Public School means Private School in the UK?

sparkling   Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:03 am GMT
I heard a "Public School" means a fee-charging "Private School" in the UK. Then how do they say a REAL "Public School" in the UK, a publicly administered school with a free or little tutiton?
Guest   Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:23 am GMT
They call it a comprehensive school.
Guest   Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:35 am GMT
Also, I believe the high school roughly equates to secondary school over here, but I'm not sure.
Guest   Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:51 pm GMT
Basically, the word "public" is very misleading in this context, as "public schools", in the British system, are anything but public - they are private in the sense that they are subject to fee paying by the parents, very often quite expensively.

Some of them are very famous and were the places of learning for many of the UK's political figures over the years, since the 14th/15th centuries onwards: Eton, Harrow, Charterhouse, Rugby, Marlborough, etc, to name just a few in England.

Here in Scotland we have our own, but known here as Independent schools (or colleges) - again fee paying, again quite exclusive, so therefore "public" without being public. Eg: Fettes College (here in Edinburgh) where, in real life, ex Prime Minister Tony Blair was educated, as was, in fiction, Ian Fleming's James Bond. Also Loretto Scoool (at Musselburgh, just east of Edinburgh) - famous for it's pipe band.

Up in Morayshire, in NE Scotland, there is Gordonstoun, an expensive Independent school for boys following a wee bit of a harsh routine in the hope of turning out rugged and tough individuals as well as academic geniuses! When I tell you that Charles, Prince of Wales, was a pupil at Gordonstoun I will leave you to judge for yourself the effectiveness of its policy and hard regime.

Private schools also cover preparatory schools (for the youngest bairns prior to entering the secondary stage of education) ) - privately funded.

The education system of Scotland differs from that of England and Wales. I've mentioned the private sector (the public/independent schools, privately funded). The public sector (ie not private - confused? You will be.....) is publicly funded - ie it's under the control of the State, and therefore the taxpayers.

The State system includes primary schools, prior to comprehensive schools and high schools (so named, although part of the State system).

In a nutshell, education is compulsory up to the age of 16 all over the UK, publicly funded.

Thereafter, in England and Wales, university education is not actually free - it is either paid for outright (by the parents, for the most part, naturally enough), or funded on a local authority grant system (ie via the taxpayers) and later, with a bit of luck and a favourable wind from the west or just a hope on a wing and a prayer, it is repaid, either in full, or more likely bit by bit, once the ex student is in full time employment and earning a salary in excess of a certain agreed figure.

Here in Scotland university education is entirely free, so the hassles of England and Wales don't apply. Although I am Scottish I went to an English university for specific reasons, and crazy as it sounds, I am still paying off the accrued costs! But there you go.....absolutely no regrets.....Leeds was fantastic and highly recommended all round.

In Scotland, education is compulsory from age 5 to 16. After 7 years of primary education pupils are transferred to secondary education, usually around the age of 12 years. Many pupils continue their education past compulsory schooling to further and higher education levels, however some pupils leave school at 16 years and undertake employment.

The 5 to 14 curriculum takes pupils through primary education and two years of secondary. As there is no statutory curriculum in Scotland, local authorities and headteachers have responsibility for the delivery and management of the curriculum, however guidelines are provided.

The Scottish Department for Education regulate the curriculum in primary schools under the 5 to 14 curriculum. There are no entry restrictions to secondary education in Scotland. Lower secondary education is divided into three stages. The first two years (S1 and S2) provide general education; third and fourth years (S3 and S4) are based on specialist and vocational education for all.

Pupils aged 14 to 16 years take Standard Grade courses. Standard Grade courses are part of a national program where assessments are regulated and marked by the SQU (Scottish Qualifications Authority).

These courses are offered at three levels and take two years to complete. The levels offered are credit; general and foundation, different levels are taken according to pupil ability. Options for Standard Grade courses are chosen at the end of the second year of secondary education. Standard grades are attained from continuous assessment within the school and by external examination.

Further education in Scotland is available through Higher and Advanced Higher education courses taken in fifth (S5) and sixth (S6) years. This is not compulsory. There are five levels to Higher and Advanced Higher education; these are access, intermediate 1, intermediate 2, higher and advanced higher. These are assessed internally and by external assessment from the SQA I mentioned above.

I'm not sure of the exact system operable in England (and Wales - always linked to England in most things, although since it was granted its own Assembly in Cardiff it is gradually developing it's own systems independent from England). I know that all medical prescriptions, for every citizen of Wales, regardless of personal circumstances, are issued free, whereas here in Scotland, and in England, they are free only to people over 60 and those in certain groups, such as the disabled, pregnant women and several other excluded groups.

