An Overview of England’s Education System
Education in England is under the control of the Department of Education. However, the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills have a partial influence on the education system of the country (Wu and Short, 1996). These bodies are responsible for coming up with rules, policies, and procedures that are used to govern the system of education in the entire nation. To ensure that the education system of the country is effective and efficient, the power to enforce the policies and laws that govern public education and state schools is vested in regional authorities (Baker, 2000).
In England, education is compulsory for children who are between the ages of 5-16 years. After reaching this level, students can continue with their secondary education that lasts for two more additional years. This makes them achieve their sixth form. These two additional years in secondary school are essential since they make a student achieve A-level qualifications. A student may achieve also other qualifications after finishing the compulsory section of education. Business and Technology Educational Council qualification is one of the options that a student has once he/she has completed the compulsory section of education. BTEC engages students in vocational courses that range from business studies to engineering. Other qualifications that a student may enroll in include Cambridge Pre-U and International Baccalaureate (Ranciere, 1991). It should however be noted that the compulsory section of education and the sixth form is offered free of charge through the courtesy of the government. In addition, parents also have the option of independent schooling for their children. They thus have the chance to educate their children in the way they feel is best for their children.
Higher education in England normally commences with students undertaking a three-year bachelor’s course. Students normally join the university at an average age of 18 years. A higher proportion of the cost of education is normally funded by the state. This privilege is only experienced in a public university. Without the contribution from the government, the cost of university education would be relatively higher. In addition, students may get scholarships from various institutions depending on their academic qualifications and social needs. It should also be noted that the state does not have any influence to control the syllabus of university education. Each university has its education board that determines the nature and context of education that they will offer in every course that they have. However, the state does influence regulation of the admission of students into public universities. This role is under the discretion of the Office of Fair Access. The main role of this office is to approve and monitor the admission of students into public universities. This is done to ensure free and fair access to higher education to the citizen of England. The state also has control of teacher training programs. Ofsted inspectors normally supervise these programs. Their main work here is to ensure that these institutions stick to the policies, rules, and regulations that have been set by the state. At the university, students have several options from which to choose. The first degree that the university offers to students is known as a bachelor’s degree. This last for three years. However, students now have the option of taking an undergraduate master’s degree that lasts for four years. The difference between the undergraduate master’s degree and the postgraduate master’s degree is unclear. After completing a postgraduate degree, students have the option of enrolling for a doctorate that normally lasts for three years. Other than primary, secondary, and higher education, the education system of England also has an adult education program. It offers vocational courses for students of all ages.
Technology Education Programmes in England
In England, technical education is exclusively offered by technical colleges or colleges of higher education. These colleges offer a variety of courses that lead to the award of vocational qualifications. These courses are normally offered under the discretion of The Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC). BTEC offers a variety of diploma courses. Students have the option of enrolling for a first diploma that normally lasts for one year. In addition, they have the option of enrolling in the national diploma program that may last for two or three years depending on the course that the student is undertaking. Once a student has completed three years of study under BTEC courses, he/she is eligible for a Higher National Diploma.
The main aim of technical education in England is to prepare students and enable them to meet the needs of the modern world. At the present moment, the world is facing a lot of advancements, mainly in the sector of technology. Technical courses are therefore essential to ensure that a better percentage of the population can participate in the changing technologies of the future. This education increases the level of innovation and creativity in students. As a result, such students can identify and solve technical problems that the world may be facing. They may achieve this by working individually or as a team. This will thus ensure that England and the world, in general, is a better place for a man to live in.
To ensure that these goals are realized, the technical education system of England ensures that its students can:
- Innovate, plan, execute and communicate ideas and information.
- Improve the quality of goods and services offered by being conversant with how various tools and systems operate.
- Evaluate the quality of components, goods, and services that are produced.
- Apply the knowledge and skills learned in the production of goods and services.
These are critical goals that the government of England wants to achieve with the courtesy of technical education.
