British schools and universities

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1 Public education

State schools are free (gratuites) and co-educational (mixtes).

primary school

(age: 5-11)

secondary school

(age: 11-18)


infant school

(age 5-8)




grammar school

(high academic

standards rarely


age 16: gcse



of Secondary


age 18: A-levels



of Education

Advanced Level)

junior school

(age 8-11)

Secondary school is from year 7 (sixième) to year 13 (upper 6th) (terminale). 85% of secondary schools are comprehensive (polyvalentes, non-sélectives).

2 Private education

Public schools are independent, private, extremely expensive.

age: 5-13

age: 13-18

preparatory school + common entrance exam

public schools

 They provide education for 5% of the population, mainly boys, though there has been a recent trend (tendance récente) towards co-education.

 The most famous public schools are Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester and Charterhouse.

notez bien

to attend school: fréquenter l’école

school-leaving age: l’âge de fin de scolarité

a term: un trimestre

a school report: un bulletin scolaire

 British universities are independent and self-governing.



(3-4 years: licence)

Bachelor of Arts (ba)

Bachelor of Science (bsc)

Bachelor of Law (llb)



(1-3 years: mastère)

Master of Arts (ma)

Master of Science (msc)

Doctor of Philosophy (phd) (doctorat)

Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in Britain. They are a group of separate colleges which enjoy unique social prestige.

Modern universities (Birmingham, Liverpool…) are more like French universities. They are organised in faculties. London university is the largest British university.

Redbrick universities are old established universities.

Edinburgh (Scotland) is famous for its medical faculty.

notez bien

a fellow: un chargé de cours

a tutor: un directeur d’études

a lecturer: un assistant

a hall of residence: une résidence universitaire

a competitive exam: un concours

entrance requirements: le niveau d’entrée

to graduate: obtenir un diplôme

a don: un professeur d’université (surtout à Oxford et Cambridge)