Text C: How the Education System Works 

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Text C: How the Education System Works


Everybody has a right to a school place for a child from age 5 to age 16, and a school or college place for him or her from 16 to 18. These places are provided free of __(1)__. Everybody has a duty to make sure that the child goes to school until he or she is 16.

Most pupils go to schools which offer free education, although fee-paying independent schools also have an important role to play. In most schools, the __(2)__ and head teacher are in charge of the way the school is run, but the local council fixes the size of the budget, offers advice and can step if things go wrong. The child is taught the subjects he or she must study under the __(3)__. These are English, maths, science, history, art, music and PE. History, geography, art and music are not compulsory after the age of 14. Pupils will be tested in the __(4)__ subjects of English, maths and science at about the ages 7, 11 and 14.

Education and training should not stop when a student is 16. Young people now have much more choice about education. When they reach 16 they can decide to stay at school, move to a college as __(5)__student or combine __(6)__ study with a job.

Further education in Britain is for people over 16 taking courses at various levels up to the standard required for entry to higher education. Courses are run by further education colleges, many of which also provide higher education courses. Colleges have strong links with universities and these links can enable students to progress from the further education college into an advanced stage of a degree course at university.

Today there are 89 universities in Britain, compared with only 17 in 1945. All British universities are private institutions. Each has its own governing council, including some local business people and local politicians as well as a few academics. Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may obtain a personal __(7)__ from local authorities of the place where he lives. This is enough to pay his full costs, including lodging and food but the amount depends on the parents’ income. If the parents do not earn much money, their children will receive a full grant which will roughly cover all the expenses. Students studying for first degrees are known as “__(8)__”.

They have lectures, there are regular seminars at which one of the students reads a paper he or she has written. The paper is discussed by the tutor and the rest of the group .The students also see a __(9)__ alone to discuss their work and their progress. Such __(10)__ take place once a week.

The Bachelor’s degree. After three or four years the students will take their finals. Those who pass exams successfully are given the Bachelor’s degree. About 15% of students who start at universities leave without obtaining a degree, some of them after only a year.

The Master’s degree. The first __(11)__ degree is normally that of Master. In most universities it is only in the science faculties that any large numbers of students stay to do postgraduate work.

Doctor of Philosophy is the highest degree. It is given for some original research work which is an important contribution to knowledge.



Comment on the following sentences.


1. All schools and colleges in the UK are fee-paying.

2. History, geography, art and music are compulsory for all children. It doesn’t depend on their age.

3. After the age of 16 all young people have to combine study with a job.

4. After graduating from colleges young people have to pass entrance exams to universities.

5. All British universities are free of charge.

6. The amount of student’s grant depends on his academic achievements.

7. After 3 or 4 years all students are given the Bachelor’s degree.

8. To get the Master’s degree students have to do original research work which contributes much to knowledge.

What terms do the following sentences define according to the text?


1. Spending of or using money, time or effort.

2. To stay somewhere, usually paying rent to do so and often for only a short time, such as a few days or weeks.

3. A sum of money given by a government to a person or organization for a special purpose.

4. A group of subjects studied at school, or a particular course of study in one subject.

5. A period of study with a tutor involving a student or a small group.

6. Students who are studying for their first degree at university or college.

7. A group of people elected or chosen to make decisions or give advice on a particular subject.



Read the text and underline the arguments why the UK didn’t seek for membership of the European Community.

Text D: Britain and Europe


The idea of European Communities developed in the years following the end of World War II during which much of Europe had been devastated. In 1950 France and Germany suggested that several European countries should combine their coal and steel industries under a shared management. Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg might even become a “United States of Europe” with no barriers to people, goods, money or services crossing frontiers, a common money system, common laws concerning industry and farming and perhaps some form of overall European Government. Britain did not seek membership of the Community from the beginning. Some of the main reasons were: the UK had strong trade links with other countries in the Commonwealth, which gave access to cheaper food, and strong political links with the USA. It was thought both would be weakened. The international trading traditions created a feeling that the UK was separate from “mainland Europe”. A lot of people opposed the idea.

They thought that conceding power to any outside body mean loss of national sovereignty. However in 1961, Britain, together with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland, applied for full membership. Negotiations were broken off in 1963 when France vetoed (blocked) British entry. In 1967 Britain reapplied and France vetoed the British application again. Only in 1972 Britain became a member of the Community. The EC was popularly called “The Common Market”. Then it became the European Union (EU).

Many people in Britain are not keen on the EC. They especially dislike the way in which EC law controls the small details of life in Britain. Britain frequently complains about the programme and budget of the EC.

After the USA, the countries of the EC have the richest and widest range of industries in the world. It is one of the great centers of world trading and banking. Trade is much easier between member countries. Companies can make goods to sell to the whole Community rather than just to their own country, and workers from member countries can work freely in any of the other Community countries. The common agricultural policy protects European farmers so that the Community need never depend on imports from overseas. The Community tries to ensure that farmers are guaranteed fair reward for their work. Britain has one of the most efficient agricultural industries in Europe and is a major exporter of agricultural and food products, agrochemicals and machinery. Only about 2 % of the workforce is employed in agriculture. The manufacturing sector plays an important role and Britain excels in pharmaceuticals, electronics, and aerospace.

The service sector (finance, retailing, tourism and business services) is the fastest growing industry. Britain is now the world’s ninth largest producer of crude oil, which is the nation’s main source of power.

The UK exports oil and manufactured goods such as machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, aerospace equipment and chemicals. Just over half of Britain’s exports are to other countries in the European Union.



Discuss the following questions in pairs.

1. What was the reason for the formation of European Community?

2. What was the reason for the UK not to be a member of the Community?

3. When did the UK become a member of the European Community?

4. Why aren’t many British people keen on “the Common Market”?

5. What are the advantages to be a member of the EC?

6. What are the most developed sectors of industry in the UK?

7. What is the Britain’s source of power in the UK?



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