The educational system in the UK is twofold. The education system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is broadly similar, while in Scotland the system is different and has its own laws and traditions.
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In England and Wales, the state has long played a modest role in the education system. In 1833, the government began making annual contributions to voluntary organizations that organized schools. In 1870, a school law made it a public task to run primary schools, and England and Wales were divided into school districts with their own school boards. Both public and private schools were put under state inspection. Compulsory schooling up to 13 years was adopted and implemented in 1880. In 1890 school fees were lifted at public primary schools. By a law in 1902, public responsibility was extended to secondary schools. The School Act of 1918 (Fisher Act) raised school duty to 14 years.
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The School Act of 1944 (Education Act) laid the foundation for the school system that is in force today. The law stipulated that the public education system should be organized in three successive steps, the primary, the secondary and the higher education. The school duty was extended to between 5 and 15 years, from 1972 to 16 years. In the School Act of 2002 (Education Act), this structure was replaced by four basic stages (key stages).
The idea of public school for all arose earlier in Scotland than elsewhere in the United Kingdom. It dates back to 1560, and in 1696 Parliament decided that there should be a school of teachers in each parish. However, it took a long time for the claim to be implemented, and then as a result of the upheavals following the industrial revolution. The School Act of 1872 transferred responsibility for the school from religious to secular authorities, and a Scottish Ministry of Education was established. The School Act of 1945 corresponds to the English Act of 1944.
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The overall responsibility for education in the UK and Northern Ireland lies with the UK Government. However, education policy and education funding are currently controlled mainly by the regional education authorities: the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in England; Department of Education and Lifelong Learning in Wales; Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) in Scotland and the Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI) in Northern Ireland. Scotland and Northern Ireland also have their own education laws. Public schools are mainly funded through local education authorities (LEAs), but some public schools (grant maintained schools)is financed directly from the education ministries. All educational institutions in the UK and Northern Ireland have a high degree of self-government.
In 1988, a school reform was adopted in England and Wales, which for the first time introduced national curricula and national tests for different age groups. This law was passed in the School Act of 1996. An inspector system is to safeguard the quality of the school.
The first six school years consist of primary school with key stage I for 5-7 years and key stage II for 7-11 years. The secondary school consists mostly of comprehensive schools, which offer a wide range of upper secondary education, and where everyone comes in regardless of their professional qualifications. However, in some places there are still grammar schools, where students are admitted after prior tests.
In addition to public schools, there are a significant number of private schools at all levels, which make up over 7% of all pupils. They do not receive public support, but are subject to public inspection. The best-known private schools are the so-called public schools.
The university tradition was long dominated by Oxford and Cambridge from the 1100s and 1200s respectively, each consisting of autonomous colleges. With the industrialization in the 19th century, the university sector was otherwise built up, especially in the big cities. In the post-war period, there was an increased need for higher vocational education, which led to the establishment of so-called polytechnics for education of, among other things. technicians and teachers, but without research activity. These were granted university status in 1992.
Higher education in the UK and Northern Ireland is now offered by 90 universities and 60 other institutions (2006). In one position stands Open University, established in 1969, which offers distance education through formal education without formal admission requirements.
There are 14 universities in Scotland. The oldest are the University of St. Andrews (founded 1410), the University of Glasgow (1451) and the University of Aberdeen (1494). Northern Ireland has two universities, Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster, and Wales are all universities gathered in the University of Wales with ia departments in Cardiff and Glamorgan.
Following the May 2015 election victory, David Cameron promised that a referendum on UK membership of the EU would be conducted. He once and for all wanted to close the disagreement in his own party and bring the UKIP that had stormed forward in the parliamentary elections. Before that, Britain had to negotiate a better arrangement in place with the EU. In particular, the Conservatives wanted to reduce the EU’s influence on social legislation in the country and especially towards citizens of other EU countries. But the European Union put in its heels and would not grant concessions. The Union was already in deep political crisis because it had been unable to cope with the massive refugee crisis in 2015. When there was an EU-UK agreement in February 2016, there were not many concessions. Still, Cameron dismissed the referendum for holding in June. The British upper class and the EU launched an intensive campaign to convince British voters to vote yes. Still, 51.9% of them voted no. The result came as a shock to the EU, the British Conservatives and the British upper class. For the first time, an EU country had decided to opt out. The result was presented by bourgeois as a conflict between young and old, with the old people voting to leave the EU (Brexit) while the young people had voted against. However, it was a truth with modifications. Many young people had failed to vote, and the result rather reflected class distinction. The working class and the patrol proletariat had predominantly voted to leave the EU, while the upper middle classes and the bourgeoisie had predominantly voted to stay.
The Brexit result triggered both economic and political turmoil. The following day, the British pound fell 10% against US $ and 7% against €. UK shares fell 8%, triggering similar tumultuous equity declines across the world. David Cameron announced that he was resigning so that the Conservatives should elect a new president, triggering a power struggle in the party. The UKIP President also resigned. Even worse, however, was the riot in Labor.
Following the vote, Labor’s right wing saw an opportunity to rebel against the president, whom they accused of being responsible for Brexit. A few days later, right-wing party members began to step out of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. After 3 days, only 1/3 of the shadow cabinet was left. The chairman then had to suffer the loss of losing a vote of confidence in his parliamentary group, supported by only 40, while 172 voted against him. However, he still enjoyed great support in the trade union movement and in the party base. Basis had changed decisively in the previous 1½ years. In May 2015, the party had well over 200,000 members, while in July 2016 it reached approx. 500,000. Many had signed up in confidence that Labor was now on a new course. They predominantly supported Corbyn.
