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Types of school

Types of school

The main categories of school are:-

  • local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) maintained schools
  • independent schools.

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Local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) maintained schools

A local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) maintained school is one that is funded by the local education authority and will be one of the following:

  • foundation school
  • community school
  • voluntary controlled school
  • voluntary aided school
  • nursery school. Early education for eligible three and four year olds may be offered in nursery schools, nursery classes or in reception classes in primary schools. All these are examples of local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) maintained schools, but some eligible three and four year olds may be offered places in private day nurseries or independent nursery schools

For more information about early education for eligible three and four year olds, see Free education places for three and four year old children in Access to Education or in Wales Nursery and pre-school provision

  • special school. Some special schools are local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) maintained schools. These could be community, voluntary or foundation special schools. Pupils at a maintained special school usually have been assessed and given a statement of special educational needs (SEN). Some special schools are independent schools.

For more information about SEN and how pupils are assessed and given a statement of SEN, see Children with special educational needs (SEN) in Access to Education.

Community schools

In a community school:-

  • the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) owns the land and buildings, but the governing body is responsible for running the school
  • the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) funds the school
  • the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) employs the staff
  • the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) provides support services, for example, psychological services and special educational needs services
  • the pupils have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is usually determined and administered by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland).

Voluntary schools

There are two types of voluntary schools:-

  • controlled
  • aided.

Voluntary controlled schools

A voluntary controlled school can also be called a religious or faith school.

In a voluntary controlled school:

  • the land and buildings are owned by a charity, often a religious organisation such as a church
  • the charity appoints some of the members of the governing body, but the local education authority is responsible for running the school
  • the school is funded by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland)
  • the local education authority employs the staff
  • the local education authority provides support services
  • the pupils have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is usually determined and administered by the local education authority.

Voluntary aided schools

Voluntary aided schools are usually called religious schools or faith schools. In a voluntary aided school:-

  • the land and buildings are normally owned by a charity, often a religious organisation such as a church, but the governing body is responsible for running the school
  • the school is funded partly by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland), partly by the governing body and partly by the charity
  • the governing body employs the staff
  • the local education authority provides support services
  • the pupils have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is determined and administered by the governors in consultation with the local education authority and other relevant schools in the area.

Foundation schools

In foundation schools:-

  • the land and buildings are owned by a governing body, who are also responsible for running the school
  • the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) funds the school
  • the governing body employs the staff
  • the governing body buys in and administers most of the support services
  • the pupils have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is determined and administered by the governing body, in consultation with the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) and other relevant schools in the area.

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Schools not maintained by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland)

There are various sorts of schools that are not maintained by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland), which include:-

  • independent schools
  • city technology colleges
  • academies
  • special schools not maintained by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland)
  • early learning organisations.

Independent schools

In an independent school:-

  • the governing body is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school
  • the school is funded by fees paid by parents and, sometimes, charitable trust funds
  • the headteacher with the backing of the governing body employs the staff
  • the headteacher or the governing body may buy in and administer support services
  • the pupils do not have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is determined and administered by the headteacher and the governing body.

City technology colleges

City technology colleges (CTCs) are independent non-fee paying schools and are situated in urban areas. There are only a limited number of CTCs. In a CTC:-

  • the college is run in accordance with an agreement between the company that owns it and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)
  • the DCSF and commercial sponsors fund the college
  • the governing body employs the staff
  • the governing body buys in and administers the support services
  • the pupils follow a curriculum that is similar to the national curriculum, with particular emphasis on technological and practical skills
  • the admissions policy is determined and administered by the governing body.

Academies

Academies are independently-managed, all-ability schools which operate outside the control of the local authority. In a city academy:

  • the government funds the school's running costs
  • the governing body employs the staff
  • the pupils do not have to follow the National Curriculum.

Special schools not maintained by the local education authority

Some schools for pupils with special educational needs are not maintained by the local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) and the information about independent schools applies. In some circumstances, a local education authority (Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland) may pay the fees so that a pupil with special educational needs may attend one of these schools if this school best meets their needs.

Early learning organisations

Early learning for eligible three and four year olds may be offered in independent playgroups, private day nurseries or independent schools. In these circumstances, the information above will apply (see under Independent schools, above).

A part time place will be free, but a parent will usually have to pay fees if a child is attending on a full time basis.

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