UK School Types

UK school types

UK School Types

The road to finding your dream teaching job may seem like a long one, but the most important decision is usually made right at the start. What sort of teacher do you want to be?  

In the UK alone there are several different types of schools, each with different curriculums, values, and requirements for the job. So, which school would suit you the best? 

Primary Schools 

Primary school teachers are responsible for teaching children from the ages of 5 to 11. Primary schools cover key stages 1&2 and are crucial in the process of children’s development both socially and academically. 

In order to become a primary school teacher, you will need GCSE grades A* to C (9 to 4) in English, Maths, and science. You will usually need a degree and to be DBS checked. You will also need a recognised teaching qualification, such as the QTS award.

Becoming a primary school teacher can feel incredibly rewarding as you will play such a key role in a child’s development. 

Some personality traits that will be perfect for primary school teaching would be: 

  • Excellent communication skills 
  • Patient (especially with younger children) 
  • Creative and imaginative to engage children in lessons 
  • Great organisational skills 

 Secondary Schools

Secondary school is for students aged 11-18. In order to teach in a secondary school, you will need to be DBS checked and you will also need to have a minimum of a university degree. You must have a degree in the subject you have chosen to teach or a closely related one at least. 

According to UCAS, these are the skills that you would need in order to successfully become a secondary school teacher: 

  • Communication 
  • Creativity 
  • Discipline 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • IT 
  • Leadership 
  • Literacy 
  • Numeracy 
  • Organisation 
  • Patience 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Teamwork 
  • Time management 

 Faith Schools

Another UK school type is Faith school. These must follow the national curriculum, but they can choose what they teach in religious studies. 

Faith schools may have different admission processes and staffing policies to state schools 

Faith schools aren’t dissimilar from state academies. The difference being, the latter doesn’t have to follow the national curriculum whereas the schools do. 

 SEN & SEMH Schools

SEN schools are there for those with special needs which prevent them from learning effectively in normal school conditions. SEMH schools for children with social, emotional and mental health needs. These schools teach the national curriculum, in a way most suited to its students and most SEN teachers will be supported with a teaching assistant. 

Like other schools, you will need a minimum of a QTS (qualified teaching status) to teach at a SEN school. 

Some the skills you will need to work at a SEN school include: 

  • Patience 
  • Able to adapt to different situations 
  • Great organisational and planning skills 
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • An ability to motivate 

Private Schools 

All private schools must be registered with the government and are inspected regularly yet they do not have to follow the national curriculum. 

Fees apply to these schools and often the application process is different from those that are government funded. 

Academies and Free Schools

Free schools do not have to follow the national curriculum. They are funded by the government, but they have freedom over term dates and the staff pay and contracts.  

Academies and free schools are usually set up by an organisation or groups of individuals. These can include charities, parents or businesses. 

Usually, free schools are all-abilities so there are no entrance exams. 


Now you know the basics about the different school types in the UK, which would suit you best?  If you need any advice or you need help finding your dream teaching role, contact us today.