As the UK is a unified state made up of four countries – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the running and funding of education in the UK is managed by each of these countries. However, there are commonalities across these countries, including the academic school year which runs from August/September to June/July.
Each country’s education system is made up of early childhood education or ‘nursery’ school, where children can attend school before the compulsory attendance age of 5 years old for primary school children.
Compulsory education continues into secondary school, where children must attend school until 18 years old in England. Secondary school students can graduate with a General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level or ‘A Level’.
The post-school education system in the UK is made up of two sectors: Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE).
FE covers a broad range of vocational-oriented educational options, ranging from qualifications such as awards, certificates and diplomas. FE colleges also offer apprenticeship qualifications, and some FE qualifications provide a pathway to HE qualifications.
The UK’s HE sector universities offer bachelor degrees, master degrees and doctoral degrees which are widely recognised and valued around the world for their high quality academic standards. The UK has a long history of academic excellence and leadership, through long standing internationally renowned institutes such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, among many other prestigious UK universities.
The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) for England, Northern Ireland and Wales allow degree awarding bodies to issue a Level 4 Certificate of Higher Education, a Level 5 Diploma of Higher Education, with Bachelor degrees being at level 6, followed by Master degrees at level 7 and Doctoral degrees at level 8.
These levels vary in Scotland, which uses 12 qualification levels, with Certificate of Higher Education degree starting at level 7.
Many UK universities participate in the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS), or similar, whereby credits are awarded to a degree based on the number of nominal hours of study. These credits are also associated with level of the degree. For example, a typical bachelor degree requires 300 credits, with 60 of those credits needing to be gained at level 6.
UK credits are considered equivalent across all of the UK, and are recognised by the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the United States’ credit hours.
The UK Government offers scholarships, bursaries and additional financial support to international students though the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), and many educational institutes offer their own financial support to international students, as well as, fully-funded post-graduate studentships.
UK university tuition fees range from £10,000 per year for under-graduate degrees to £38,000 per year for medical degrees.
The United Kingdom (UK) is a unified state made up of four countries – English, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, whose political alliances started in the 10th century between England and Scotland, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland joining on separate occasions since that time.
The UK was long ruled by royal leaders. such as kings and queens, who gained their titles through inheritance, before it became a constitutional monarchy in the 17th Century, which limited the royal’s power to rule within the UK.
The UK also funded many explorations to the ‘new’ world around this time, which saw the settlement of many English speaking countries, which has led to English being one of the most spoken languages.
The UK also led the world’s industrial revolution, making is an economic power house from the 19th Century, and a key member of international groups such as the United Nations today.
The UK is a democracy with three forms of government – The Government of the United Kingdom, which oversees most of the parliamentary decisions for the whole of the union, together with devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which allows each of these countries to have certain parts of parliamentary power. The third form of government is called ‘local government’, which allows local councils to make key decisions about their local regions.
Although each country within the UK has its own capital city, the capital city of the union, London, is renowned for being among the world’s leading financial and cultural centres, being home to internationally recognised historical sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Tower Bridge.
Around 66 million people live in the UK, with England being home to the most residents, with 56 million people, followed by Scotland with 5 million people, Wales with 3 million people and Northern Ireland with 2 million people.
Around 15% of the UK’s citizens come from other nations. Add to this the diverse cultures across the four countries which make up the UK, the UK offers a relaxed lifestyle with assorted food, fun and the freedom to explore anything from its ancient history to it arts scene.
While a relatively small geographical area, the UK’s geography ranges from forests and pasture, to great lakes and hills, to highly mountainous regions. The UK also boasts thousand of kilometres of waterways, and hundreds of islands.
The UK climate varies from more moderate weather in the south, to below freezing weather in the far north, depending on the time of year.
The United Kingdom (UK) is internationally renowned for its universities’ academic excellence. For example, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge rank in the top 10 universities in the world, and over 50% of UK universities feature in World University Rankings. This means that a UK degree is recognised and well respected around the world.
A UK undergraduate degree only takes 3 years to complete, and many UK Masters degrees can be completed in 12 months. This means completing your degree sooner, make studying in the UK a lot cheaper. UK university tuition fees can also be more affordable than degrees in other countries with the same high level academic standing.
The UK is very multicultural, and international students can work part-time, so you can be gaining valuable work experience while earning money. The UK also offers a post-study Visa which allows international students to extend their stay and employment in the UK for a further two years, as well as, options for becoming a permanent resident.
International students can also access financial support through scholarships, grants and bursaries, and many UK universities offer live-in residential options, so you can enjoy ‘campus life’. You may also be entitled to some ‘free’ health-care while studying in the UK.
Living and studying in the UK allows you to learn about the unique culture and history of the four countries which make up the UK – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and it is the perfect place to learn ‘English’. London is a global city, second only to New York in Alpha++ city ratings.
A UK lifestyle can also be very cosmopolitan, with world-class restaurants, bars and nightlife, as well as, many different cultural, music and sporting events.
Living in the UK offers you a ‘gateway’ to Europe, with easy access to the Continent via the ‘Chunnel’ (English Channel tunnel), or you can just travel within the Bristish Isles and enjoy great outdoor activities from skiing to hiking to boating, and more.
This is why the UK attracts over 500,000 international students each year, and it is the second most popular destination for international students in the world.