Text for dictation:

 In Britain, school is compulsory between the ages of five and sixteen. Primary education continues until the age of eleven. Pupils wishing to enter university usually finish their secondary education when they are eighteen. Other types of further education are available for those who want to learn a trade such as catering or specialize at an early stage. In recent years, the proportion of young people entering university has risen dramatically. The variety of degree courses on offer has also widened. It is now common for students entering fields such as nursing to be based at university.

Educational terminology can be very confusing. For example, preparatory and public schools are fee-paying and both belong to the independent or private sector. Middle schools, which fall between primary and secondary education, are part of the state system, but do not exist in all parts of Britain. Most state secondary schools are "comprehensives" and are non-selective. However, in some towns, institutions known as grammar schools operate selectively. Children are tested at the age of eleven and the bright ones are creamed off. Many parents argue that grammar schools should be abolished to allow equality of opportunity for all children. Others insist that a fast track is needed for gifted pupils and that diversity means more freedom of choice.