Types of school

All children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school. State schools receive funding through their local authority or directly from the government. The most common ones are:

  • community schools, which are sometimes called local authority maintained schools - they are not influenced by business or religious groups and follow the national curriculum
  • foundation schools and voluntary schools, which are funded by the local authority but have more freedom to change the way they do things - sometimes they are supported by representatives from religious groups
  • academies and free schools, which are run by not-for-profit academy trusts, are independent from the local authority - they have more freedom to change how they run things and can follow a different curriculum
  • grammar schools, which can be run by the local authority, a foundation body or an academy trust - they select their pupils based on academic ability and there is a test to get in

You can find and compare schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Special schools

Special schools with pupils aged 11 and older can specialise in 1 of the 4 areas of special educational needs:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • sensory and physical needs

Schools can further specialise within these categories to reflect the special needs they help with, for example Autistic spectrum disorders, visual impairment, or speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

See also:

For further information: