Every three- and four-year-old child is entitled to free early years education in an ofstead inspected setting which is found to be satisfactory. The funding is available for 12.5 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. Free places are available in a number of settings including: school nurseries, child-minders and private day nurseries.
Different types of schools
Schools across England are funded and managed in different ways and will vary depending on the age of your child. Nursery schools
Nursery schools are stand-alone schools for children aged three and four. They have their own head teacher and staff. Some are state-funded; others are privately run (though your child might be eligible for a free part-time place). Nursery classes
Nursery classes are attached to primary schools. They may have a separate building and playground away from the main school but share the same head teacher and staff. Primary schools
Primary schools cater for children aged 4-11. While at primary school, children start with the Early Years (Foundation) curriculum, followed by Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum. Secondary schools
Secondary schools cater for children aged 11-16 or 18. They take pupils through Key Stages 3 and 4 of the National Curriculum. Sixth form colleges
Sixth form colleges cater for young people aged 16-19. Students study for A levels and other qualifications that you can do after the age of 16, e.g. BTEC National Certificates.
How state schools are managed
There are four main types of state schools funded by local authorities. They all follow the National Curriculum and are inspected by Ofsted (the government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills). They are: Community schools
Community schools are run by the local authority, which employs school staff, owns the land and buildings, and sets the entrance criteria (such as catchment area) that decide which children are eligible for a place). Foundation and Trust schools
Foundation schools are run by a governing body which employs the staff and sets the entrance criteria. Land and buildings are owned either by the governing body or by a charitable foundation. Trust schools are similar, but are run together with an outside body – usually a business or charity – which has formed an educational trust. Voluntary-aided schools
Voluntary-aided schools are religious or faith schools. Just like foundation schools, the governing body employs the staff and sets the entrance criteria. School buildings and land are usually owned by a charity, often a church. Voluntary-controlled schools Voluntary-controlled schools are a cross between community and voluntary-aided schools. The local authority employs the staff and sets the entrance criteria, like a community school, but the school land and buildings are owned by a charity, often a church, which also appoints some members of the governing body. Specialist schools
State secondaries often specialise, which means they have an extra emphasis in one or two subjects. Schools can specialise in: the arts, maths and computing, business and enterprise, music, engineering, science, humanities, sports, languages, and technology Academies
Academies are independently managed schools set up by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the local authority and the government Department for Children, Schools and Families. City Technology Colleges
City Technology Colleges are urban-based, independently managed secondary schools geared towards science, technology and the world of work. They offer a range of vocational qualifications as well as GCSEs and A levels. Special schools
Pupils at a special school have usually been assessed and given a statement of special educational needs (SEN). These may include learning disabilities or physical disabilities. Some special schools are funded by the local education...