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Types Of School

Most schools are either ‘state-funded’ or ‘independent’ (fee-paying) schools. State-funded schools must all follow the National Curriculum. There are different types of state-funded schools.

Community schools are run by the local authority and are closely linked to the community in which they are based through offering childcare and/or adult learning classes. The local authority is responsible for admitting pupils.

Foundation schools are managed by a governing body (or board of governors) that employs staff and sets the admissions criteria.

Voluntary-aided schools are usually funded by the local authority but not owned by it. The governing body sets the admissions criteria.

Voluntary-controlled schools are run by the local authority, which sets admissions criteria and handles admissions.

Specialist schools focus on specific subject areas like arts, sports or technology while still offering a broad education in line with the National Curriculum.

State Faith schools may be Church of England, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Greek Orthodox or Seventh-Day Adventist. They have to teach the National Curriculum. Some faith schools teach their own faith but others teach a locally agreed syllabus that might include a number of faiths. Admissions criteria include a belief element but some schools also reserve places for those of other faiths and no faith.

Academies are schools that are set up using sponsorship from business, faith or voluntary groups working in partnership with the government. They are ‘publicly funded independent’ schools. They take children of all abilities but can select up to 10% of students a year on the basis of their ability in certain specialist areas. Academies are not bound by the National Curriculum.

Independent schools set their own admissions criteria and are not obliged to follow the National Curriculum. They are registered with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and monitored by OFSTED. They are funded by the fees that parents pay as well as income from investments. Some independent schools make scholarships or bursaries available, possibly linked to a particular subject such as music, drama, science or art.

Independent boarding schools charge for board and lodging and tuition.

Depending on where you live, you may need to start thinking very early about a secondary school for your child. Some parents decide to send their children to private or independent schools. Some of these schools take children earlier at the age of 10 so this is something that you need to think about. If entrance is by examination, you may want to consider finding a suitable private tutor to familiarise your child with the examination process very early on. In any event, you’ll probably need to apply for a secondary school before December in the year before your child is due to start secondary school.