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You are here:home > Learning > Schools > School types

School types

This page explains what the different school types mean. To see a definition for each school type in Southampton, select a heading in the box below.

Mixed and single sex schools

Nearly all of the schools in Southampton are mixed, which means that they admit pupils from both sexes. There is only one single sex school in the city, which is:

  • St Anne's Catholic School - girls

Specialist status

All of the city's secondary schools have 'specialist school' status.

The specialist schools programme helps schools, in partnership with private sector sponsors and supported by additional Government funding, to establish distinctive identities through their chosen specialisms.

Specialist schools meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and teach a broad and balanced curriculum to all students but have a special focus on their chosen subject area.

To see what the specialisms are for each secondary school is the city, see our school list and map page.

School types in Southampton (click on each heading for more information)

1. Community schools

These are schools for which Southampton City Council as the Local Authority (LA) is wholly responsible. Most Southampton schools are community schools.

2. Voluntary Controlled (VC) schools

These are schools originally set up by a voluntary organisation, usually one of the main Christian churches, the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church. 

All of the VC schools in Southampton were founded by the Church of England. Responsibility for VC schools is shared by the LA and the Winchester Diocese.

These schools have foundation governors including the parish priest, in order to preserve their Christian character. 

3. Foundation / Trust schools

These are schools supported by a Foundation or Trust. The governors of the school decide on admissions to the school, not the local authority.

4. Voluntary Aided (VA) schools

These are schools originally set up by a voluntary organisation, usually one of the two main Christian churches, the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church.

These schools have kept many more of their links with the original foundation, which will have a role in the financial provision for the school. In these schools the local authority's role is slightly different but still important.

5. Academies

These are independent from the local authority and are funded directly by central government.

6. Studio schools

Like other academies, these are independent from the local authority and are funded directly by central government.

Studio Schools are designed for 14-19 year olds of all abilities. They are small schools for 300 students; and with year-round opening and a 9-5 working day, they feel more like a workplace than a school. Working closely with local employers, Studio Schools offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications including GCSEs in English, Maths and Science, as well as paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities in the local area. Students will gain a broad range of employability and life skills through the CREATE skills framework (link opens in a new window), and will have the option to go on to university, further training, and into employment.

Contact information