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15 Interesting Facts about Education in England

15 Interesting Facts about Education in England
Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer / Public domain

Education has been around in the world for centuries. No matter how old, all societies have given due importance to education. Various writing systems emerged around the world, as early as 3500 BC. It is this education and knowledge that separates humans from animals and has helped us progress and move forward.

Earlier, education used to be religion centric. This was because most of the education was imparted in religious institutions like churches, temples, mosques, etc. till this time, educational institutions did not exist as separate entities.

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Advancement in the world and technology finally led to the stark separation of education and religion. The educational institutions became more secular. Today, students of all faiths can study together, under one roof. The syllabus has attained a more scientific approach, giving importance to subjects such as science, maths, and languages. Spiritual or religious education is now the responsibility of families.

Education has come a long way and faced a lot of changes across time. The education system in England, just like any other part of the world, has also been through various changes. There are many interesting facts about education in England. Mentioned below are 15 interesting facts about education in England.

15 Interesting Facts about Education in England

1. World’s 2nd Oldest School is in England –

This is the first fact on the list of interesting facts about education in England. The King’s school, situated in Canterbury, was founded in 597 CE. The school is the second oldest in the world and the oldest in Europe.

It started as an All-Boys school. Admission for girls was opened in the 1970s, starting from the Sixth form (class/standard). The school has been genuinely co-educational since the 1990s.

It is believed that St. Augustine established this school when he arrived in Canterbury for the first time. Not much is in light of the early years of its establishment. However, the records of the history of the school are available from the 16th century. It was run as a part of the Canterbury cathedral.

2.Tudor Schools 

The period between 1485 and 1603, when England was ruled by the Tudor Family is known as the Tudor period. Not many people sent their children to schools. It was rare that girls were sent to school at all.

The school hours were very long, from 7 in the morning till 6 or 7 in the evening. The students studied with the help of ‘hornbooks.’ Pages with the study material were attached to wooden boards. This board was then covered with a transparent sheet made of cow horn.

3.Whipping Boys

This is the most surprising fact on the list of interesting facts about education in England. The schools were not affordable for everyone during the Tudor reign. The rules were stringent, and children were often beaten with canes. To protect their children from such beatings, wealthy families would usually pay for a ‘whipping boy.’ The whipping boy received the punishment if the rich kid misbehaved.

4.Grammar Schools

Among interesting facts about education in England is that till this time, there was no provision for free education for the weaker sections. New grammar schools were established, and older ones were reorganized under the reign of Henry VI.

In Tudor England, grammar schools were reorganized. New grammar schools were also established for the children of poorer families.

This was a nationalized system of schools. The schools were built to provide education to children of the more impoverished families, however many poor children did not attend these schools. It was because they were mostly busy working to support their families and did not have enough time to attend these schools.

5.Education Boost in the Victorian Era 

Photo by – Alexander Bassano

Queen Victoria was of the firm belief that everyone should receive a proper education. During her reign, education was made compulsory for all children, irrespective of their financial background.

This era saw a sharp rise in the literacy rates of both men and women, which became almost equal. The literacy rate in 1870 was 76%, as compared to 1820, where it was just 52%.

6.The Balliol College; A Symbol of Penance 

Peter Trimming / Oxford – Balliol College

Balliol College was founded in 1263 by John de Balliol. He once got into a land dispute with the bishop of Durham. Following the dispute, he abducted the bishop. John de Balliol was publicly beaten for his crime and was then ordered to support a group of scholars residing in Oxford.

To atone for his sins, he laid the Foundation of this college. After his demise in 1268, his wife continued his work and went ahead to complete the establishment of this college.

7.The Sunday School Movement

Ansel Adams / Public domain

Young boys from the poorer sections of English society mostly spent their time working in factories and doing other jobs to support their families. They undertook an apprenticeship and couldn’t attend schools.

The movement started in the 1780s by Robert Raikes. Sunday schools provided the poorer sections an opportunity to study. Reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught in these schools, along with the bible.

William king established the first Sunday school in 1758.

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8.Religious Studies Only 

Some 200 years ago, Oxford University taught religion as it’s the only subject. Their curriculum was expanded to include other subjects later on.

This is one of the lesser-known interesting facts about education in England.

9.First Secular Institution 

stevecadman / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Till the 19th century, Christianity and education were closely knitted. Almost all of the formal educational institutions were regulated and sponsored by the church.

The first secular institution to be established in the 19th century England was the University College London. It accepted students of any religion. Later, King’s College London was also established with a secular nature. These institutions constituted the University of London.

Establishment of the lady Margaret Hall (Oxford) and other colleges like the Bedford college opened the door to a college education for women.

10.‘Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher.’ 

Rob Bogaerts / Anefo / CC0

In the early 1900s, milk was introduced into schools to supplement the diet of the children. However, this scheme was withdrawn by Margaret Thatcher for children over 7 years old in 1971. Thus, the tagline became popular during this period.

11.Reproduction and Education 

The weirdest fact among the interesting facts about education in England is this one. In Victorian England, many doctors believed that if women attained ‘too much’ education, it would hamper their ability to reproduce.

This is the reason many families did not want to send their daughters to colleges as they believed that no one would want to marry their daughters.

