Types of school and governing status | Oxfordshire County Council

Types of school and governing status

All children in England between the ages of five and 16 are entitled to a free school place.

In Oxfordshire most children start school in the September before their 5th birthday. Children normally move on to secondary school at the age of 11. Most schools admit both boys and girls, though some are single sex.

Maintained schools

Maintained/local authority schools are publicly funded. They are all accountable to Oxfordshire County Council, the local authority in Oxfordshire.

Community schools

The Governing Body is responsible for the day to day management of the school. These schools are accountable to us for pupil achievement and financial management and they follow our admissions policy.

Voluntary aided schools

Voluntary aided schools were originally set up by  a voluntary body ( charity ) such as the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church.

In a voluntary aided school:

  • the land and buildings are normally owned by the voluntary body
  • the voluntary body is represented on the Governing Body and the Governing Body is responsible for running the school
  • the Governing Body employs the staff
  • these schools are accountable to us for pupil achievement and financial management
  • the school is funded partly by us and partly by the charity
  • the pupils have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is determined by the governors and they follow our admissions policy

Voluntary controlled schools

Voluntary controlled schools were originally set up by  a voluntary body (charity) such as the Church of England.

In a voluntary controlled school:

  • the land and buildings are owned by a charity
  • the voluntary body appoints some members of the governing body
  • we are responsible for running the school
  • the school is funded by us
  • we employ the staff
  • the pupils have to follow the national curriculum
  • the admissions policy is determined and administered by us according to our admissions policy

Special schools

Special schools admit pupils who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs. A statement is issued to pupils with a high level of physical or learning difficulty.

Foundation schools

Foundation schools are maintained by us but the governors have responsibility for admissions to the school.

Specialist schools

Specialist schools are maintained community schools which in addition to following the National Curriculum focus on a particular subject area, such as technology, languages or visual arts.

Academies

Academies are publicly funded independent schools. They are not accountable to us and receive their budget directly from central government. The different types of academies are listed below, further information relating to our work with academies can be found on our academies page.

Sponsored academies

Sponsored academies will generally replace underperforming schools where standards need to be raised. The first academies were schools which were judged by Ofsted to be failing and were sponsored by an external organisation and often had additional funding allocated to allow new building. Sponsors may come from a wide range of backgrounds.

Some are existing academies or further education and sixth-form colleges with good track records in improving performance. Some are organisations such as universities, businesses, independent schools, charities, educational foundations or faith communities and some are individual philanthropists with strong interests in improving education. Where academies have a sponsor, those sponsors are not permitted to make a profit from their involvement with the academy.

Converter academies

Outstanding schools and those which can demonstrate a good record of school improvement can choose to convert to Academy status. They may choose to do this as a single school or a group of schools (called a multi-academy trust). The school, or schools, will set up a Charitable Trust and very often existing governors will become Directors of the Trust.

Free schools

A free school is a new school which is set up in response to a local demand, usually by parents, teachers or charitable groups. It is an academy but has not been created from an existing school, so the Trust is responsible for finding suitable premises. See DfE website for further information.

University Technical Colleges

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) specialise in subjects that need modern, technical, industry-standard equipment – such as engineering and construction – and teach these disciplines alongside business skills and the use of ICT. Students would usually be in the 14-19 years age range. For information see DfE website.

Studio schools

Studio schools are new schools for 14 to 19 year olds, delivering project-based, practical learning alongside mainstream academic study. See DfE website for more information.

Further information

You can find more information about starting school.

Last reviewed
29 March 2017

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