Types of school

There are several different types of school in Norfolk but they can be divided into two broad categories, state schools and independent (private schools).

State schools

State schools are funded by public money. They provide education free of charge to parents. Most state schools in Norfolk offer mainstream education. This means they can cater for a wide range of abilities and needs. Most children with special educational needs and/or disabilities attend local maintained mainstream schools. This includes children with statements and/or Education Health and Care Plans (EHC plans.)

All children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school.

Most state schools have to follow the national curriculum. The most common ones are:

  • Maintained schools
    The majority of schools in Norfolk are maintained. This means they are run by a governing body, follow the national curriculum and are maintained by the local authority. There are a wide range of maintained schools including community schools, foundation schools, voluntary aided schools and voluntary controlled schools
  • Academies
    Academies are run by a governing body, independent from the local authority. They can follow a different curriculum as long as it’s broad, balanced and includes, English, Maths and Science. They can also set their own term times. They still have to follow the same rules for admissions, special educational needs and exclusions as other state schools. There are a number of different types of academy including free schools, traditional academies and converter academies

To find a state-funded school in Norfolk please use the Norfolk School Finder.

To find out about state funded special schools in Norfolk, please view our state funded special school’s page.

Independent schools (private)

Most children and young people with an EHC plan will have their educational needs met in a local school maintained school, academy or college. A small number of young people will require support from a Specialist Resource Base or from a state funded special school. In a very small number of cases children will need to attend a different type of school. There are a number of these different types of school. Below is a description of each of the most common.

  • Independent school
    An independent school is usually funded by charging fees and is not maintained by the local authority or central government
  • Independent special schools
    The Department for Education (DfE) describes an independent special school as any independent school where at least half of the pupils have special educational needs and at least a quarter have statements or EHC plans
  • Non-maintained special schools
    These are non-profit making independent schools run by charities or charitable trusts which have been approved by the Secretary of State. There are over 70 non-maintained special schools nationally which are mainly for pupils with extreme or rare difficulties
  • Special or alternative provision free schools
    These are state-funded independent schools set up in response to local demand and catering for a particular range of needs

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