Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies Country Pages


Content Type:

Country overview



Related Content


DOI: 10.5040/9781350995963.0001

  • Publisher:
    Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Identifier:
Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies Country
Collapse All Sections

Country overview

England is the largest political entity in the United Kingdom. The Department for Education (DfE) is the department of Her Majesty’s Government responsible for education, apprenticeships, and wider skills in England. Other countries of the UK have their own separate systems of education. Local government authorities are responsible for the implementation of policy of the state-funded schools in England at a local level.

Schools funded by the state in England consist of comprehensive schools and selective grammar schools. Within the category of comprehensive schools, there are free schools (including most religious schools) and academies. Approximately 8 percent of the school-age population in England attend private, fee-paying schools. All schools are inspected and assessed by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

England’s state primary and secondary education are divided into stages according to age:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage: 3–5

  • Key Stage 1: Primary. 5–7

  • Key Stage 2: Primary. 7–11

  • Key Stage 3: Secondary. 11–14

  • Key Stage 4: Secondary. 14–16

  • Key Stage 5: Post-16 Education. 16–18.

Schooling itself is compulsory until age 16, but education is compulsory until age 18. Post-16 education takes the form of either academic schooling (sixth form or college) or vocational qualifications.

The first stage of higher education is generally a three-year bachelor degree that can be followed by a taught or research-based postgraduate degree. Doctoral level research degrees generally take a minimum of three years. Tuition fees for undergraduate degrees are £9,250 per year (from 2017).

Since 2010, the government department responsible for higher education has been the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and financial allocations for universities and colleges come out of its budget. Core research grants to individual universities are allocated on the basis of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which classifies university departments by the perceived quality of their past and potential research.

Read more about education and childhood in England

Statistical information [1]

GDP (current US$)

School enrollment, primary (% gross)

Life expectancy at birth, total (years)

Population, total

Full country profile

Regional Editor

Janice Wearmouth, Professor of Education, University of Bedfordshire, England

Janice Wearmouth is Professor of Education at the University of Bedfordshire in England, with wide experience of research and publication in the field. Her current roles include responsibility for all research students in Education at the university, course leadership of the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination in the masters programme, and two distance-learning postgraduate certificates in Education. Prior to joining the University of Bedfordshire, Janice Wearmouth was the Director of the Centre for Curriculum and Teaching Studies at the Open University, then Professor of Education at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She also has had many years’ experience of teaching in mainstream schools, first on voluntary service in Cameroon and, later, in Bermuda, London, Northamptonshire, and Bedfordshire.


  • Elaine Barron (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Julie Beams (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Jim Clack (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Abigail Gosling (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Neil Hopkins (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Kate Hudson-Glynn (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Karen Lindley (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Uvanney Maylor (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Malini Mistry (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Andrea Raiker (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • James Shea (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Michelle Sogga (University of Bedfordshire, England)

  • Janice Wearmouth (University of Bedfordshire, England)

[1] World Bank data is representative of the UK as a whole.