‘Ask Abi’ – what primary school should I choose for my child?

 

12 September 2017 / Travellers' Times

My four year old is starting school in September. There are three primary schools in my catchment area, but I’m not sure which school I should send her to. Can you please tell me about different types of schools and if they all teach the same thing?

Hi! My name is Trish and I run the education support project at The Traveller Movement, kindly funded by the Esmée Fairbairn foundation. I’ve recently started working with the Traveller Movement and I’m really excited about my new role. My job as education support officer is to advise and support families with any issues they may have in schools or education. When I’m not busy supporting young people to get the help they need to access education, I like to explore London with my friends and I am always on the lookout for fun things to do.

If you have a question that you would like answered, but don’t want it published on the Traveller Times website, please email me at education@travellermovement.org.uk. If you would like to talk in person you can ring me on 0207 607 2002 and I’ll do my best to support you.

Q: My four year old is starting school in September. There are three primary schools in my catchment area, but I’m not sure which school I should send her to. Can you please tell me about different types of schools and if they all teach the same thing?

A: Making a decision about which school to send your child to can be confusing.

While there are several types of schools in the UK most state schools follow the national curriculum set by the Department for Education. The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools to ensure pupils learn the same thing. Most importantly all children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place in a state school. You can find some information below about different types of schools in the UK. If you have any questions afterwards I will be happy to speak with you.

Community schools: these are schools run by the local council. They teach the national curriculum and anyone can apply for a place.

Free schools: Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. They can be set up by community groups, parents or businesses. Free schools can change the length of school terms and the school day and they don’t have to teach the national curriculum.

Academies: academies are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. Academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times. They have to follow the same rules on admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other schools. Anyone can apply for a place in an academy.

Faith schools: Faith schools are schools associated with a particular religion. Lots of different religious groups such as Catholics, Muslims and Jews, have their own schools. Faith schools are mostly run like other schools. They teach the national curriculum for all subjects except religious studies. Anyone can apply for a place in a faith school but some are less likely to give places to pupils who practise a different religion.

Special Schools: Special schools are for pupils with a learning difficulty or disability. These schools often have smaller classes and more support staff. Some special schools provide for very specific groups of young people; for example, schools for pupils with autism.

Private/independent schools: Private, or independent, schools charge fees to attend. They do not get money from the government or their local council. Private schools don’t have to teach the national curriculum and can decide the length of their school terms.

Do remember that all children between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free school place at a state school. If you are facing access issues with your local school, or if you have applied and not heard back, please do get in touch and I will be happy to help you. You can also find more information in our lovely new fact sheets available from our website www.travellermovement.org.uk

Tip of the month: if you would like to find cheap and cheerful things to do in London, you can sign up to Free Events in London https://www.facebook.com/events/1435379176763738/. Here you will find information about free events, concerts and tours which won’t cost a thing.

To get answers to your education questions, drop me an email me on education@travellermovement.org.uk or call 02076072002.

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