The category of community school was introduced by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 on 1 September 1999 to replace county schools. It is the standard type of maintained school. There were 11,659 community schools on 1 January 2011.
A community special school differs from a community school in that it caters solely for pupils with special educational needs. There were 925 community special schools on 15 July 2011.
Employer – local authority, although the governing body has actual responsibility. All teaching staff must be employed on statutory terms and conditions.
Admissions authority – local authority1. Must act in accordance with the Admissions Code and School Admission Appeals Code and the law relating to admissions. Admission to a community special school is through a statement, except in cases of emergency placements as described in Chapter 8 of the SEN Code of Practice.
Owner of the land and buildings – local authority. May only dispose of playing fields with the Secretary of State’s consent. Must also seek consent to dispose of any land used for the purposes of a community school in the past eight years (under schedule 35A of the Education Act 1996).
Capital funding – delegated capital and local authority.
Power to propose significant changes – the governing body may propose to enlarge the school or add a sixth form, and to change the category of the school. Only the local authority may propose other prescribed alterations and closure.
Religious character – may not be designated with a religious character.
Governing body – has general responsibility for the conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. It is a corporate body and receives the school’s delegated budget. The governing body is composed according to the community school stakeholder model, with representatives from parents, staff, local authority and the community.
1.although the local authority may delegate responsibility to the governing body.
Guide to the law for school governors
Access to the login page of the Edubase system, which contains details of all educational establishments in England and Wales.