Visitor: What kind of school do you go to?
UK student: I go to an Independent School.
Visitor: Is that a Private school?
UK student: Yes, but some Independent schools are called Public schools.
Visitor: That is so confusing! Isn’t a Public school a State school?
UK student: Not anylonger. Look, I’ll explain…
Firstly, all children between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to free education in the UK. This education takes place in a State School. State Schools are funded by the government and include various different types of schools: Community Schools controlled by the local council; Foundation Schools, which have more freedom than the former; Academies, which are run by a governing body independent from the council; and Grammar Schools, which select their pupils based on academic ability.
Independent Schools differ from State Schools insofar that they educate students for a fee instead of being funded by the government. These schools are independent of the state system, in terms of finance and administration. Neither do pupils have to follow the national curriculum. Nevertheless, Independent Schools still have to be registered with the government and are inspected frequently.
Under the umbrella term of Independent Schools, there are both Public Schools and Private Schools. Both of these types of schools are fee-paying.
Public Schools are the most exclusive schools, such as Eton. These schools were founded centuries ago, and therefore have a wealth of history behind them. Originally, they were called ‘public’ schools because they educated the public, but now they educate the elite. They have a prestigious reputation, enhanced by the expensive fees, and often there is fierce competition to gain admission. In addition, these schools have a charitable status, meaning they do not pay taxes on fees. Bradfield College is a Public School.