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English schools are divided into Nursery up to 5yrs, Primary yrs 1-6 ages 5-11; Secondary years 7-11 ages 12-16, and Sixth form years 12-13,age 16-18. Public exams are taken at 16 yrs - the General Certificate of Secondary Education or GCSE, and at 18yrs, the Advanced Level or A Levels. Generally speaking 3 good A level passes are necessary to get into University, where you do another three or four years - or for medicine 7 years - to get your degree. About 30% of schoolkids do A levels and then go to University. Of course all Universities are not equal. Oxford and Cambridge will want at least 3 A star A levels and a good interview. And if Mummy and Daddy have money and you went to private school so much the better. Private schools, for which parents pay fees, like Eton or Rugby are called public schools - confusing isn't it. Whereas the University of Little Piddelton - which used to train Phys Ed teachers but had its name changed to University by the Blair govt in 1995 - will take anybody at all because kids have to pay £9k a year and they need/want the money.
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