Education in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is the second most popular destination for education after the USA. Tuition fees are high but the alumni of top British universities benefit from international recognition and have great career prospects worldwide.
Early years, primary and secondary education
All children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school.
Early years education is for children from three to five and since 2010, all three and four year olds can get free nursery education for fifteen hours a week. At the end of the academic year when they turn five, there is a mandatory assessment (EYFS) of the child’s development and learning achievements. There is a wide range of schools offering early years education including primary schools.
Primary education is for children aged five to eleven. At the end of their final year, children undergo an assessment to enter secondary school. State schools are
Secondary school is mandatory for children from eleven to sixteen. During their final year, they take GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams. State schools (comprehensive schools) are free and cannot select children based on academic merits. Private schools charge
British boarding schools are popular with affluent families. Children live and study here and they are often divided by gender. Top schools include Winchester College and Wycombe Abbey School. Tuition fees here are about £30,000 per year and children must be registered to attend often years in advance. 15% of places are reserved for international admissions.
Top UK boarding schools and annual tuition fees 2014,
|Boys' schools||Girls' schools|
|1||Winchester College||n/a||34,740||Wycombe Abbey School||25,935||34,575|
|2||St Paul's School,
|21,792||32,640||St Mary's School,
|3||Eton College||n/a||34,434||St Swithun's School,
|4||Westminster School||25,368||33,792||Cheltenham Ladies'
|5||Tonbridge School||26, 370||35,163||Downe House School,
|6||Abingdon School||16,650||35,190||Queen Margaret's School,
|7||Charterhouse School||24,819||34,245||St Mary's School, Calne||25,350||33,900|
|8||Radley College||n/a||33,225||Badminton School,
|9||Dulwich College||17,403||36,324||St Catherine's School,
|10||Warwick School||11,373||24,270||Headington School,
Higher education in the UK and Wales is
Foreign applicants must have a sufficient score on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam to be admitted into a UK university. They sometimes ask for GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) scores.
Documents required to apply for a place in higher education include a Certificate of Secondary Education, personal statement and letters of recommendation from teachers.
University applications are usually processed directly by the academic institute using the online e-application UCAS for undergraduate studies, UKPASS for postgraduate studies or CUKAS (Performing Arts) or via educational agencies. The deadline for undergraduate applications is June 30th. The academic year starts in September.
The UK top universities
|1||2||University of Cambridge|
|2||2||Imperial College London|
|3||5||University of Oxford|
|3||5||University College London, UCL|
|4||16||King’s College London|
|5||17||University of Edinburgh|
|6||29||University of Bristol|
|7||30||University of Manchester|
|8||55||University of Glasgow|
|9||61||The University of Warwick|
|10||64||University of Birmingham|
Source: QS World University Rankings
The University of Cambridge was founded in the thirteenth century and is one of the world’s most renowned universities. It has over ninety affiliations with Nobel laureates (graduates, staff and researchers).
Tuition fees for international students vary from about £8,000 for
Students in England (outside London) spend about £12,000 per year on living costs including £5,000 on rent, £2,000 on meals, £300 on household goods and insurance, £2,000 on personal items, £1,500 on trips and £1,300 on entertainment. In London, living costs are £13,400 on average and rental accommodation about £6,000. Parents who want to buy a student flat will pay at least £500,000 for a small studio.
The British government obliges budgeting £1,265 in London or £1,015 outside the capital to spend per month for international students. Foreign students can work twenty hours per week during the term time and full time during holiday periods.