxbridge college has its own staff, known as “Fellows”. The Fellows teach the college students either one-to-one or in very small groups (known as “tutorials” in Oxford and “supervisions” in Cambridge). The normal length of the degree course is three years, after the students take the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Some courses may be one or two years longer.

There are a lot of societies at Oxbridge: debating clubs, drama societies, philosophy societies, language clubs, political clubs, cinema clubs and others. Sport is a very important part of Oxbridge life. The most famous competition between two universities is the Boat Race, a rowing race which takes place every year on the River Thames.

The University of London is a federal mega university made up of 31 branches: 19 separate university institutions, and 12 research institutes

London Business School is an international business school and well-known for its MBA program (Master of Business Administration).

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a specialist constituent college of the University of London, was founded in 1895

The Open University was started in 1969. Its courses are taught through television, radio, specially written course books or through correspondence. In the summer, they have to attend short residential courses of about a week.

International education deals with understanding other nations and cultures.

Word Check

Task 6. Memorize the key terms, concepts, expressions and their meaning.

1. “the workshop of the world” «мастерская мира»
2. literate citizens грамотные граждане
3. Tutorial system система наставничества
4. boarding school школа-интернат
5. employment занятость на работе
6. trading and training programs профессиональные и обучающие программы
7. graduate from закончить высшее учебное заведение
8. the medieval period средневековый период
9. “Fellows” преподаватели
10. “tutorials” наставники в Оксфорде
11. “supervisions” наставники в Кембридже
12. length of the degree course продолжительность обучения
13. Boat Race лодочная гонка «Оксфорд-Кембридж»
branch филиал
15. MBA program программа «Магистр управления»
16. accommodation проживание
17. local host family местная принимающая семья

Task 7. Answer the following questions, solve the problems, do the tasks.


1. Why did the British government pay more attention to education in the 19th century?

2. Will you speak about the British system of education?

3. What are the basic features of the British educational system?

4. What is the difference between the public and private school system?

5. What educational institutions comprise the higher system of education in Britain?

6. What is Oxbridge?

7. What system distinguishes Oxford and Cambridge from other universities?

8. What are boarding schools? What is Eton?

9. Does the school day/the academic year in Russia differ from the school day/the academic year in Britain?

10. What qualifications do students receive after school?

11. What degrees do students receive after graduating from the university?

12. What economic educational institutions in Britain do you know?

13. How can students spend their free time?

14. Online education. What is it?


Task 8. What is the difference between these pairs of words and phrases?

1) public private
2) primary secondary
3) tertiary further
4) university college
5) “O” level “A” level
6) Renaissance Reformation
7) Oxonians Cantabrigians
8) quads courts
9) tutorials supervisions
10) friends foes

Task 9. Explain the meaning of the following words and word combinations:

the workshop of the world; tutorial system; boarding school; Fellows; tutorials; supervisions; Boat Race; MBA program.


Task 10. Make up the list of key words, word combinations and key sentences from Text 2 (7-10 units).


Task 11. Compose your own plan of the Text in the form of questions, sentences or statements (5-7 units) and retell the basic contents of the Text according to the plan, using the tasks: 7, 9,10,11 (100-150 words).

Task 12. Developing Speech (Dialogue). Ask and answer questions.

– Excuse me; do you happen to know anything about the system of education in Britain?

– ….. .

– What is the difference between Junior and Senior High Schools?

– ….. .

– Is higher education selective? What does admission depend on?

– …..

– What subjects do students study?

– …..

– What degrees do students receive after graduating from the university?

– ….. .

– Are students self-employed?

– ….. .

– Oxford and Cambridge are the most well-known and famous universities. Am I right?

– ….. .

– Do students do research?

– ….. .

– What about sport?

– ….. .

– Where do students live? What does accommodation include? Do students live with a local host family?

– ….. .

– Oh, thank you very much for explaining everything to me.


Work in pairs

Task 13.Work in pairs and make up short dialogues:

1)Imagine you are welcoming to Twin Towers English College. 2) You are enrolled at English Language Courses. 3) Imagine you are in London, in the International Business School. You want to learn English for Business and live with host family, the Browns. 4) You are recommended homestay as the effective way for students to improve their language outside the school. 5) English for work: what is it? (English for work is designed to do two things: help you move to the next English level and prepare you to be successful using English in the work place).

Task 14. Work in groups: vocabulary in education.


Write the alphabet on a piece of paper. Next to each letter write one word connected to education. How many words can you write in five minutes?

Copy the following words and phrases into appropriate column: elementary, professor, graduation, nursery, lecture, undergraduate, online learning, distance learning, refresher course, junior, skip lectures, marks, grades, primary, degree, teacher, bachelor, master, Eton, higher, dean, college, “bulldog”, secondary, boarding school, certificate, polytechnics.


children’s education (before 15) adult education both


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