Here in Scotland all residential care for people over retirement age is entirely free at the point of issue, unlike in England where it depends on the individual's income and assets. Down there, if it all totals below a certain level of money then, and only then, is it free.
Damian in Edinburgh   Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:56 pm GMT
The last Guest was actually me. I haven't done that for a long time.....I shouldn't have had that extra pint down the I'm off with a mate to an assignation in St Andrews....the place, and not the university - the one which Prince William went to in case anyone is interested. There is plenty of life in St Andews outside of Academia!
Adam   Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:13 pm GMT
Get this...........

Students at Scottish universities don't have to pay any tuition fees. This is because members of the Scottish "Parliament" voted against it. English politicians had no say in this matter.

However, students at English universities must pay tuition fees. This is thanks to the fact that politicians in the British parliament (England, unfairly, has no parliament of its own) voted FOR tuition fees in English universities. Most English politicians voted AGAINST tuition fees in English universities, whereas most Scottish politicians voted FOR tuition fees in English universities. Their votes were enough to have tuition fees in English unis, and this despite the fact that English politicians had no say on the matter in Scotland.

Do you think that's fair?
Guest   Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:28 pm GMT
If they don't pay fees where does the money come from and who decides which individuals get to benefit from "free" education?
Amabo   Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:21 pm GMT
"When I tell you that Charles, Prince of Wales, was a pupil at Gordonstoun I will leave you to judge for yourself the effectiveness of its policy and hard regime."

Presumably we should also ignore the fact that he was a fully qualified Royal Navy tactical helicopter pilot (supporting the Royal Marines), that he completed the RM commando "green beret" course and that he was also a trained parachutist?
indiced   Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:48 am GMT
Adam, your point of view is pretty interesting.
My friend, who lives and works in Edinburgh, will start studies at the Uni' this year, and she took some Students loan...I think, even if 'studying is free of costs' like in Scotland or Poland, those students bear some other costs related to studying...
George   Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:15 pm GMT
Public schools in England have that name as they were the first kind of schooling that was in principal open to everyone, although they did charge fees, so this was not the case in practice. This was before general free state education was introduced, the 1870 Education Act being a major step in this process. This act introduced fairly good provision for elementary level education, where fees were still charged, but waived for the poor. You may notice that many old primary schools (or buildings that were once primary schools) are dated from around that time.

Today the name sounds a little strange to foreigners, but there you are.

A comprehensive school is one where all levels of students are taught together, as opposed to grammar and secondary-modern schools, which take students of better and lower abilities, respectively. (Actually there were three levels, but anyway...) This streaming would be decided by the 'eleven plus' exam. I believe this sort of streaming still occurs in Germany, but I'm not sure.

The more general term for a school funded by the state is a state school, but saying primary or secondary school is more common, as most schools are funded by the state. As a note to Americans, school does not commonly mean university in Britain, so a state school is not a university.
Guest   Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:29 pm GMT
<< Also, I believe the high school roughly equates to secondary school over here, but I'm not sure. >>

Where is here? New Zealand? Australia? Some other place?
Pub Lunch   Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:40 am GMT
Further to earlier answers - Public schools in England are fee paying but are deemed 'public' because as long as one pays then, regardless of religion or where you live, you can attend - makes sense actually because this means the school really is open to the public.

What Americans would call a public school we call a 'comprehensive'. This type of school lets in pupils who meet a geographical criteria - basically if you live within the schools required catchment area. So quite clearly a comprehensive is not accesible to the entire public but to a specified section of that public.

I'll say this though - if you go up to an ordinary bloke on the street in England and ask them what a public school is, the answer would almost certainly be what we call a comprehensive.

Oddly enough, it really isn't common knowledge amongst the English what the correct English term for a public school is.
Pub Lunch   Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:48 am GMT
Oh, also we do have High Schools here in England - we invented the term!! As well as being called High schools they can also be called "secondary" or "senior" schools.
George   Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:22 am GMT
Pub Lunch, a comprehensive school is just one type of secondary school, and can be compared with grammar and secondary-modern schools, as I said. Not all state secondary schools are comprehensive schools.

The meaning of public school is very much understood in England. It is possible to also say private school with the same meaning, but this is rare. Have you ever heard anyone speak of a 'private school boy'?
Pub Lunch   Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:04 pm GMT
George - mate my understanding of a comprehensive is one that doesn't select pupils by ability but is open to all children, regardless of academic ability, within a set catchment area. A grammar school DOES select on academic ability so I can't see where the lines are blurred??

<<The meaning of public school is very much understood in England. It is possible to also say private school with the same meaning, but this is rare. Have you ever heard anyone speak of a 'private school boy'>>

I can only go by my own experiances and at 29 and living in Essex and I have to say, sadly, that NO-ONE I know realises the English meaning of Public school (until I try to explain it - not that it ever comes up!!!).

As a test, I just asked 8 work colleagues this very question and all believed that the school they had attended was a public one - they had all gone to comprehensives or secondary schools or whatever the term it is you'd like to use mate.