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Structure of Educational System
Pre-higher Education System
Higher Education System
Administrative structure of higher education  
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition


INSTITUTION TYPES & CREDENTIALS

Types of higher education institutions:

University

Open University

College and Institution of Higher Education

Open College

College of Technology

Teacher Training College

Institute

 

School leaving and higher education credentials:

General Certificate of Secondary Education

General Certificate of Education Advanced Level

First Diploma

National Diploma

Higher National Certificate

Higher National Diploma

Certificate

Diploma

Diploma of Higher Education

Foundation Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's Honours Degree

Master's Degree (taught)

Postgraduate Certificate of Education

Postgraduate Diploma

Master's Degree

Master of Philosophy

Doctorate

Higher Doctorate

 

 

STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION SYSTEM

Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 5

Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system:

Primary

Type of school providing this education: Combined Junior and Infant School

Length of program in years: 6

Age level from: 5 to: 11

Basic First Stage

Type of school providing this education: Infant School

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 5 to: 7

Basic Second Stage

Type of school providing this education: Junior School

Length of program in years: 4

Age level from: 7 to: 11

Comprehensive

Type of school providing this education: Comprehensive School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 11 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)/Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSE)

Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Secondary Modern

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 11 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)/Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSE)

Academic Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Grammar School

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 11 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)/Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSE)

Technical

Type of school providing this education: CTC (City Technology College)

Length of program in years: 5

Age level from: 11 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: General Certificate of Secondary Education (CGSE)/Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSE)

Sixth Form

Type of school providing this education: Sixth Form

Length of program in years: 2

Age level from: 16 to: 18

Certificate/diploma awarded: General Certificate of Education Advanced Level/General Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidary/Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced Level/Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary Level

School education:

Primary education may take the form of combined junior and infant schools and therefore lasts for six years or a first stage covering infant schools (two years) and a second stage covering junior schools (four years). Secondary education covers schooling from the age of eleven to the minimum school leaving age of sixteen. Pupils follow a common curriculum leading to the GCSE and VCSE. They may combine a number of GCSEs, VCSEs or a combination of both. At some schools, pupils may stay on at a school sixth form for a further two years when they sit for the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A Levels) or the General Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary examinations (GCE AS examinations), or vocational courses leading usually to a Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced Level/Vocational Certificate of Education Advanced Subsidiary Level). Further education colleges also offer these courses.

Higher education:

Higher education is provided by three main types of institutions: universities, colleges and institutions of higher education and art and music colleges. All universities are autonomous institutions, particularly in matters relating to courses. They are empowered by a Royal Charter or an Act of Parliament. As a result of the Further and Higher Education Act of 1992, the binary line separating universities and polytechnics was abolished and polytechnics were given university status (i.e., the right to award their own degrees) and took university titles. The Council for National Academic Awards was abolished, leaving most institutions to confer their own degrees. Higher Education Funding Councils were created for England, Scotland and Wales, replacing the Universities Funding Council and the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council. Most universities are divided into faculties which may be subdivided into departments. Universities UK examines matters of concern to all universities. Many colleges and institutions of higher education are the result of mergers of teacher training colleges and other colleges. The Department for Education and Skills  is responsible for all universities. Non-university higher education institutions also provide degree courses, various non-degree courses and postgraduate qualifications. Some may offer Higher Degrees and other qualifications offered by most non-university higher education institutions are validated by external bodies such as a local university or the Open University. An institution can also apply for the authority to award its own degrees but it must be able to demonstrate a good record of running degree courses validated by other universities. Institutions can apply for university status but must satisfy a number of criteria, including the power to award its own first and higher degrees. Some higher education is also provided in further education institutions. This provision is funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils and the Department of Education Northern Ireland. The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 allows for the transfer of further education institutions to the higher education sector, if 'the full-time enrolment number of the institution concerned…for courses of higher education exceeds 55% of its total full-time equivalent enrolment number'.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Education Reform Act Year: 1988

Decree: Further and Higher Education Act Year: 1992

Decree: Higher Education Act Year: 2004

Academic year:

Classes from: Sep to: Jul

Long vacation from: 1 Jul to: 30 Sep

Languages of instruction: English

Stages of studies:

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

Non-university level post-secondary technical education is provided by technical colleges, colleges of further and higher education and accredited independent colleges which offer a large number of courses leading to a vocational qualification. The Business and Technology Education Council offers many vocational courses leading to the BTEC First Diploma (one year, full-time) or to the BTEC National Diploma (two to three years, full-time). A Higher National Diploma is conferred after three years' study by the Business and Technology Education Council. As regards professional education, the professions have laid down their own professional qualifications (some thirty major professional bodies exist).

