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Choosing schools and formal education

There are several types of schools and formal education could also take place at your home. You you may decide what is the best educational option for your child depending on your particular preference or circumstances. 

Have a look at the options below if you are trying to decide how to educate your child:  

Mainstream 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

Find a school in Westminster

What are independent schools?

Independent schools (also known as private schools) are educational providers not funded or maintained by the Government. Pupils at independent schools may not follow the national curriculum. You will usually be expected to pay fees for your child to attend an independent school

Where to find information on mainstream independent schools

The local authority does not hold information on mainstream independent schools in the borough. This is because they are not maintained or regulated by the council. To find out about independent schools in the local area, please visit the Independent Schools Council or visit the school's website directly. 

Special schools

All children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school.

If your child has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), you may have special considerations to take when you choosing school or type of education.

The SEND Local Offer is a free, confidential and impartial service directory you can find valuable information to guide you during your search, including a list of special schools and resourced bases in mainstream schools.

Elective Home Education

Parents have a responsibility to make sure that their child is educated. Most children attend school for their education, but parents have the right to educate their child at home - this is called elective home education (EHE).

Last Updated 05/04/2023

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