Great Britain is an island. There are 3 countries in Britain –
The statutory school age in England and Wales is from 5 years to 16 years.
There are schools run by the Government. These schools are known as State Schools and parents do not pay. They are financed by public funds, which means that the money comes from the national and local taxes. Ninety percent of children in England and Wales attend a state school.
There are also private schools. Parents pay for their children to attend these schools. They are known as Independent Schools
Primary schools (5 – 11 year olds)
In the UK, the first level of education is known as primary education.
Secondary schools (11 – 16 year olds)
Secondary schools provide compulsory education for children between the ages of eleven and sixteen in England and Wales. Children may stay on at school until the age of eighteen in order to pursue further studies, however this is not compulsory.
From the ages of fourteen to sixteen, pupils study for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).
Pupils who stay on at school from the ages of sixteen to eighteen in England, may take the Advanced (A) level examination, which traditionally is required for entry into higher education.
Most school in England require children to wear a school uniform.
Long grey or black trousers (shorts may be worn in the Summer)
School tie (optional in most primary schools)
Jumper or sweater with the school logo on. The colour is the choice of the schools.
Girls may wear skirts
During the summer term girls often wear summer school dresses.
The School starts at 8:55 with registration. At 9:10 students go to assembly. The first lesson begins at 9:20. Break time is from 10:20 until 10:35. During break time, the children have a snack and play games outdoors. Afterwards, they go back in for another lesson until lunch at 12:00. Afternoon lessons begin at 1:10 and end at 3:15, when the children go home. The students do not have a break in the afternoon. The children attend school from Monday to Friday, from 08:55 – 15:15.
Students have a two-week break (holiday) at Christmas and at Easter. They have a six-week break during Summer (July/August). They also have a break at mid-term which usually lasts for about a week.
Sport in Britain
Sports play an important part in the life in Britain and is a popular leisure activity. Sports and physical recreation have always been popular. Local governments provide cheap sport and leisure facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, parks and golf courses. People go to watch other people play sports like football or take part in sports themselves.
Many of the world’s famous sports began in Britain, including cricket, football, lawn tennis, golf and rugby
England’s national sport is cricket although to many people football (soccer) is seen as their national sport. Football is Britain’s most popular sport. Some of England’s football teams are world-famous, the most famous being Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Weekends in Britain
The weekends are a time for families in Britain. Often the parents are not at work having worked a five-day week from Monday to Friday. Saturdays are a busy time for shops with many families going shopping.
Sundays used to be a very special day of the week in Britain. It was the one day of the week for ‘worship and rest’. The shops were closed and most people were at home or at church. Popular leisure activities on Sunday used to be going to church and doing odd jobs around the home such as gardening and DIY.
Until a few years ago shops were not permitted to open on a Sunday. Sundays today are becoming like any other day other week with shops open. Some families will now spend their time shopping rather than going to church or they will combine the two activities.
Britain is becoming a far less Christian country with fewer people regularly attending Church. Many Christian’s believe that Sunday should be kept special, as a time given to worshipping God. They think it is important for Christians to meet together, listen to readings from the Bible and celebrate Holy Communion. Others believe that it is important that families have time to be together.
People enjoy various indoor and outdoor activities in Britain.
An Euro stat survey, the EU’s statistical office, discovered that people in Britain spend about 45% of their free time watching television, 24% of their free time socializing, 22-23% on sport and hobbies, and 10% on other activities. Other popular leisure activities are listening to the radio, listening to pre-recorded music, reading, DIY, gardening, eating out and going to the cinema.
The most common leisure activity in the UK is watching television. The average viewing time is 25 hours per person per week. Almost all households have at least one television set. Many television programmes are about wildlife, animals, holidays, cooking and gardening. All these things are much cherished by British people.
In 2005/06, 88 per cent of UK households had a CD player and 79 per cent a mobile phone. In April to June 2006, 26 per cent of people aged 15 and over owned an MP3 player.
In January to April 2006, 56 per cent of households in Great Britain had a desktop computer, 30 per cent had a portable or laptop computer, and 7 per cent had a handheld computer.
The second most popular activity in Britain is visiting or entertaining friends or relations.
Cinema (Movie house)
Britons made 123 million visits to the cinema in 1998 making it the most popular cultural activity in the UK.
Homes and Gardens
The British are known as a nation of gardeners. Most people have a garden on their property. Gardening has been a popular pastime since Roman times. Many people in Britain are proud of their houses and gardens. They want their houses and gardens to look nice. Every town in Britain has one or more DIY (Do it Yourself) centres and garden centres. These are like supermarkets for the home and garden. These places are very popular with British home-owners at the weekends.
Pubs (Public Houses)
Going to the pub is the most popular leisure activity outside the home.
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