To achieve these goals, the technical education of England in conjunction with BTEC offers a variety of programs. They include:
- Health and Care
- Art and design
Business education is perhaps one of the most preferred vocational programs in England. The course itself is very wide. It mainly aims to arm students with knowledge and skills about business theories, processes, and fundamentals (Mendez, 1992). This program is essential as it prepares students to enter into the business or any other related field or profession. Students who are holders of business diplomas are expected to perfectly fit into the job market or start their businesses where they will apply the knowledge and skills that they have learned to ensure that their work is profitable and sustainable. Students have a variety of majors under the business program. They may major in law, administration, e-commerce, and human resource management. These are among the most marketable courses in the world at the present moment.
Health and care is another program that students may enroll in under the vocational education system of England. Under this program, students learn the art of protecting and preventing individuals from diseases and other factors that may cause ill health. Students who enroll in this program will graduate as nurses or as caregivers. This program gives them the knowledge and skills that are required to build and improve their interpersonal skills while dealing with patients. Students also develop the art of treating patients with a lot of care and professionalism and follow the nursing ethics to the latter. Failure to do this may lead to the disempowering of patients; a move that may affect the recovery rate of the patient. Therefore, the skills and professionalism that are displayed by a nurse play a critical role in the recovery of the patient.
IT and Computing is another program that students can enroll in under the various technical courses that are being offered in England. The rate at which these courses are being offered by community colleges all around England is increasing at a very fast rate. This is due to its applicability in almost all sectors of the economy. At the present moment, almost every part of human life is dependent on information technology. Computer repair and maintenance, software and hardware engineering, networking, system support, and repair are some of the most preferred courses under the program. With the knowledge and skills gathered from the study of these subjects, students are applying to innovate, maintain and repair computer systems. This, therefore, ensures that the country is stable in terms of having competent staff in the field of information technology.
The land-based program aims at giving students the practical knowledge and skills are required for sustainable management of natural resources. This entails the wise use of resources. To achieve this, students are given the knowledge that will enable them to ensure that resources are utilized in a manner that will satisfy the needs of the present generation without compromising that of future generations. This program has several courses that students can enroll in. They include horticulture, range management, animal management, blacksmithing, and metalwork. Most of these courses are practical. This means that students have to practically apply the knowledge and skills that they have learned to achieve specific goals and objectives.
The media, music, and performing arts program contains a total of 16 subjects. These subjects are exclusively offered under three main courses. These are media, music, and performing arts. The main aim of this program is to produce individuals with the relevant knowledge and skills that are required in the world of entertainment. Media, for example, is one of the reliable sources of information in the modern world. This program, therefore, produces qualified individuals who are ready to work in the TV, radio, or print media industry. This includes TV and radio presenters, journalists, editors, and publishers. The program also gives students the skills and knowledge that are required in music production. Such students can therefore be artists or music producers. Finally, the program also trains individuals in the field of performing arts. This includes acting, dancing, and design.
Travel and Tourism is a program that has 12 courses under the BTEC specifications. This course is essential as it trains individuals to work in tourism that is one of the most profitable sectors of the economy of England and Europe in general (Ellsworth, 2005). The program gives students the knowledge and skills that are required to maintain and improve the viability of the industry. After the completion of the course, students possess skills in tours and travel, marketing of tourism products, customer care, and human resource management, hospitality, tour operations, and management, and so on. These skills are essential since their application will ensure that England remains one of the desirable tourist destinations in the world.
Students also have the chance to learn scientific courses under the technical education system of England. However, the number of courses that are available under this program is limited. Students can either enroll into one of the following programs:
- Forensic science
- Applied science
- Dental technology
- Medical science
- Biomedical sciences
These courses are however essential as they lead to the development of technicians in the field of science. These individuals play a critical role as supporting staff in various fields of science. With the application of the skills and knowledge that they have acquired, these individuals collect, analyze and interpret scientific data. As a result, they facilitate the various researchers that are being undertaken by the government and Private corporations.
