A type of secondary school in the UK, for children aged from 11/12 to 16/18. Comprehensives are public and non-fee-paying, and many of them were formed from secondary modern schools after the phasing out of the 11-plus exam in the early 80s, which sent children to different schools depending on ability.
Comprehensive schools have something of a bad reputation as they are often very large, and there has been much debate over whether lumping all children together, regardless of ability, is a good idea. However, most of them are internally streamed according to ability, and some have excellent teaching records.

Com`pre*hen"sive (?), a. [Cf. F. compr'ehensif.]


Including much; comprising many things; having a wide scope or a full view.

A very comprehensive definition. Bentley.

Large and comprehensive idea. Channing.


Having the power to comprehend or understand many things.

"His comprehensive head."


3. Zool.

Possessing peculiarities that are characteristic of several diverse groups.

The term is applied chiefly to early fossil groups which have a combination of structures that appear in more fully developed or specialized forms in later groups. Synthetic, as used by Agssiz, is nearly synonymous.

Syn. -- Extensive; wide; large; full; compendious.


© Webster 1913.

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