12.Pay Differences among Female and Male Teachers 

The pay differences between male and female teachers were high during the 1850s. The female teachers also couldn’t be married if they wanted to pursue the career. However, no such restriction was imposed on their male counterparts.

13.Tortoise Races 

Probably the most interesting fact about education in England is the tortoise race. Balliol College and its rival college, Trinity College, held an annual tortoise race. The colleges each had a pet tortoise. The tortoises were made to race against each other.

A circle with a diameter of 8 meters is made with the help of lettuce. The tortoises are placed in the middle, and the one who reaches the lettuce line first wins.

Things took a dramatic turn in 2004 when Balliol College won the competition. They made their champion into the city to celebrate the victory. However, in the commotion, they lost their tortoise.

They believed that their hero wasn’t lost but stolen by the trinity college. To retaliate, the students of Balliol College put washing liquid in the fountain of trinity college.

The Balliol College holds the record for the fastest tortoise, who completed the course in just 4 hours! The record was made in the dramatic tortoise race of 2004.

14.Types of School in England 

Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer / Public domain

Among interesting facts about education in England is that Since 1998, there were six most important styles of maintained (state-funded) college in England

1.Academy Faculties,

Set up with the aid of using the 1997-2010 Labour Government to update poorly-acting network faculties in regions of excessive social and financial deprivation. Their start-up expenses are typically funded with the assistance of using personal means, together with marketers or NGOs, with going for walks expenses met with the aid of using Central Government and, like Foundation faculties, are administratively unfastened from direct nearby authority control.

The 2010 Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition authorities improved the function of Academies withinside the Academy Programme, wherein a wide variety of faculties in non-disadvantaged regions have been additionally endorsed to end up Academies, thereby basically changing the function of Foundation faculties set up with the aid of using the other Labour authorities. They are monitored with the assistance of using the Department for Education.

2.Community Faculties,

Here, the nearby authority employs the faculties’ team of workers, owns the faculties’ lands and homes, and has the number one obligation for admissions.

3.Free Faculties,

This is delivered with the aid of using the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, which is newly set up faculties in England installation with the assistance of using parents, teachers, charities, or businesses, in which there may be a perceived nearby want for other faculties. They are funded with the aid of using taxpayers, are academically non-selective and unfastened to wait, and prefer Foundation faculties and Academies, aren’t managed with the assistance of using a nearby authority.

They are, in the long run, responsible to the Secretary of State for Education. Free faculties are an extension of the prevailing Academy Programme. The first 24 unfastened faculties opened in Autumn 2011.

4.Foundation Faculties

Here the governing body employs the team of workers and has the number one obligation for admissions. School land and homes are owned with the aid of using the governing frame or with the assistance of using a charitable basis. The Foundation appoints a minority of governors. Many of those faculties have been previously supplying maintained faculties. In 2005 the Labour authorities proposed permitting all faculties to end up Foundation faculties if they wished.

5.Voluntary Aided Faculties,

This is related to lots of organizations. They may be moral faculties approximately thirds Church of England-affiliated, directly beneath one 1/3 Roman Catholic Church, and some other religion), or non-denominational faculties, together with the ones related to London Livery Companies.

The charitable basis contributes closer to the capital expenses of the college (usually 10%) and appoints a majority of the college governors. The governing frame employs the team of workers and has the number one obligation for admissions.

6. Voluntary Controlled Faculties,

Voluntary controlled faculties can be nearly always religious faculties, with the lands and homes regularly owned with the aid of using a charitable basis. However, the nearby authority employs the faculties’ team of workers and has the number one obligation for admissions.

7.University Technical Colleges (UTCs),

Another important aspect of interesting facts about education in England is the UTCs.These were set up in 2010 with the aid of using the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. They are a kind of secondary college in England. These schools usually function with the assistance of a sponsor college and feature near ties to neighborhood commercial enterprises.

They are funded with the aid of using the taxpayer and are non-selective. They are also free to attend by anyone and not regulated by any local authorities. The college and enterprise companions aid the curriculum improvement of the UTC, offer expert improvement possibilities for teachers, and manual certified college students to commercial apprenticeships, basis stages, or complete stages.

The sponsoring college appoints the bulk of the UTC’s governors and critical contributors of staff. Pupils switch to a UTC at the age of 14, part-manner thru their secondary schooling. The exceptional detail of UTCs is they provide technically-orientated guides of study, combining National Curriculum necessities with technical and vocational elements.

UTCs have to specialize in topics that require technical and current equipment; however, additionally, they all educate commercial enterprise capabilities and the usage of facts and communications technology. UTCs also are imagined to provide clean routes into better schooling or besides mastering in work.

15.Oral Exams 

John Lord / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

The last fact on the list of interesting facts about education in England is the oral exams held in colleges. The exams were held in the divinity school, which was the first examination and teaching hall of Oxford. Initially, there were no written exams. The exams were held orally.

The exams were held over three days. If the locals wished, they could also join the examination and observe the students giving their exams. Half of the examination hall was kept for the visitors so that they could watch the proceedings.

Education is an essential part of one’s life. It is necessary for one’s growth, both mentally and materialistically. However, education isn’t something that only helps us in attaining a good job or becoming a wealthy person. It opens to us doors of knowledge; it helps us see the world in a different light.

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