Supporting Families
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Explanation of Some Technical Terms

Please advise me on other terms which need to be explained.

  • Most education is delivered through the LA, the Local Authority education branch
  • The Local Authority will be the county council, unitary authority or metropolitan borough. It will not be a district council which has no responsibility for education.
  • The LA has direct responsibility for Community Schools. Voluntary Aided Schools are run by a foundation, often the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. Foundation Schools have a Governing Body independent of the LEA for many of its functions.Academies are completley independent of the LA apart from a few statutory functions.
  • The Governing Body of a school is a group of individuals, coming from the local community, the school staff, possibly the LEA or the church. Some governors are co-opted to meet specific needs. The Governing Body of Voluntary Aided and Foundation Schools have considerable independence in setting admissions rules and setting up appeals procedures.The Governing Bodies of Academies often have sponsors as majority governors on their Boards.
  • Independent schools are private schools where parents pay for their children’s education, and are not subject to government rules on issues described in this website. They range from Eton College to the small day private schools for primary aged children which flourish in many towns.
  • There is a group of state funded independent schools, free for parents, known as City Technology Colleges. The government is also setting up direct funded City Academies. These are not subject to many of the normal rules for admission, discipline, etc.
  • Sixth Form Colleges operate mainly for students aged 16-19 and operate in areas where secondary schools are mainly 11-16. There are no Sixth Form Colleges in our local area.
  • Further Education Colleges exist in most parts of the country, and cater for post 16 students including adults across a wide range of academic and vocational. There are six of these operating across Kent and Medway. They are not subject to the procedures which apply in schools, and I do not get involved with them.
  • If a child is refused admission at a state school, parents have the right of appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel. This comprises three unpaid trained volunteers recruited by the LA. Foundation and Voluntary Aided Schools have the right to recruit their own panel members.
  • PFI. This is the Private Finance Initiative that gives ownership of new buildings or facilities for schools to private investors. Kent initially saw a scheme for six schools completed around 2008: Aylesford School; Ellington Girls School; Holmesdale Technology College; Hugh Christie School; The Malling School; and The North School. It also covers three of the BSF (see below) schools: Northfleet Technology College;  St John's School; and Thamesview School.
  • BSF. Building Schools for the Future. This was a government scheme to rebuild or partially rebuild all secondary schools  in England. It was suddenly scrapped in July 2010, following the financial crisis. Just one phase of eleven schools was rebuilt in Kent: Charles Dickens School; Dane Court Grammar School; Ifield Special School; Northfleet School for Girls; St George's  CoE School, Margate; St John's School; Northfleet Technology College; Thamesview School; Whitstable Community College. Many others were disappointed, having come close to signing contracts.
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