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Types of schools and RE

Types of schools and their Religious Education across the UK

The note accompanies one on religious education in the UK and is intended to be read in conjunction with it.

Collective worship and religious observance are mentioned at some points in the material below. This is because schools have a statutory or contractual duty to provide it for all pupils not withdrawn by their parents. The collective worship or religious observance provided by a school is, like RE, also determined by the type of school it is.

ENGLAND AND WALES

Within the school systems of England and Wales, four types of school continue to be funded through their Local Authority These are known, because of this type of funding, as ‘maintained’ schools.

All maintained schools have to follow the National Curriculum for their respective country.

Community schools

Schools where the governing body is made up of people from the local community and the school itself. They will also have governors appointed by the local authority. Previously these were called ‘County’ schools.

RE and collective worship: These schools have to follow their locally agreed syllabus for religious education and have collective worship that is ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’, unless they have a determination from their SACRE to allow another form of collective worship.

Voluntary controlled schools

Schools that have a religious foundation and have Foundation Governors appointed by the appropriate religious body. They also have governors from the local community and the local authority.

Religious education in these schools is determined by the locally agreed syllabus for RE. Parents have a right to have religious education for their children that reflects the religious foundation of the school and the school must have retained teachers for such a situation. Their collective worship is determined by the governing body in light of their religious foundation.

Voluntary aided schools

Schools that have a religious foundation and Foundation governors appointed by the appropriate religious body. They also have governors from the local community and the local authority.

Religious education and collective worship in these schools is determined by the governing body in light of the school’s Trust Deeds or Foundation documents. Church of England Voluntary Aided Schools usually follow the locally agreed syllabus with an additional Diocesan supplement. Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Schools follow the documents produced by the Bishops Conference in England and Wales and their own Diocese. There are also Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Greek Orthodox Voluntary Aided schools. Their RE is determined by their governing body.

Special schools

Schools that cater for pupils with a range of special needs from moderate to severe learning difficulties. Some schools also have pupils with profound multiple learning difficulties.

Religious education: These schools should provide religious education and collective worship so far as is practicable. Where they do they would follow the locally agreed syllabus for RE.

Other types of school in England

There are five other types of school in England. These schools are funded directly by government through the Education Funding Agency. They are independent schools and must be charities. They have a funding agreement setting out what they must provide for pupils. They all have to provide religious education and collective worship in line with their funding agreement

These schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum, but may choose to do so.

Academies

Academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government. They can be primary schools, secondary schools or special schools. All were previously schools which were part of the local authority but are now independent of it. Most academies belong to a multi-academy trust (MAT). The MAT will have a board of directors responsible for all schools within the Trust. Some of the Academies within the Trust may have their own governing body but ultimately decisions about all schools in the Trust are made by the board of directors. It is the Government’s policy that all maintained schools in England be transferred to academy status, although there is no timetable for this.

Religious education and collective worship in an individual academy will be determined by what type of school it was before it was converted to academy status and their funding agreement with the government.

In England 61% of secondary schools and 14.5% of primary schools are now Academies. In practice the expectation is that most Academies without a religious foundation will follow the locally agreed syllabus. Increasingly Academy Trusts are developing their own syllabuses.

Free Schools

Free schools are new schools set up by parents, teachers or other bodies under the government’s legislation of 2011. They were designed to raise educational standards in areas where there was traditionally low attainment. The government believes that parents, teachers or others who are passionate about education are a key driving force in educational change and excellence.

Religious education and collective worship will be determined by the school’s funding agreement, as with academies.

University Technical Colleges (UTCs)

Colleges that offer education to 14 – 18 year olds and provide high quality technical education in collaboration with a sponsoring university. 60% of the curriculum is given over to ‘technical studies’ with 40% given to ‘general education’.

Religious education and collective worship are determined by the college’s funding agreement.

Studio Schools

Schools that are similar to UTCs Studio Schools only provide education for 13 – 19 year olds. They focus their curriculum around a skills framework that enables students to become more employable over time. Much of a student’s education will be around project work involving a business partner.

Religious education and collective worship are determined by the school’s funding agreement.

University Technical Colleges (UTCs)

Colleges that offer education to 14 – 18 year olds and provide high quality technical education in collaboration with a sponsoring university. 60% of the curriculum is given over to ‘technical studies’ with 40% given to ‘general education’.