 

University level studies:

University level first stage: Undergraduate stage:

This stage lasts for  three or four years and leads to the award of a Bachelor's Degree in Arts, Science or other fields (Technology, Law, Engineering, etc.). In some Scottish universities the first degree is a Master's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree is conferred as a Pass Degree or an Honours Degree where studies are more specialized. The Bachelor's Honours Degree is classified as a First Class Honours, a Second Class Honours or a Third Class Honours. In some universities and colleges of higher education, a two-year course leads to a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE). This is a recognized qualification in its own right. Some universities have adopted the credit-unit or modular system of assessment. In some universities students must follow a foundation course before embarking on the course leading to the Bachelor's Degree. Students of foreign languages are sometimes required to study or work for an additional year in the country of the target language. Sandwich courses generally involve an additional year's work experience. Some institutions have introduced accelerated two-year degrees which require students to study during the normal vacation period. It is now rare for the class of degree to depend entirely on student performance in final examinations. Most institutions base a component of the degree class on examinaions taken during the period of study, especially those taken at the end of the second year, and many also use some form of continuous assessment. The majority of degree courses also involve the research and writing of an extensive thesis or dissertation, normally making up around 50% of the final year assessment.

University level second stage: Master's Degree, Master of Philosophy:

Study at master's level is at the forefront of an academic or professional discipline. Students must show originality in their application of knowledge and advancement of knowledge. The normal entry requirement for a Master's degree is a good Bachelor's degree. A Master's degree is normally studied over one year. Some Master's programmes, including the M.Eng, are integrated in undergraduate programmes and result in a postgraduate qualification, not an undergraduate one and that is after four years of study. Online Master's degrees are also achievable, such as Masters in Secondary education, Nursing, Business Intelligence and Health Care to name a few. At an university, after two years of additional study and the successful presentation of a thesis, students obtain the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) degree.

University level third stage: Doctor of Philosophy, Higher Doctorate:

After usually three years' further study beyond the Master's Degree, the candidate may present a thesis for the Doctorate of Philosophy (D.Phil. or Ph.D.).A further stage leads to Higher Doctorates which may be awarded by a university in Law, Humanities, Science, Medical Sciences, Music and Theology  after a candidate, usually a senior university teacher, has submitted a number of learned, usually published, works.

 

Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Primary school teachers must hold a first degree and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education awarded by a university or college of higher education. Alternatively, they must hold a BEd Degree and have a qualified teacher status which can be obtained after successful completion of an approved course of initial teacher training (ITT). The main types of ITT courses are the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education course or the Bachelor of Education (BEd) course.

Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers must hold a first degree and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education awarded by a university or college of higher education. Alternatively they must hold a BEd Degree and have a qualified teacher status which can be obtained after successful completion of an approved course of initial teacher training (ITT). The main types of ITT courses are the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education course or the Bachelor of Education (BEd) course which normally lasts for four years.

Training of higher education teachers

Higher education teachers normally hold a higher degree.

 

Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

The Open University offers instruction for part-time study for degrees and other courses by correspondence, supplemented by radio and television broadcasts, residential summer schools and an extensive counselling and tutorial service which operates through local study centres. Three main types of course are available: undergraduate level courses, postgraduate courses and study packs. They are offered as part of Certificate, Diploma or Degree programmes. Undergraduate students take a series of courses which are worth one half or one full credit. A one-credit course is estimated to require 350-400 hours of study. An Ordinary Degree BA or BSc is awarded to students who have obtained six credits; an Honours degree (BA or BSc Honours) to students who have obtained two of these credits at the higher levels of study. Students may choose from a selection of 134 courses at four levels of difficulty. Up to three credits may be allowed for previous qualifications such as an initial teacher training qualification or a Higher National Diploma. The Open College offers vocational and professional training often leading to recognized qualifications. The Open College of Arts, set up in 1987, is affiliated to the Open University. It aids students of the arts who wish to study at home. It receives no government funding but as a registered charity it receives donations from other organizations.

Lifelong higher education

Extra-mural education is provided by universities or other institutions of higher education to adults living in the region served by the institutions and who do not belong to the regular student body. Higher education institutions may also choose to offer courses that are specifically intended to meet the needs of the local community. Thus they may offer part-time courses providing professional updating which people attend on day-release from work or attend in the evening, or leisure courses on local History or Geography, or Language and Literature classes.

Higher education training in industry

There are sandwich courses in which an undergraduate course is incorporated with periods of industrial training. The duration of study for an Honours Degree is four years. Admission conditions vary enormously and courses are offered only in universities which were formerly colleges of advanced technology.

