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Types of Schools in the UK

Teach In are proud to say that we work with over 5000 infants, primary and secondary schools in the UK.

Every school is different, and we pride ourselves on offering bespoke recruitment – perfectly placing teachers in right role in the right school, resulting in happy students.

Our consultants have worked hard to develop strong and lasting relationships with each and every school, making Teach In one of the agencies of choice in the UK. Consultants visit the schools in their local area regularly to get to know them really well. This helps them understand what it’s like to teach at each individual school, and whether it’s a school you will love!

At Teach In, we work with the following types of UK schools:


Independent of local authority control, academies are state funded schools with more control over their finances, teachers pay and conditions, and the curriculum (academies do not have to teach the national curriculum but are still expected to teach a broad based curriculum with certain compulsory subjects). There are two types of academies:

  • Sponsored Academies – which are normally experiencing challenging circumstances and are sponsored by a wide range of organisation such as businesses, universities, charities, faith bodies and even other more successful schools). The sponsors of the school are held responsible for the school’s performance.
  • Converter Academies – schools which are graded “outstanding” or “good” by Ofsted, which choose to become academies to have more control over their finances, teacher conditions and curriculum.

Comprehensive Schools

Comprehensive Schools, or ‘Comps’ are secondary schools which take all children living locally regardless of academic ability or talent. Many comprehensive schools also run specialist programmes, such as sports specialisms or gifted and talented programmes, which are selective entry programmes.

Faith Schools

Faith schools are run in much the same way as other state schools but they are associated with a particular religion, which influence the culture of the school. UK Faith schools must follow the national curriculum except for in Religious Studies, in which they may also teach about their own religion. Faith based schools often have different admissions and staffing criteria, but legally anyone may apply for a place.

Free Schools

Free schools are independent state-funded schools. They do not have to teach the national curriculum, and they have control over teacher pay and conditions. Free schools may be run by parents, teachers, or other organisations.

Grammar Schools

Grammar Schools are selective, state run secondary schools. Students are selected at the age of 11, sitting the ’11-plus” exam. There are very few Grammar Schools in England and Northern Ireland, due to educational reforms in the 1950s and 1960s which saw the introduction of comprehensive schools and the eventual banning of any new grammar schools being commissioned. Schools with the name “grammar school” in Wales or Scotland are non-selective. The number of grammar schools may increase in the future, as the new government makes plans to bring them back.

Community Schools

The standard type of local authority-run county school, which typically also opens its facilities to the local community outside of school hours.

Junior Schools

Junior Schools are Primary Schools, educating 7 to 11 year olds.

Middle Schools

Middle Schools are state schools that educate students aged 8 to 12 or 9 to 13 years old.

Independent Schools

Independent Schools are independently governed and financed, with no government funding.  They are funded by a combination of tuition fees, gifts, and often by the investment yield of endowments. Independent schools are free to set their own teacher pay scales and conditions, and do not have to teach the national curriculum.

Preparatory Schools

Preparatory Schools provide education for primary school aged children (usually aged between 5 and 11). They are dedicated to prepare such students for entry to independent, fee-paying secondary schools. Preparatory schools are independent, and as such may set their own teacher pay scales and conditions.

Special Needs Schools

Special Needs school educate children whose educational needs cannot be met in mainstream schools, due to disabilities or other challenges.

Technical Colleges

Technical Colleges are academies which provide technical, vocational education for students aged 14 to 19. Students at technical colleges are able to combine academic studies with work-related learning and technical courses.

Teaching Schools

Teaching schools may be any of the above type of school, with the added status of conducting teacher training and development. This training may range from initial teacher training through to Headships. Teaching Schools may be Primary or Secondary schools.

Please speak with your local consultant about the types of UK schools you might like to work in.

Schools in the UK: we place teachers in many different types of UK schools