American here. I have a bunch of questions for the Brits and Aussies - sorry if it gets a little overwhelming!
What on earth is treacle? Is it edible? What about Spotted D.ick? (yes, that makes me giggle... )
In British/Australian literature, public schools seem to be pretty exclusive and hard to get into. This confuses me because in the US, public schools are funded by the government and anyone can attend, no entrance exam required (hence the name public). How is the educational system set up there?
Oh, and I'm totally addicted to the Shopaholic series of books, and if I ever get over to London, I'm definitely going shopping. Is Topshop as awesome as it sounds?
Treacle is lovely sticky toffee-related stuff. Spotted d1ck is a sponge pudding with dried fruit (raisins and currants I think) in it.
British education system at a glance:State Schools
- completely state funded, free to attend, and you generally go to the one nearest your house, though if you are in the "catchement area" of more than one you may get a choice, or if a sibling goes to the school or whatever. Generally high quality, but, typically, we complain about them anyway
. A lot of religious schools come under the state umbrella too - they're funded slightly differently but still free to attend.Private Schools
- Parents pay fees and there's normally some sort of selection process of interviews, entrance exams, etc. There used to be Government Assisted Places where bright kids' school fees were paid by the government so they could attend private schools. Private schools are often, but not always by any means, nominally Christian.Public Schools
- are the top private schools. Eton, Harrow, etc. Places aristocracy send their children to be educated. Mostly boarding schools, and the contacts the kids make here will set them up for life. Fees are more than most people's entire yearly income, and there are lots of traditions to be adhered to, and generally a specific tie to be worn for life to everyone in the know recognises you as an "Etonian" or whatever.Home education
- is legal in the UK (though not in some European countries like Germany, I don't think) and growing, though there have been some government attacks on it under the last government.