Types of school

Types of school

Whereas once schools operated as autonomous entities, there are now partnerships, collaborations, hard federations, soft federations, academies, sponsors and multi-academy trusts (MATs).

Local Authority (LA) Maintained Schools

The LA (for example, Buckinghamshire County Council) allocates a budget to the school after holding back a percentage for school services (such as Special Education Needs provision, school admissions) and is held accountable to the Secretary of State for the school’s performance.


Funding is allocated directly to schools from the Education Funding Agency, without the top slice that goes to the Local Authority for Maintained Schools. Academies don't need to follow the national Teachers Pay & Conditions document and are accountable under both charity law and company law.

“Academies Financial Handbook” EFA – 1 Sept 2016

Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs)

Formed when a number of academies join together. Many schools are currently considering options available to them and may be considering converting to academy status and joining a MAT or forming a MAT.

The Government’s Strategic Priority

To give all schools the opportunity to become an Academy and join a Multi-Academy Trust by 2020-22, in order to share outstanding practices amongst greater numbers of schools and drive up standards and outcomes for children. Those schools which are deemed to be failing will be converted to academy status, whereas good and outstanding schools have the choice as to whether or not it is the right decision for them. The exception to this is that all schools in failing Local Authorities will be required to convert to Academy status.

Collaboration Opportunities for Maintained Schools

Maintained Schools are encouraged to identify opportunities to work with local schools on shared initiatives which will maximise resources and improve outcomes for children, for example:

School partnerships and collaborations which focus on particular projects for a certain period of time

Soft federation, whereby 2 or more schools and their Governing Boards work together on shared common goals and may employ shared staff, but retain their individual governing boards to hold each school to account separately

Hard federation, working together on shared common goals, employing shared staff with one governing board across the federation and possibly one shared Executive Head Teacher across all schools in the federation

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