Education Systems

The Eurydice network also produces national descriptions of education systems. They are compiled by national Eurydice units, each following a detailed common framework, and contain extensive information on all of the themes listed below. Chapters on reforms and policy developments are updated three times a year, whilst the remaining chapters are updated annually.

Each system description includes an ‘Overview’, which provides a brief outline of the education system, followed by fourteen chapters spanning all aspects of education provision. The chapters are as follows:

  • Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends provides the contextual background.
  • Organisation and Governance outlines how the education system is structured and governed including the role of central and local government and of institutional autonomy.
  • Funding in Education provides an overview of funding mechanisms for early childhood education and care, school, further, adult and higher education.
  • Early Childhood Education and Care outlines the organisation, structure and the main policy and general objectives for early childhood education and care.
  • Primary Education provides an overview of the organisation of primary education, teaching and learning, and assessment.
  • Secondary Education and Post-secondary Non-tertiary Education explains educational provision for young people aged 11 to 18/19 years, including vocational programmes and apprenticeships for those aged 16-18/19.
  • Higher Education provides an overview of the structure of the higher education system, including undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
  • Adult Education and Training mainly deals with the policies, programmes and qualifications targeted at adult learners over the age of 19 outside of higher education.
  • Teachers and Education Staff explains initial teacher training, conditions of service and continuing professional development for teachers and education staff in early childhood education and care, schools, further and adult education and higher education.
  • Management and Other Education Staff outlines the role of management and other education staff working in early childhood education and care, schools, further and adult education and higher education. This includes headteachers, school inspectors, educational psychologists and careers advisors.
  • Quality Assurance considers the approach to ensuring high standards in the education system through self-evaluation, inspection and the publication of performance data.
  • Educational Support and Guidance covers special educational needs provision in schools and educational support and guidance in all phases of education.
  • Mobility and Internationalisation covers policies which promote mobility and internationalisation in early childhood education, schools, further and adult education and higher education.
  • Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments provides a round-up of national policy developments relating to: education in the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’, the European Union’s 10-year strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; priorities in the ‘ET2020’ strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training to 2020; and other national educational priorities.

There is also a listing of legislation and official policy documents and a glossary.

The Eurydice at NFER team maintains the chapters for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Scottish description is maintained by the national Eurydice Unit for Scotland, which is based within the Scottish Government.