United Kingdom

Education System

English Language Curriculum

Studying the English Language

England is where the English language (which is globally used as a universal language) originated from. Every year, students from all over the world travel to England to learn and improve on their English language.

As such, there are many language schools around the British Isles to meet the needs of students who want to learn the language. The courses offered are based on a useful and practical curriculum. For example, Basic English courses, Business English, Exam Preparation courses and English courses to prepare for university. There are also courses for young learners and short courses during school semesters.

Organization that Provides Quality Assurance and Educational Standards

With the increasing demand of students who want to learn English, the number of institutes offering English courses continues to grow. As such, to control the quality and teaching standards, many organizations and agencies take on the role to assess and certify the system of teaching and learning used by each institution. This helps to control the quality and teaching standards.

All institutions that CETA contact and work with must be accredited by the British Council and be a member of organizations such as English UK.

British Council

The British Council is an organization that promotes international cooperation in the field of education and the culture of the United Kingdom. Our mission is to develop the relationship between Thailand and the United Kingdom in terms of the English language arts and social studies examinations.

English UK

English UK is a governing standard and endorsement of the English language. Being an English UK member signals credibility of the institution. In order to be a member of English UK, the institution will first have to undergo extensive quality review and be evaluated again yearly.

English Course (Well-known and studied by foreign students)
  • Basic and Advanced English courses (General and Intensive English Course) are basic courses for learning English. The course is suitable for those who would like to improve their basic skills in all areas from listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Remedial English course to attend university (University Foundation Course) which helps students to adapt university studies. Besides helping to improve on the 4 basic skills, the course helps students develop the concept of analysis (Analysis / Critical Thinking), presentation skills and technical writing (note taking) in classrooms. All of these are essential skills throughout the student’s university studies.
  • Private Lessons (One-to-One Courses) is quite popular among students who would like to proactively improve their English language skills. The course is based on constant interaction between the teacher and the student.
  • To preparation for exams (Exam Preparation – Cambridge ESOL, IELTS and TOEFL). These courses are considered very critical, given that the points earned in the examinations are used as official indicators of the level of English skills for university and job applications. The final examination documents are used as part of the application paperwork by universities in many countries such as America, England, Australia and Thailand.
  • English for Business use (Business English) are courses that focus on communication skills for career advancement. The course would usually cover English language skill development for communicating on the telephone, to attend meetings, seminars and the development of critical thinking as well as trade negotiations. This type of course is ideal for those who wants to improve their English language for business use and everyday life.
  • English for Children and Youth (Young Learner) is a program for children between 8 to 17 years old who wants to travel abroad. The course tends to range in group size as well as duration as appropriate. The program supports and encourages children to become more expressive and share their ideas.

Secondary Education

United Kingdom’s Primary to Secondary Education System

Britain’s education system is divided into four levels as follows:

education system - secondary school UK

Primary School – (Year 1 – Year 6) Ages 5 – 11 years old
At this level, the children learn mainly language and mathematics. The study focuses on preparing students for the Common Entrance Examination (CEE) to continue to Secondary School.

Secondary School – (Year 7 – Year 11) Ages 11 – 16 years old
From Year 7 to Year 11, students will automatically move up each school year without having to pass examinations. By Year 11, students would have to take the GCSE examinations to assess skills and ability at the end of Secondary school education.

  • GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)

    The GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) qualifications certifies that students have successfully passed secondary school and entails a compulsory education at the end of Year 11. Students are encouraged to choose approximately 8 to 12 subjects. The subjects would be graded by 7 levels: A, B, C, D, E, F and G. A scoring of C and above is considered passing grades. In order to apply for further studies (pre-university level), the minimum requirement is passing grades for 5 GCSE subjects. Pre-university according to the British system require 2 more years of study for A-Levels or International Baccalaureate (IB).

Further Education – Vocational Education for 16 Years Old and Above

Students who have completed their compulsory subjects could move on to study the Sixth Form or any professional programs. However, for students who would like to enroll in higher education, they will be required to continue according to the educational system and choose between two courses: A-Level or International Baccalaureate (IB).

  • A-Level qualifications measure the academic ability of students between 16 to 18 years old. The A-Level program is a 2-years course (Year 12 and Year 13) whereby most students would be studying 3-4 science subjects or humanities. There are 6 grading levels as follows: A*, A, B, C, D and E. Students who wants to continue into university should aim to achieve grades A*, A and B.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum prepares students for admission to university and is a widely accepted curriculum in over 143 countries worldwide. The course is divided into 3 levels according the age group of the students as follows: Primary, Secondary and Diploma levels. Students between 16 to 19 years old would be enrolled into the Diploma level which is a 2-years course and requires students to complete 6 subjects: Language and Literature, Second Language, Individuals and Societies, Experimental Sciences, Mathematics and the Arts and Electives. There are also extra-curricular activities that student would have to complete in Extended Essay (writing articles that are at least 4,000 words), Theory of Knowledge (attendance of no less than 100 times and article writing of between 1,200 to 1,600 words) and an activity in the creative sports and social front (Creativity / Action / Service).


Higher Education – Ages 18 years old and above

After A-Level or the equivalent qualification, students will be able to study in higher education and could apply via UCAS  (www.ucas.com)

Types of Schools

Schools in the United Kingdom are divided into two main types: the British government schools and private schools. Foreign students could apply only for private schools.

The schools could be further categorized into Boarding Schools and Day Schools, whereby both types consist of girls-only, boys-only as well as coeducational schools.

School Year

Schools in the UK are divided into 3 semesters per academic year, beginning in September of every year.

  • Semester 1: (Autumn) Early September – Mid-December
  • Semester 2: (Spring) Early January – End of March
  • Semester 3: (Summer) Mid-April – Early July