Religious education and collective worship are determined by the college’s funding agreement.

Independent schools in England and Wales not funded by the state

There are a number of independent schools in England and Wales, sometimes referred to as ‘private’ or ‘public’ schools. Most of these schools had a religious foundation and provide religious education and religious observance in light of their trust deeds. These schools have to be registered with their respective governments and in England must adhere to the Independent School Standards (January 2015).

SCOTLAND

There are three basic kinds of school in Scotland.

Local schools

Schools maintained by the local authority, which makes decisions on what is taught in its schools, ensures pupils have proper supervision and safe conditions at school and publishes information on each school in its area. Parents have the right to set up a ‘parent council’ to support the schools and have a voice represented to the local authority and management of the school.

Religious education in these schools is determined by the Religious and Moral Education (RME) section of the Curriculum for Excellence, Scotland’s National Curriculum. Religious observance is determined by the school.

Denominational schools

Schools that provide education according to the Curriculum for Excellence within a broader religious framework that often focusses on nurture.

Religious instruction and religious worship. Denominational schools would usually have time set aside for religious observance of the type determined by their foundation documents. Religious education in these schools would also be determined by their foundation documents. Catholic denominational schools have a syllabus developed by the Scottish Catholic Education Service with the approval of Catholic Bishops of Scotland for all pupils in theirs schools.

Special schools

As in England and Wales special schools cater for those with learning disabilities, especially severe learning difficulties where pupils need specialist care.

The curriculum in these schools is adapted to the needs of the individual pupil.

Independent schools

Schools that do not have to follow Curriculum for Excellence and provide religious education in light of their trust deeds. All independent schools must be registered with the Scottish Independent Schools Registrar, further information can be found at http://www.scis.org.uk/.

Religious education and religious observance. Independent schools can determine their own religious education and religious observance in light of their foundation and their Trust Deeds.

SCHOOLS IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Religious education in all of Northern Ireland’s state funded schools is determined by the Religious Education Core Syllabus. Voluntary maintained schools can add their own denominational materials to the Core Syllabus in light of the decisions made by their Board of Governors. Collective worship in controlled schools must not be distinctive of any particular denomination. In Voluntary Maintained schools’ collective worship would be a matter for the governing body.

Controlled

Controlled schools are managed and funded by the Education Authority through school Boards of Governors. Governors are drawn from the local community, such as parents and teachers, the local authority and usually representatives of the Protestant churches.

Nursery, grammar and special school Boards consist of parents, teachers and Education Authority representatives along with Department for Education governors. Currently, there is a growing number of controlled integrated schools.

Voluntary Maintained

Voluntary maintained schools are managed by Boards of Governors nominated by trustees - mainly Roman Catholic - along with parents, teachers and Education Authority representatives. The employing authority of teachers in these schools is the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS).

Voluntary Non-Maintained

Schools that are mainly voluntary grammar schools managed by a Board of Governors. Boards are constituted in accordance with each school's scheme of management - usually representatives of foundation governors, parents, teachers and in most cases, Department for Education or Education Authority representatives.

The Board is the employing authority and is responsible for the employment of all staff in its school.

Integrated

Schools designed to add value to the education process by inviting Protestants and Catholics to come together with other traditions in order to improve their understanding of one another, their own cultures, religions and values.

Each grant maintained integrated school is managed by a Board of Governors consisting of trustees or foundation governors along with parents, teachers and Department for Education representatives.

The Board of an integrated school is the employing authority and is responsible for the employment of staff.

Irish-Medium

Irish-medium education is education provided in an Irish speaking school. Department for Education has a duty to encourage and facilitate the development of Irish-medium education. Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG) was established by Department and its remit is to promote, facilitate and encourage Irish-medium education.

Special

A special school is a controlled or voluntary school which is specially organised to provide education for pupils with special needs and is recognised by the Department for Education as a special school.

Independent

A school at which full-time education is provided for pupils aged from 4 to 16 and is not grant aided. These schools set their own curriculum and admissions policies and are funded by fees paid by parents and income from investments.

Each independent school must be registered with Department for Education and is inspected regularly by Education and Training Inspectorate.

Religious education and collective worship. Independent schools would provide religious education and collective worship according to the foundation and Trust Deed.