A historically rich destination with deep cultural roots, the UK provides an ideal base from which one can explore the history and culture of not just the UK but of the rest of Europe as well. Moreover, The UK education system holds an outstanding international reputation. With excellent education standards, the UK offers a multitude of courses designed to cater to every need of the students studying in the UK. Being the origin of the English language, the UK provides a wide range of English language and pathway courses to prepare students for university-level studies, along with a number of undergraduates (bachelor) and postgraduate courses. Augmented by fantastic teaching facilities, there can be no doubt as to why education in the UK has stood the test of time.
Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter with each of the countries of the
United Kingdom having separate systems under separate governments: the UK
Government is responsible for England; the Scottish Government, the Welsh
Government and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland, respectively. In each country, there are five stages of education:
early years, primary, secondary, Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE).
Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 (4 in Northern Ireland)
and 16. Before this children can be educated at the nursery. FE is non-compulsory and
covers non-advanced education which can be taken at further (including tertiary)
education colleges and HE institutions (HEIs). The fifth stage, HE, is study beyond GCE
A levels (and their equivalent) which, for most full-time students, takes place in
universities and other HEIs and colleges. The "National Curriculum", established in
1988, provides a framework for education in England and Wales between the ages of 5
and 18; in Scotland, the nearest equivalent is the 5-14 programme, and in Northern
Ireland, there is something known as the common curriculum. The Scottish
qualifications the Standard Grades, Highers and Advanced Highers are highly similar to
the English Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and advanced level (A2) courses.
Traditionally a high-performing country in international rankings of education, the UK has stagnated in recent years in such rankings as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests; in 2013, for reading and maths, the country as a whole stood in the middle-ranking, a position that was broadly similar to three years before. Within the UK, Scotland performed marginally better than England; both were slightly ahead of Northern Ireland, and markedly ahead of Wales.