The educational system in Great Britain is extremely complex.
Each school is responsible for its own organization and curriculum.
The Department of Education and Science is responsible for national educational policy, but it doesn’t run any schools, and it doesn’t employ teachers or prescribe curricula or text-books.
The schools are given a considerable amount of freedom. In accordance with the law, only one subject is compulsory — that of religious instruction. Schooling for children of 5 to 16 is compulsory.
Educational system usually comprised two stages — primary and secondary education. The majority of primary schools are mixed. In most counties these schools are subdivided into infant-schools (5—7 years old) and junior schools (7—10 years old). Children are encouraged to read, write and make use of numbers (3 RS) — reading, writing, arithmetic, and to develop their creative abilities.
The junior stage extends over 4 years. In junior school children have set periods of arithmetic, composition, history, reading, geography, and so on. At this stage of schooling pupils are often placed in А, В, C streams according to their abilities and attainment. The usual age of transfer from primary to secondary school is 11. Most junior school children had to try for the 11-plus examination. It usually consisted of an arithmetic paper, an intelligence test, and an English paper. But under the pressure of progressive parents, teachers, the 11-plus exam has now been abolished in most counties. Where such selections are practiced, children are sent to grammar, technical or secondary modern schools.
extremely complex — крайне сложный
curriculum — курс обучения, учебный план (программа)
curricula — мн.ч. от curriculum
compulsory — обязательный
to comprise — заключать в себе, охватывать
a county — графство (в Англии)
these schools are subdivided into infant schools and junior schools — эти школы подразделяются на школы для дошкольников и школы для младших школьников
attainment — достижение
to abolish — отменять, упразднять