Other forms of non-formal higher education

Foundation degree programmes were finalized in autumn 2000 for the first students to begin the courses in 2001. Foundation degrees are employment-related higher education qualifications designed to equip students with work-related skills.The sectors include construction, creative industries, e-business, e-commerce, finance, information technology and law. Foundation degrees have been designed with employers to provide an employment base at associate professional and higher technician level. They are awarded by universities and higher education colleges. A Foundation Degree can be used as a starting point for further study, either a related Honours Degree or further professional development in the workplace. There are no specific entry requirements and it is up to the college or university providing the degree to decide if a candidate is eligible.

 

 

NATIONAL BODIES

Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Department for Education and Skills

Head: Alan Johnson, Secretary of State

Administrative officer: Bill Rammell, Minister for Higher Education

Sanctuary Building
Great Smith Street
London
England SW1P 3BT
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 79256257; +44 (870) 0002288

Fax: +44(20) 79256000

EMail: sec-of-state@dfes.gov.uk;info@dfes.gsi.gov.uk

WWW: http://www.dfes.gov.uk

 

Role of governing body: Administrative and coordinative role

 

Standing Conference of Principals - SCOP

Head: Pamela Taylor, Chair

Administrative officer: Patricia Ambrose, Executive Secretary

20 Woburn House
Tavistock Square
London
England WC1H 9HB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 73877711

Fax: +44(20) 73877712

EMail: info@scop.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.scop.ac.uk

 

Role of governing body: educational policy design and scientific advice

 

Universities UK

Head: Drummond Bone, President

Administrative officer: Diana Warwick, Chief Executive

Woburn House
20 Tavistock Square
London
England WC1H 9HQ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 74194111

Fax: +44(20) 73888649

EMail: info@universitiesUK.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk

 

Role of governing body: Represents the interests of the universities in relation to the government, Parliament, local and national institutions

 

Universities Scotland

Head: David Caldwell, Director

53 Hanover Street
Edinburgh
Scotland EH2 2PJ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(131) 2261111

Fax: +44(131) 2261100

EMail: info@universities-scotland.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.universities-scotland.ac.uk

 

Role of governing body: Represents higher education institutions in Scotland

 

Higher Education Wales - HEW

Head: James Lusty, Chairman

Administrative officer: Amanda Wilkinson, Director

PO Box 413
Cardiff
Wales CF10 3UF
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(29) 20786216

Fax: +44(29) 20786222

EMail: HEW@Wales.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.hew.ac.uk

 

Role of governing body: Represents higher education institutions in Wales

 

Higher Education Funding Council for England - HEFCE

Head: David Eastwood, Chairman

Administrative officer: Howard Newby, Chief Executive

Northavon House
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol
BF16 1QD
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(117) 9317317

Fax: +44(117) 9317203

EMail: hefce@hefce.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.hefce.ac.uk

 

 

Office for Fair Access - OFFA

Head: Martin Harris, Director

Administrative officer: John Rushforth, Deputy Director

Northavon House
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol
BS16 1QD
United Kingdom

Tel: +0117 9317053/ 9317018

Fax: +0117 9317479

EMail: enquiries@offa.org.uk

WWW: http://www.offa.org.uk/

 

Role of governing body: Independent public body dedicated to the  promotion and safeguard of fair access to higher education.

 

Society for Research into Higher Education

Head: Helen Perkins, Director

76 Portland Place
London
England W1B 1NT
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 76372766

Fax: +44(20) 76372781

EMail: srheoffice@srhe.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.srhe.ac.uk

 

 

Association of University Teachers

Head: Steve Wharton, President

Administrative officer: Sally Hunt, General Secretary

Egmont House
25-31 Tavistock Place
London
England WC1H9UT
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 76709700

Fax: +44(20) 76709799

EMail: hq@aut.org.uk

WWW: http://www.aut.org.uk

 

 

 

ADMISSIONS TO HIGHER EDUCATION

Admission to non university higher education studies

Name of secondary school credential required: General Certificate of Education Advanced Level

Name of secondary school credential required: General Certificate of Secondary Education

Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: General Certificate of Education Advanced Level

Minimum score/requirement: 2/3 passes at A-level

Other admission requirements: School report and interview. Universities may also impose their conditions, such as a certain combination of passes or a particular standard achieved in subjects taken at A level.

Foreign students admission

Definition of foreign student: A foreign student is a person who is enrolled at an institution of higher education in Great Britain but is not a permanent resident.