A Focus on Construction Education
BTEC offers a variety of courses in the field of construction. This includes basic construction and civil engineering. Construction is the process through which the building and construction of infrastructure are achieved (Bellon, 1992). Building and construction and industrial construction are the main types of construction. Due to the delicate nature of construction work, its supervision and execution should be conducted by qualified personnel who poses a mix of knowledge and skills. This will ensure that these works are conducted more effectively and efficiently.
There are several technical colleges and institutes which offer a diploma in building and construction. This is to ensure that the nation has enough expatriates in the field of building and construction. At the present moment, there are several buildings and construction projects scattered all around England. These projects are underway to meet the increased need for infrastructure that has resulted due to the increase in population coupled with technological advancements and the changes in tastes and preferences of individuals. To ensure that all these projects are executed as per the set standards and regulation of the state, the government, in conjunction with other private firms have teamed up to offer high-quality technical education in the field of building and construction. The current curriculum ensures that students are equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills that are required to guarantee the sustainability of the building and construction industry. This includes internship programs that give students the chance to apply their technical knowledge and skills. It should also be noted that graduates in the field of construction are required to gain technical knowledge and skills before becoming professionals.
A focus on Art and Design with Special Emphasis on Textile
For a long time now, England has been known as the leading fashion center and home of creative arts. To achieve this, the country offers several technical courses in the field of art and design. These programs include:
- Machine knitting
- Footwear manufacture
- Leather technology
- Clothing textiles
- Fashion promotion
- Clothing engineering and management
Due to the high diversity of the various courses offered under this program, this essay should only concentrate on textiles. Textile is the main industry that supports the clothing and fashion industry. The industry has been operational for several decades. It is perhaps one of the heritage industries of the middle ages civilization. The industrial revolution brought a lot of changes to this industry. There was a lot of mechanization of work. This reduced the amount of labor required in the sector. It did however increase the quality and quantity of output.
Therefore, to maintain the trends of this industry and to ensure that its demand in terms of quality, quantity, and design is met, the state of England offers several courses in the field of textiles. These courses aim at producing personnel who have the quality and skills that are required to produce and design high-quality fabrics and garments. To achieve this, students who enroll in this program have several options of specialization that they can choose from. This includes:
- Garment making and tailoring
- Mixed media textile art
There are also several colleges and technical schools that offer textile courses in England. Alison Victoria School is a good example. It is one of the leading independent textile institutions that attract students from all over England and its environs. This institution offers a variety of courses in the field of fashion and design, quilting, lingerie, and tailoring. The school aims at imparting its students the highest quality of education. To achieve this, it uses a variety of methods. One of their preferred teaching methods is the incorporation of information technology in their studies. This is achieved by the use of sophisticated computer programs in design, knitting, and embroidery.
The school has also teamed up with well-established textile companies to give its students the chance to put into practice their knowledge and skills. It has for example partnered up with Sewfine Sewing Company Limited. This is one of the leading embroidery companies in the United Kingdom. Through the alliance that it has with Alison Victoria School, students have the chance to learn the latest technology used in the textile industry, share their ideas, and put into practice the knowledge and skills that they have learned. This gives them the experience and exposure that they require to be successful in the clothing and textile industry.
There are also different modes in which students can study for textile courses. Students have the option of joining full-time courses in renowned technical colleges all that are present in the state. Other options include distance learning, holiday learning, evening classes, and one-day courses. All these options aim at increasing the knowledge and skills of individuals in the field of clothing and textiles.
Inclusion of a Table of Courses and Table of Content in Englands Technical Education
In England, it is the role of the state to determine the technical courses that shall be offered in a public institution (Tobin and Kincheloe, 2006). The state also dictates the content which these courses will cover. The state, therefore, has the power to influence the curriculum of the technical courses that are offered in England. To ensure that this role is performed effectively and efficiently, the state has appointed BTEC to be in charge of the technical education in the country.
