Education services

Nursery education

There are 50 nursery classes attached to primary schools (34 community, 12 voluntary-aided and 4 foundation), and 3 separate maintained nursery schools offering a mixture of part- and full-time places. In addition there are around 120 non-maintained providers of free early education. The council also commissions 19 Children's Centres and provides a range of services for young children with special needs. The council's policy is to provide a nursery place for every three-year-old in the term after their third birthday. From September 2013 this will be extended to some 2 year olds.

Primary schools

There are 56 primary schools (54 JMI, 1 infants, 1 junior) taking about 17,746 pupils. 19 of the schools are voluntary-aided (9 Church of England, 9 Roman Catholic and 1 Muslim). 31 are community schools, 5 are foundation and one is an academy. Children generally enter reception classes in primary schools in the September of the school year in which they become 5. Three free schools (legally academies) will open in September 2013.

Secondary schools

There are 10 secondary schools taking about 7,317 pupils. There are 6 academies, 1 foundation all-girls school; 1 voluntary aided co-educational Roman Catholic denominational (11-18) school); an all-boys community school, and a voluntary-aided Church of England secondary school offering specialist provision in music.

Special schools and units

There are 7 special schools in the borough, of which 6 are judged outstanding by Ofsted and one is good. 3 of them offer boarding places and 1 is located outside the borough in Kent. 2 schools for the hearing and visually impaired offer provision on a regional basis. In addition there are three pupil referral units (secondary primary and medical) 2 of which are judged outstanding by Ofsted and one good. There are two units for the hearing impaired one attached to a primary and one to a secondary school. The council also runs a primary language centre for children with literacy and language difficulties and has set up two nursery, two primary and one secondary Autistic Spectrum Disorder Units and one primary moderate learning difficulties unit. Further ASD units are planned across both phases.

Further and adult education

There is 1 further education college and 1 sixth form college located in the borough. There is an extensive adult education programme with funding channelled from the Learning and Skills Council by the council. South Thames FE college, delivers a large part of this programme on behalf of the council under the umbrella of the Federation Agreement and contract. In recent years the number of providers operating in the adult and community education field has increased significantly.

Education Business Partnership (EBP)

BEST (Business Education Succeeding Together) manages a work experience and work related learning activities programmes for students aged 14-19 years old. BEST brokers relationships with employers to increase the knowledge and skills of young people of the world of work.