The Academies Guide: Definitions & Differences

With so many changes in the UK school system and the rise of Academy Schools in recent years it can be hard to keep up with the latest definitions for new types of schools. The key differences between the different types of Academies Schools currently operating in the UK have been outlined below. 
Traditional Academies
Also known as Sponsored Academies, these are usually schools that have underperformed previously and are now receiving sponsorship from a university, FE college, educational charity or business sponsor. Outside the control of the LEA, the funding agreement between the sponsor and school is brokered by the Department for Education who still exert some control over how they are run. 
Academy Converters 
In contrast to Traditional Academies, these are high achieving, often ‘Outstanding’ state schools who opt out of the control of the LEA in favour of more autonomy. Funded by the government, an agreement is made between the school’s governors whose application for Academy status is vetted by the Department for Education.   
Free Schools 
Free Schools are non-governmental, non-selective schools that are outside of the control of the LEA and are created by teachers, parents, community groups, other existing school education charities and universities. They are set up as limited companies using a model laid out by the Department for Education, with the autonomy to stray from the National Curriculum, employ teachers who don’t have QTS, change school hours and set their own pay for teachers. 

Free Schools also come in 2 different forms that are specifically designed to cater for 14-19 year olds: 

  1. Studio Schools are small secondary schools with a maximum of 300 students that have a greater focus on offering practical training in workplace environments using their strong links with local businesses. They usually follow the National Curriculum by offer a mix of vocational and academic subjects.
  2. University Technical Colleges (UTC) are secondary schools mainly sponsored by universities who provide CPD for teachers and helps qualified students find places on degree courses. The university is usually in charge of decision regarding new governors or key members of staff. Designed to provide routes into further education UTCs work with the National Curriculum while also specialising in a technical subject and teaching vital business and ICT skills. 
More information on the different types of schools can be found here. To view the latest jobs in primary and secondary schools across the UK, click here. 
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