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What about specialist settings?

Discover various specialist teaching settings
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

As well as deciding an age group to teach, there are also different types of schools to choose from. In this step, we’ll explore some of the different school settings in the UK that you may or may not have heard about.


Academies are state-funded schools that receive funding directly from central government rather than through a local authority. Academies can follow their own curriculum and most have a focus on a specific area such as computing, performing arts or sport.

Special schools (SEND)

Special schools provide an education for children with a special educational need or disability. These schools tend to have a higher staff to pupil ratio in order to support the additional needs of the pupils. Staff become experts not only in their subject but in supporting, guiding and encouraging pupils to learn and in finding ways to overcome their barriers to learning.

Faith schools

Faith schools follow the national curriculum but can choose what they teach in religious studies. Teaching is generally in line with the ethos of a specific faith which can be an important consideration for parents and potential teachers. The governing body is responsible for deciding the admissions policy and appointing staff.

Private or independent schools

These are schools that are independent in their finances and governance. This means that they charge fees for attendance and don’t have to follow the national curriculum.

Grammar schools

Grammar schools are academically-centred secondary schools which accept pupils based on the 11+ exam. They are free for pupils to attend but can be highly selective due to the academic requirements for entry.

Single-sex schools

Single-sex education refers to schools that have only one sex. The alternative, in which both sexes are present is referred to as ‘coeducation’. Schools can offer teaching styles, subject choices, sporting opportunities or extracurricular programmes which are entirely focused on either boys or girls.

What do you think?

Had you heard of these types of schools? Do any of these settings interest you?

Further reading

Tes Institute Team. (2019). A beginners guide to UK schools: what are my options? Tes.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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