Maintained schools, free school and academies – what’s the difference?

About half of state secondary schools are ‘maintained’ by a Local Authority. All maintained schools must follow the national curriculum, national pay and conditions, overseen by the Local Authority. However, in South Stockton only Egglescliffe School is a Local Authority maintained secondary school.  All other schools are now free schools, academies or independent (private) schools. Free schools, traditional academies and academy converters all have the same status in law – they are all ‘academies’ which means they are all independent schools which are funded by the state, must meet certain requirements set by the state, and are founded and held accountable through a legally binding “funding agreement”.

The differences between free schools, traditional academies and academy converters are over:

  • Who sets them up
  • Why they are set up
  • Whether there is a predecessor school; and
  • What the “provider” has to demonstrate in order to be given permission to set one up.

Free schools are new state schools. There must be parental demand for the school and a high quality application. The group must form a charity and cannot make a profit. Free schools are a contract with the government. Like academies, they are free from Local Authority control. In order to open a free school, proposer groups must submit both a proposal and a business case, detailing all aspects of the school and demonstrating clear demand from parents.

Traditional academies are usually existing poorly performing state schools which are given to a new provider, and outside of Local funding a contract with the government. The Department for Education (DfE) broker a deal between an academy provider and schools which are under-performing.

Academy converters are existing, usually high performing, schools which opt out of Local Authority control to gain independence and autonomy. They are existing state schools, and the school governing body signs a funding agreement with the Government. Outstanding schools go through a rapid approval process, but all state schools can apply to become an academy.

How do I apply for a place at the school?

Ingleby Manor School and Sixth Form is a publicly funded, co-educational, independent secondary school. Responsibility for the admission of pupils rests with the Governing Body. All applications for places at the school will be considered in accordance with the school’s admissions arrangements. Details of our admissions form can be found here.

To apply for a Year 7 place for September, parents and students should apply through the Common Applications Form (CAF) as administered by Stockton Borough Council. 

How do I contact the school?

Follow this link to information on how the contact the school, or its Chair of governors, by phone, e-mail and post.