Education in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with each country having a separate education system.
Education in England is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education, though the day-to-day administration and funding of state schools is the responsibility of local authorities. Universally free of charge state education was introduced piecemeal between 1870 and 1944, with education becoming compulsory for all 5 to 14 year-olds in 1921. Education is now mandatory from ages five to sixteen (15 if born in late July or August). The majority of children are educated in state-sector schools, only a small proportion of which select on the grounds of academic ability. State schools which are allowed to select pupils according to intelligence and academic ability can achieve comparable results to the most selective private schools: out of the top ten performing schools in terms of GCSE results in 2006 two were state-run grammar schools. Despite a fall in actual numbers the proportion of children in England attending private schools has risen to over 7%. Over half of students at the leading universities of Cambridge and Oxford had attended state schools. The universities of England include some of the top universities in the world; the University of Cambridge, University College London, the University of Oxford and Imperial College London are all ranked in the global top 10 in the 2010 QS World University Rankings, with Cambridge ranked first. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) rated pupils in England 7th in the world for maths and 6th for science. The results put England's pupils ahead of other European countries, including Germany and the Scandinavian countries.
Education in Scotland is the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, with day-to-day administration and funding of state schools the responsibility of Local Authorities. Two non-departmental public bodies have key