Children normally start primary school at the age of four or five, but many schools now have a reception year for four year olds. Children normally leave at the age of 11, moving on to secondary school. Most state schools admit both boys and girls, though some are single-sex.
The four main types of state school all receive funding from local authorities. They all follow the National Curriculum and are regularly inspected by Ofsted.
Community schools - Is a category of state funded school which is ran solely by the Local Education Authority (LEA), staff are employed by the Local Authority and the land and buildings of the school is also owned by the Local Authority although the schools governing body is responsible for the running of the school. The LEA also decides which ‘admissions criteria’ to use if the school has more applicants than places. These criteria could be some of the following:- • If you live in the area of the school.
• If the child has any siblings at the school.
• If the child has a disability which makes travelling to a remote school difficult. The local Authority also provides support services, for example, psychological and special educational needs services. Pupils who attend a community school must follow the national curriculum. Community schools also help to develop strong links with the community by offering the use of their facilities and providing services i.e. childcare and adult learning programmes.
Voluntary schools - there are 2 types of voluntary schools:
Voluntary controlled schools - These can be also known as religious or faith schools. In a voluntary controlled school the land and buildings are owned by a charity which is more often than not a religious organisation such as a church. The local education authority employs the staff and also provides support services for the school. The charity appoints some of the members of the governing body although the local education authority is responsible for running the school.
Voluntary aided schools - As with a voluntary school the land and buildings are usually owned by a charity such as a church but the governing body is responsible for running the school and also contribute to building and maintenance costs. Voluntary aided schools are partly funded by the local education authority, partly by the charity and by the governing body who will also employ its own staff. Pupils who attend a voluntary aided school have to follow the national curriculum and support services are provided by the local education authority if needed.
Foundation and Trust schools - Are state funded foundation schools which receive extra support from a charitable trust that is made up of partners e.g. business or educational charities who work together for the benefit of the school. Any maintained school that is a primary, secondary or special school can become a trust school and will remain local authority maintained. Having a trust status will enable schools to raise standards through strengthening new and existing long term partnerships between schools and external partners, as well as broaden opportunities for pupils and support a child’s all round development.
Specialist schools - Children who have a statement of special educational needs (SEN) can and usually are educated in mainstream schools if the school has provisions that are suitable for that child, however children with SEN can also be educated in specialist schools. Special schools usually take children with particular types of special needs. The majority of a schools funding is provided by the department for education and skills (DFES) through the local education authority, however not all schools for pupils with SEN are maintained by the local authority and are funded by fees that are paid by the parents or charitable trust funds.
Independent/private schools - These schools are not maintained by the local authority and are independent in their finances and governance. Independent schools are funded by a combination of tuition fees that are paid by parents and income from investments. Only half of independent schools are of ‘charitable status’; all donations that are made to public schools that are supported by local government allows them to claim charitable deductions. Independent schools do not have to follow the national curriculum and the admissions policy is determined and administered by the head teacher along with the governing body. All independent schools have to register with the DFE (department for education) under the Education Act 2002 and applications of new schools must be made before a school begins to function and admit pupils. Regulations made by the Education Act 2002 sets out standards that all independent schools in England must satisfy as a condition of registration.