is traditionally the end of summer and the beginning of autumn in the UK. It is
also the month when children go back to school after their long summer holidays,
but what do you actually know about British schools?
There are two types of school in England. State-run
schools are paid for by the government, so are free to attend.
Independent Schools are private, which means you have to pay to attend.
The school day usually starts at 9 in the morning and
finishes around 4, with breaks for lunch of course! In many schools, you have to
wear a uniform too.
Children start school when they are 5 years
old. This is called primary school, and lasts until the child is 11 when
he or she will go on to senior school.
Secondary school is compulsory from 11 until 16 years
of age. At 16, students take national examinations called GCSE’s. After this,
students can stay at school for another 2 years and take A Level examinations.
These examinations are necessary if they want to go on to university at 18.
Some universities start in September, but others begin in
October. Courses normally last 3 years, but some, such as languages, engineering
or medicine, can take much longer to complete.
Students usually go to university in a different town, so
need to get used to living alone, paying bills and washing their own
clothes! For many, this is a difficult time, but everyone soon becomes used to
Universities in Britain used to be free, but many students
now have to pay for part of their course. Similarly, students used to receive
a grant – money from the government in order to live. Nowadays, they have
to borrow money from banks or the government, called a student loan, or
take part-time jobs. Either way, it can be difficult and many students
have money problems.
School and university life are not just about studying,
however. Many students take part in drama productions or play music. Others, of
course, take part in a wide range of sports, such as football, rugby and
Many of the friends British people make at school and
university remain friends for life, so it seems to true to say that your
schooldays really are ‘the best days of your life.’