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Encyclopedia > Education in Northern Ireland

Education in Northern Ireland differs slightly from the system used elsewhere in the United Kingdom. The Northern Irish system emphasises a greater depth of education compared to the English and Welsh systems. The majority of examinations sat, and education plans followed, in Northern Irish schools are set by the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) is an examination board in Northern Ireland. ...


In general, the cut-off point for ages is the end of August, so all children must be of a particular age on the 1st of September in order to begin class that month.


School holidays in Northern Ireland are also considerably different to the rest of the United Kingdom. Northern Irish schools generally only get 1 day off for the half term holiday (in February, May and October). Christmas holidays usually only consist of a week or so, the same with the Easter vacation, compared to Englands two weeks. The major difference however is that Northern Irish summer holidays are considerably longer with the entirety of July and August off giving a nine week summer holiday.


Although religious integration is increasing, Northern Ireland has a highly segregated education system, with 95% of pupils attending either a maintained (Catholic) school or a controlled school (mostly Protestant). Teaching a balanced view of some subjects (especially history) is difficult in these conditions. The Integrated Education movement in Northern Ireland is an attempt to bring together children, parents and teachers from both Catholic and Protestant traditions, the aim being to give pupils an education allowing the opportunity to understand and respect all cultural and religious backgrounds. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ...


All schools in Northern Ireland follow the Northern Ireland Curriculum which is based on the National Curriculum used on England and Wales. At age 11 on entering secondary education all pupils study a broad base of subjects which include Geography, English, Maths, Science, PE, Music and a Modern Foreign Language. Currently there are proposals to reform the curriculum to make its emphasis more skills based and in addition to those mention, Home Economics, Local and Global Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education will become comnpulsory subjects.


At age 14 pupils select which subjects to continue to study for GCSE examinations. Currently its is compulsory to study English, Maths, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and Religious Studies. In addition many pupils elect to continue with other subjects and many study for 8 or 9 GCSE's but possibly up to 11 or 12. GCSE's mark the end of compulsory education in Northern Ireland.


At age 16 some pupils stay at school and chose to study AS and A2 level subjects or more vocational qualifications such as AVCE's. Those chosing AS and A2 levels mormally pick 3 or 4 subjects and success in these can determine acceptance into higher education courses at university.


School years

  • Primary Education
    • Primary School

Key Stage 1

      • Primary 1, age 4 to 5
      • Primary 2, age 5 to 6
      • Primary 3, age 6 to 7

Key Stage 2

      • Primary 4, age 7 to 8
      • Primary 5, age 8 to 9
      • Primary 6, age 9 to 10
      • Primary 7, age 10 to 11 (Eleven plus exams to determine secondary school placement.)
  • Secondary Education
    • High School or Grammar School

Key Stage 3 The Eleven Plus is an examination given to students aged 11 since about 1944 in some parts of the United Kingdom to select whether they go to a grammar school or to a secondary modern. ...

      • First Form, age 11 to 12
      • Second Form, age 12 to 13
      • Third Form, age 13 to 14

Key Stage 4

      • Fourth Form, age 14 to 15
      • Fifth Form, age 15 to 16 (old O Level examinations, modern GCSE examinations)
    • High School, Grammar School, or Sixth Form College
      • Lower Sixth, age 16 to 17 (AS-level examinations, where applicable)
      • Upper Sixth, age 17 to 18 (A-levels)

The General Certificate of Education or GCE was introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1951, replacing the older SC and HSC. It was intended to cater for the increased range of subjects available to pupils since the raising of the school leaving age from 14 to 15 in... For other meanings of GCSE, see GCSE (disambiguation). ... A sixth form college is an educational institution in England, Wales or Northern Ireland where students aged 16 to 18 complete post-compulsary further education qualifications, such as A Levels. ... An A-level, short for Advanced Level, is a General Certificate of Education usually taken during Further Education and after GCSEs. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Education in Northern Ireland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (567 words)
School holidays in Northern Ireland are also considerably different to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Although religious integration is increasing, Northern Ireland has a highly segregated education system, with 95% of pupils attending either a maintained (Catholic) school or a controlled school (mostly Protestant).
Northern Ireland remains the largest area in the UK which still operates grammar schools.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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