Admission requirements: Foreign students must hold qualifications equivalent to the United Kingdom General Certificate of Education with five or six passes including two at Advanced level.

Entry regulations: Passport, a visa and evidence confirming their registration in full-time courses and evidence of funds.

Health requirements: Students who come from countries outside the European Union need a medical certificate

Language requirements: Students must have a good knowledge of English. English courses and English-as-a-Foreign-Language courses are available in the private/state sector.

Application procedures:

Apply to individual institution for entry to: For access to postgraduates studies.

Apply to national body for entry to: For undergraduate studies.

Apply to:

Universities and College Admission Service (UCAS)

Rosehill, New Barn Lane
Cheltenham
Gloucestershire GL52 3LZ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(1242) 22-24-44

Fax: +44(1242) 22-16-22

WWW: http://www.ucas.ac.uk

 

Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC), ECCTIS Ltd

Head: Cloud Bai Yun, Head of UK NARIC

Oriel House
Oriel Road
Cheltenham
England GL50 1XP
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(870) 9904088

Fax: +44(1242) 258611

EMail: info@naric.org.uk

WWW: http://www.naric.org.uk

 

Deals with credential recognition for entry to: University and Profession

Services provided & students dealt with: Recognition and equivalence information.

 

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Europe

Year of signature: 1979

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: British Universities Guide to Graduate Studies

Author: Association of Commonwealth Universities

Title: Commonwealth Universities Yearbook

Author: Association of Commonwealth Universities

Title: Higher Education in the United Kingdom

Author: British Council/Association of Commonwealth Universities

Publisher: Longman Group Ltd

Title: International Comparisons

Author: UK NARIC

Publisher: UK NARIC

Title: Studying and Living in Britain: the British Council's Guide for Overseas Students and Visitors

Author: British Council

Publisher: Northcote House in association with the British Council

 

STUDENT LIFE

Main student services at national level

Association of Commonwealth Universities

John Foster House, 36 Gordon Square
London
WC1H OPF
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 7387-8572

Fax: +44(20) 7387-2655

EMail: info@acu.ac.uk

WWW: http://www.acu.ac.uk

 

Category of services provided: Academic and career counselling services

 

Association of Recognized English Language Schools (ARELS)

125 High Holborn
London
WC1V 6QD
United Kingdom

 

Category of services provided: Social and welfare services

 

British Council

10 Spring Gardens
London SW1A 2BN
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 7930-8466

Fax: +44(20) 7839-6347

WWW: http://www.britcoun.org

 

Category of services provided: Academic and career counselling services

 

National Union of Students

461 Holloway Road
London
N7 6LJ
United Kingdom

 

Category of services provided: Academic and career counselling services; Special services/Centre for foreign students

Services available to foreign Students: Yes

 

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)

9-17 St Albans Place
London
N1 0NX
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 7288 4330

WWW: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/

 

Category of services provided: Academic and career counselling services

 

National student associations and unions

National Union of Students

461, Holloway Road
London
N7 6LJ
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 272-8900

Fax: +44(20) 263-5713

EMail: Nusuk@nus.org.uk

 

Student expenses and financial aid

Student costs:

Home students tuition fees: Maximum: 1175 (Pound Sterling)

Foreign students tuition fees: Minimum: 4000 (Pound Sterling)

Maximum: 26000 (Pound Sterling)

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Awards for Postgraduate Study at Commonwealth Universities

Publisher: Association of Commonwealth Universities, London

Title: Financial Aid for First Degree Study at Commonwealth Universities

Publisher: Association of Commonwealth Universities, London

Title: Study Abroad 2004-2005, 32nd Edition

Author: UNESCO

Publisher: UNESCO Publishing

Year of publication: 2003

Title: The Grants Register

Publisher: Palgrave

 

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION & EXCHANGES

Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:

Department for Education and Skills

Sanctuary Building, Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3BT
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(20) 79256257

Fax: +44(20) 79256000

WWW: http://www.dfes.gov.uk

 

Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes

Name of exchange programme: SOCRATES

 

GRADING SYSTEM

Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: Alphabetical system A to E. A: excellent/outstanding; B: above average; C: average; D: below average; E: failing.

Highest on scale: A

Pass/fail level: C/D

Lowest on scale: E

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: Alphabetical system A to E. A: excellent/outstanding; B: above average; C: average; D: below average; E: fail.

Highest on scale: A

Pass/fail level: D/E

Lowest on scale: E

Other main grading systems

Numerical system.

 

NOTES ON HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

 

 

Data for academic year: 2004-2005

Source: IAU from UK NARIC/NRP, November 2005



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