BTEC together with the government under the Department of Education organizes the curriculum that should be followed with regards to all the courses that are offered in technical institutions. The curriculum of these courses is designed in such a way as to meet the needs of a specific group of learners and at the same time meet the goals and objectives of the state with regards to a specific course. To achieve this, the teaching structure syllabus and course structure of these courses are designed in such a way that they incorporate the individual needs of learners together with that of the state. As a result, a self-sustaining system is developed.
In addition, the government has a supervisory body that ensures that all technical institutions adhere to the rules and policies that it has set about the curriculum of technical education. This supervision is conducted by an independent body referred to as Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education). This body conducts numerous inspections in state-owned institutions. The reports that are prepared by this body are used to determine the level of performance of technical colleges and other public institutions. With this information, the state will be able to know the strengths and weaknesses of its system of education (special emphasis on technical education) and come up with appropriate measures for improving it.
In the course of teaching, it is the role of the teacher to ensure that there is a learning environment between him/her and his/her students. To achieve this, there are several principles that a teacher should always apply. A teacher should clearly state the expectation that he has before the commencement of the course. This is should normally be done during the introductory lecture. The teacher should specifically state his objectives and the goals and objectives of the study that he/she is about to teach. This prepares the students mentally for the task that lies ahead. The teacher should also come up with a means through which he can achieve his personal goals and objectives and those of his students.
A teacher should also create a favorable learning environment for his students. This includes the physical and mental environment. Physically, the learning venue should be clean, well-lit, and ventilated. The teacher should also treat his/her students with a lot of care and respect. He/she should also develop the concept of teamwork in them. This is essential for success, especially in technical courses.
Finally, the teacher should develop a set of rules and guidelines that should be followed in the course of the study. These rules should be democratic in that the students should also contribute to their formulation. The consequences of breaching these rules should also be clearly stated. With these principles in line, a teacher stands a high chance of being successful.
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- Ellsworth, E. (2005). Places of Learning: Media, Architecture, Pedagogy. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
- Mendez, S. (1992) Leadership Characteristics that Facilitate School Change. SEDL.org. 2011.
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- Tobin, K. and Kincheloe, J. (2006). Doing Educational Research: A Handbook. Rotterdam: Sense.
- Wu, V. and Short, P. M. (1996). The relationship of the empowerment to teachers’ job commitment and job satisfaction. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 23, 85-89.
A Table of British Education System
|Phase of education||Type of institution||Year/grade key||Typical age|
|Higher and further education||Further education institutions |
(such asfurther education colleges, tertiary colleges, specialist colleges, and adult education centres)
|Higher education institutions |
(universitiesand other higher education institutions)
|Upper secondary education||GCE ”A’ Levels, GCE ”AS” Level examinations and Advanced Vocational Certificates of Education (AVCEs) (taken at age 17/18) provide access to further and higher education and the world of work|
|Further education institutions||School sixth formsor sixth form colleges||17 – 18|
|16 – 17|
|General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs), General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) and GCSEs in vocational subjects (Vocational GCSEs) (usually taken at age 16) provide access to post-compulsory general/academic and vocational studies and the world of work|
|Secondary schools||Key stage 4||Y11||15 – 16*****|
|Y10||14 – 15|
|Lower secondary education||Key stage3 |
|Y9||13 – 14|
|Y8||12 – 13 **|
|Y7||11 – 12 **|
|Primary education||Primary schools*||Key stage 2 |
|Y6||10 – 11 **|
|Y5||9 – 10 **|
|Y4||8 – 9 **|
|Y3||7 – 8|
|Key stage 1||Y2||6 – 7|
|Y1||5 – 6|
|Reception classes (R) in primary schools||Early Years Foundation stage***||R||4 – 5|
|Pre-school and nursery education||Pre-school settings which include pre-school groups, playgroups, day nurseries, nursery centres and nursery schools||0 – 5|