The split in Labor’s group emerged again in July when Parliament voted to renew the UK’s nuclear submarine program Trident. The renewal would cost $ 196 billion. £. Corbyn recommended a no, but received only the support of 47 other Labor MPs, while 147 of his colleagues supported the government in the massive war print.
In July, the Chilcot Commission published its Iraq War Inquiry on Britain’s War on Iraq in 2003-10. The official government report documented that:
- As alleged, Saddam Hussein did not pose an immediate threat to British interests
- Tony Blair had already promised 8 months before the war in a letter to George Bush that Britain stood by the United States “no matter what”
- intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was given credibility they did not have. The intelligence services had directly lied about the threat
- peaceful alternatives to war were not wanted
- The United Kingdom and the United States undermined UN Security Council authority
- the process of legal legitimization of war was deeply questionable
- the 2003 Iraq war was unnecessary
(The Iraq Inquiry), (Chilcot report: key points from the Iraq inquiry, Guardian 6/7 2016), (Five things you may have missed about the Chilcot inquiry, Guardian 26/7 2016)
The commission had been set up on the initiative of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and had for seven years questioned actors involved in the war decision. In the subsequent debate in the Lower House, Prime Minister Cameron refused to rule on whether the war had been right or wrong. The chief responsible for the 2003 war decision, Tony Blair, was a little more humble and acknowledged that the report had documented numerous errors in the process up to and during the war, but nevertheless stated that he had acted in what he perceived to be Britain’s interest. Deputy Prime Minister in 2003, John Prescott, admitted that the war had been illegal. The report sparked new conflicts internally in Labor, whose right wing had stood behind Blair in 2003 and voted for war. Jeremy Corbyn was one of those who voted against. He apologized to the Iraqi and British people:
I, on behalf of my party, give my deepest apologies for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003… which he called: military aggression on a false basis, which: for many years has been considered illegal by a predominantly part of the international opposition. Corbyn apologized to the Iraqi people, to the families of British soldiers who died in Iraq or returned wounded and to: the millions of Britons who feel our democracy was betrayed and undermined by the way war decisions were made.
The report stopped its argument immediately before Tony Blair was characterized as a war criminal. Parliament was to discuss later in July whether Blair had led Parliament to the light and what precautions should be taken against him.
Both Norway and Britain had now shown political will to uncover the circumstances surrounding the war to learn from it. That will was not present in Denmark, where the right wing of all power sought to suppress the truth of the war.
The power struggle in the Conservatives ended in July when Theresa May was elected new president and immediately thereafter assumed the post of Prime Minister. Despite strong powers in the bourgeoisie that wanted to ignore the Brexit result or demand a new referendum, May declared that she would respect the result of the vote.
The authorities’ permanent undermining of freedom of speech was again emphasized in August, when Imam Anjem Choudary was found guilty of giving support to IS. There was a clear parallel to Denmark, where the authorities in the spring convicted the bookseller from Brønshøj for granting support to IS. In other words, freedom of expression applies only to statements sanctioned by the state – as in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
In June, Labor MP Helen Joanne (Jo) Cox was assassinated by a British Nazi. The assassination took place just a week before the UK referendum on staying or leaving the EU. The murder resulted, the campaign de-facto ceased a few days and then assumed a more subdued tone. No sitting MPs have been murdered since the IRA’s murder of a politician in 1990. The murder was a consequence of the increasingly hateful political debate, not only in Britain but across Europe, and the increasingly violent right wing of the continent. Cox’s killer, Thomas Mair, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder in November.
In September, the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee reported on the country’s war on Libyain 2011. The report was devastating criticism of the decisions of the government and especially Prime Minister David Cameron, which contributed to the total collapse of the country that characterizes it today. The reports stated: «We have seen no evidence that the UK government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. It may be that the UK government was unable to analyze the nature of the rebellion in Libya due to incomplete intelligence and insufficient institutional insight, and that it was caught up in events as they developed…. It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the evidence ». The report thus had the same critical sting against the country’s naïve war policy as the Chilcot Commission’s June report addressing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Denmark participated in the front line of the war against Libya, but here there is no tradition of self-critical analysis of past mistakes.
In October, the Special Court of Investigatory Powers Tribunal issued an order regarding the criminal activities of intelligence agencies. The court was the only one to deal with complaints against MI6, MI5 and GCHQ. It found in its ruling that, for 17 years, the British intelligence agencies had illegally collected huge amounts of data on the country’s citizens without supervision by the state power. The government did not respond by bringing the criminal intelligence chiefs to justice, but instead legalized the mass surveillance with the Investigatory Powers Act, passed in November. The law gives the various intelligence agencies free access to mass surveillance of the nation’s citizens – even if no suspicion exists. They can hack into any citizen’s computer, mobile phone or other digital device without a court order, record the data that may be on the device and, optionally, install a trojan for continuous transfer of data from the citizen’s device to the intelligence services. All unattended by state power. It also applied to the monitoring of journalists, prompting both the International Journalists Association and the OSCE to warn that the law was also an attack on the press and its opportunity to do in-depth journalism. In Moscow, Edward Snowden tweeted: «Britain has just adopted the most extreme mass surveillance in Western democracy. It goes further than in many dictatorship states ». After being at the forefront of mass surveillance of its citizens for 14 years, Denmark was overtaken. It immediately prompted Justice Minister Søren Pind to propose legislation, that the Danish PET and FE should also be able to mass-monitor without supervision, and that the order on the obsolescence and destruction of archives should be abolished.