Thursday, 15 September 2011

Schools by Numbers

Schools by Numbers
There are 3,446 state secondary schools in England. The vast majority (about 2,950) are comprehensive in name. There are still 164 selective grammar schools in the country and the rest are either secondary modern schools or "high" schools (effectively secondary modern schools that choose to use a different name to describe themselves).
Within that 3,446 figure, there are 1,300 academies. The difference between these and those that remain maintained by the local authority is that they have the same freedoms as independent schools to set their own curriculum, hire non-qualified teachers and run their own affairs. There are, to complicate it further, two types of academies. There are those set up under the previous Labour government which have sponsors (education charities, private providers, independent schools and universities). There are 319 sponsored academies. Under the Coalition, existing state schools – firstly those described as "outstanding" by Ofsted – were allowed to transfer to academy status. There are 981 transferred academies.
A further complication is that virtually every state secondary school is a specialist school, specialising in one area or another of the curriculum. (There are at least 10 types of specialist schools including languages, science, maths, arts, sports, humanities and even rural studies.)
There are also 16,884 primary schools in England. Only a handful have decided to convert to academy status.
The picture is further complicated by the fact that about one in three English state schools (primary and secondary) are faith schools. There are just under 7,000 of these. They can either be voluntary aided or voluntary controlled. If they are voluntary controlled, the diocese or faith group has a far greater say over admissions. A breakdown of the faith schools reveals that there are 6,955 Christian state schools (mainly Church of England or Roman Catholic but with a handful of Methodist schools, too), 36 Jewish, six Muslim, two Sikh, one Hindu, one Greek Orthodox and one Seventh Day Adventist.
To this mixture can now be added the free schools: 24 of which have opened up for the first time this September. David Cameron has said he wants this figure to rise to the early hundreds in the next few years. Once it is set up, a free school has the same freedoms as an academy. The difference is that it is a new school started by a variety of parents', teachers' or faith groups (or education charity). It is also possible for a free school to be a faith school, but it must offer 50 per cent of its places to non-believers – a requirement not asked of mainstream faith schools.
To add to the mix, there are 2,415 independent schools: 1,625 primary and 790 secondary. These educate about 7 per cent of the school age population.
The picture elsewhere in the UK is simpler than in England. In Scotland there are 372 secondary schools, all comprehensive in intake. Of these, 53 are faith schools (all Catholic). There are 2,099 primary schools, 318 of which are denominational or faith schools, 314 Catholic, three episcopal and one Jewish.
In Wales, there are 1,435 primary schools and 222 secondary schools. All the secondary schools are fully comprehensive.

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