Education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education, though the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities. Universally free of charge state education was introduced piecemeal between 1870 and 1944, with education becoming compulsory for all 5 to 14 year-olds in 1921. Education is now mandatory from ages five to sixteen (15 if born in late July or August).
Education in Britain is compulsory and free for all children between the ages of 5-16. About 93 percent of all children are educated in state schools and the rest attend private schools.
Schoolchildren attend a primary school for 6 years (5 to 11 years). When students transfer to Secondary School at the age of 11, they do not take any examination, but their reports are sent on from the Primary School.
Most children – over 80 percent – go to a comprehensive school. “Comprehensive” means all-inclusive. They admit pupils of all abilities. Pupils in all state in schools in England and Wales study 10 main subjects, among them: English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Art, Music, Physical Education, Information Technology. Religious education is also taught. Attainment tests are given at the ages of 7, 11 and 14. At the age of 16 students sit the exams in as many subjects as possible.
Weak students may only sit for three or four subjects. Better students take ten subjects. At the age of 16 about two thirds of these pupils leave school and get jobs. About one-third stay on at school until the age of 18, preparing themselves for higher education.
More ambitious pupils continue to study in the 6th form. They stay on at school for one or two years to prepare themselves for university. They have only three or four main subjects, which are necessary to pass the advanced level exams at the age of 18. The school year is divided into three terms with the intervals between them during Christmas and Easter holidays lasting about two weeks each and summer holiday which is usually six weeks long. All kinds of out-of-class activities are part of school life in Britain. Most schools have very good libraries which students use for reference work.
Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. In Britain traditions play more important part in the life of the people than in some other countries. The culture of England refers to the idiosyncratic cultural norms of England and the English people. Because of England's dominant position within the United Kingdom in terms of population, English culture is often difficult to differentiate from the culture of the United Kingdom as a whole. However, there are some cultural practices that are associated specifically with England.
English art was dominated by imported artists throughout much of the Renaissance, but in the 18th century a native tradition became much admired. It is often considered to be typified by landscape painting, such as the work of JMW Turner and John Constable.
English folklore is the folk tradition that has evolved in England over the centuries. England abounds with folklore, in all forms, from such obvious manifestations as semi-historical Robin Hood tales, to contemporary urban myths and facets of crypto zoology such as the Beast of Bodmin Moor.
Examples of surviving English folk traditions include the Morris dance and related practices such as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance and the Mummers Plays. In many, usually rural places, people still gather for May Day festivals on the first of May to celebrate the beginning of summer. This traditionally involves local children skipping around a maypole - a large pole erected on the village green (historically a tree would have been specially cut down) - each carrying a coloured ribbon, resulting in a multi-coloured plaited pattern. The festival traditionally features Morris dancing and various festivities, culminating in the crowning of a 'May Queen'. The utopian vision of a traditional England is sometimes referred to as Merry England.
English literature begins with Anglo-Saxon literature, which was written in Old English. Due to the expansion of English into a world language during the British Empire , literature is now written in English across the world.
England has a long and rich musical history. English music has been an instrumental and leading part of this phenomenon, which peaked at the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s.
There are only six public holidays a year in Great Britain that is days on which people need not go in to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday.