Types of Schools

The English school system is reasonably straightforward and there are essentially two different types of schools: state or private. Within each of these types however there can be enormous variation and the type of school that will be suitable for your children depends on factors such as religion, finance, academic ability etc.

State Schools

types of schools


In England and Wales the term “state school” refers to government funded schools which provide education free of charge to their pupils. In Scotland these schools are known as public schools or state-funded schools.

The thing that all these types of school have in common is that they do not charge fees. They each have their own selection criteria which are taken into consideration upon application. These include special needs, siblings, proximity to school etc. For information on how to apply to a state school, please click here.

There are many different types of state school, which include:

  • Government funded schools
  • Grammar schools (academically selective)
  • Faith schools (only open to members of certain religions)
  • Local authority maintained
  • Academies (run autonomously)
  • Studio schools (designed to give students practical skills in workplace environments as well as traditional academic and vocational courses of study)

A studio school is a type of secondary school in England that is designed to give students practical skills in workplace environments as well as traditional academic and vocational courses of study. Like traditional schools, studio schools teach the National Curriculum and offer academic and vocational qualifications. However studio schools also have links to local employers and offer education related to the world of work.

Private Schools

Private Schools in the United Kingdom are schools that charge a fee to educate your child. Many offer limited scholarships to gifted children reducing the fees, depending on a talent the student may have (e.g. sport scholarship, art scholarship, academic scholarship) or offer bursaries depending on financial need.types of schools

Private schools are also sometimes referred to as public schools or independent schools. They include the following:

  • Academically selective or non-selective
  • Religiously affiliated and denominational schools, including parochial schools used to describe Roman Catholic schools. Others include Jewish or Muslim schools.
  • Boarding schools (day, week or term boarders)
  • Based on foreign school systems (Lycée)
  • Special assistance schools
  • Single sex schools

For information on how to apply to a private school, please click here.

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