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Explain how legislation affects how schools work

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Since 2004 all children in the UK aged 3-4 years old are entitled to 570 hours of free early years education or childcare places at nursery or a pre-school setting a year. This is often taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year as part of the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda and ‘Childcare Act 2006’. Early years provision in schools is about supporting very young children and is based on the concept of learning through play as play has been shown to be an important tool for a childs early learning progress. These free early years education and childcare can be at: Nursery schools, nurseries on school sites, nursery classes in schools and academies, childrens centres, day nurseries, some playgroups and playschools, childminders and Sure Start childrens centres (they offer a range of services and provision for parents in areas such as early years education, full day care, short-term care, health and family support.) The government funds local authorities to ensure every child receives up to two years free education before reaching school age, this free entitlement being that it provides access to early childhood education and care, ensuring all children have the opportunity to benefit from early years education.


All children between 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school. There are four main types of state schools funded by local authorities. They all follow the National Curriculum and are inspected by Ofsted. Community schools: The admission authority for a community school is the local authority. Community schools are run by the local authority, which employs school staff, owns the land and buildings, and sets the entrance criteria (such as catchment area) that decide which children are eligible for a place. Foundation and trust schools: Foundation schools are run by their own governing body which determines the admission policy in consultation with the local educational authority. The school, land and buildings will also be owned by the governing body or a charitable foundation. Trust schools although similar to that of foundation, will form a charitable trust with an outside partner such as a business. The decision to become a trust school will be made by the governing body in consultation with parents. Voluntary schools: These come under two types, voluntary-aided and voluntary-controlled.

Voluntary-aided (faith schools) are mainly religious although anyone can apply for a place. They are run by their own governing body however the land and buildings are usually owned by a religious organisation or charity. They are funded partly by the governing body, partly by the charity and partly by the local educational authority, which also supplies support services. Voluntary-controlled schools are similar except they are ran and funded by the local authority which also employs the staff and provides support services. The land and building is often owned by a charity, which is often a religious organisation. Specialist schools: Are schools that focus on a particular subject area, of which there are now nine: technology, language, arts, sports, business and enterprise, engineering, mathematics and computing, science, humanities and music. Such schools must still meet national curriculum requirements and deliver a broad and balanced education to all pupils.

Any maintained secondary school in England can apply for specialist status. These schools used to receive additional government funding for doing this/becoming a specialist school, however when the coalition came into power in 2010 this extra funding was stopped. There are also other types of school which are not funded directly by the local education authority. These being: Independent or private schools and academies. Independent/private schools set their own entry rules and some have an entrance exam. They are funded by fees paid for by the parents and also income from investments, gifts and charitable endowments. They do not have to follow the national curriculum. Academies, historically, have been set up by sponsors from businesses. Academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times.


As of September 2013 the education leaving age is 17, from 2015 it will raise to 18. Education after 16 doesn’t just mean studying at school full time; you can stay on at school, go to college or take up an apprenticeship or part-time training course. There are five main options for furthering education/continuing with studies: Diplomas: these provide the background for a range of careers Vocational qualifications: for young people who already know what career they want to follow and need training for specific jobs. A-Levels: offered as specific, mainly academic subjects. Functional skills: This qualification can continue to form part of the diploma, foundation learning and included in some apprenticeship frameworks. Foundation learning: This had been developed for low attaining 14-19 year olds to help raise participation and progress. Deciding what to do next or finding out what is available can be hard, the National Careers Service and Local Connexions both provide information, advice and guidance to help make decisions on learning, training and work opportunities to both work with school leavers and adults. The Stamford Test is also available to help choose available courses that are matched with the users interests and abilities.

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