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Types of UK Schools!

UK schools come in different shapes and sizes, but that’s not all that sets them apart, there is also many different types. If you are an international teacher moving to the UK it may be a little confusing. So to assist we have put together this comprehensive guide of the types of school in the UK


Academies are independent, state-funded schools. They receive their funding from the government rather than through a local authority. Some academies also have sponsors, such as business or universities, where they gain additional funding. Academies have more freedom over their own curriculum, timetables and the students they let in. They are free for students to attend.

State Maintained School

The most common school in the UK. They are owned and maintained by the Local Authority. They are also free for students to attend but must follow the National Curriculum.

Private/Independent School

Private schools charge a fee to attend and are independent in their finances and governance. Much of the schools funding comes from school fees. Although many do follow the National Curriculum it is not a requirement.

Faith School

Faith Schools have a focus on a particular religion. They must follow the National Curriculum but can choose what they teach in Religious Studies. The governing body is responsible for deciding the admissions policy and appointing staff

Grammar School

Although free for students to attend, Grammar Schools are highly selective. Pupils are selected based on their academic ability. They are required to sit an entrance exam when they are 11, this is known as the 11 plus. There are only 164 Grammar Schools remaining in England.

Special School/ SEN

These schools focus on teaching children with special educational needs and disability. There are also schools that are more focused on a particular need, for example Visual Impairment or Autism Spectrum Disorder. To work in an SEN school you will have needed to be trained in Special Education

 Pupil Referral Unit

A PRU is a school for pupils that are unable to attend a mainstream school. Students are often referred to a PRU as their current school cannot provide the needed support. Students attending PRU’s may have been excluded from mainstream school due to behaviour issues, are facing social or emotional issues or are otherwise unable to attend mainstream school.

Sixth Form College

Students aged between 16 and 19 attend these colleges to study for qualifications including A-levels and GCSEs