3. Free schools

Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. They have more control over how they do things.

They’re ‘all-ability’ schools, so can’t use academic selection processes like a grammar school.

Free schools can:

  • set their own pay and conditions for staff
  • change the length of school terms and the school day

They don’t have to follow the national curriculum.

Who can set up free schools

Free schools are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by groups like:

  • charities
  • universities
  • independent schools
  • community and faith groups
  • teachers
  • parents
  • businesses

Types of free school

University technical colleges

University technical colleges specialise in subjects like engineering and construction - and teach these subjects along with business skills and using IT.

Pupils study academic subjects as well as practical subjects leading to technical qualifications. The curriculum is designed by the university and employers, who also provide work experience for students.

University technical colleges are sponsored by:

  • universities
  • employers
  • further education colleges

Studio schools

Studio schools are small schools - usually with around 300 pupils - delivering mainstream qualifications through project-based learning. This means working in realistic situations as well as learning academic subjects.

Students work with local employers and a personal coach, and follow a curriculum designed to give them the skills and qualifications they need in work, or to take up further education.

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