They report directly to the Secretary of State.
Academy is the legal term that includes both sponsored and converter academies (also known as standalone academies), free schools, University Technical Colleges (UTC's) and most studio schools.
The GOV.UK website has information on open academies and those in the process of becoming academies (external link).
Free Schools are funded by the government but aren't run by the local council.
They can be set up by a range of groups including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers and parents. Groups running free schools cannot make a profit.
The GOV.UK website has details of open free schools and successful applications in the pre-opening stage (external link).
Studio schools offer academic and vocational qualifications, but teach them in a practical and project-based way. Study is combined with work placements with local and national employers who are involved in the school.
The GOV.UK website has a list of open and pre-opening studio schools (external link).
Further Education (FE) colleges can now enrol 14 to 16 year olds. The centres offer a combination of vocational and academic subjects.
The GOV.UK website has a list of institutions intending to deliver the 14-16 programme (external link).
University Technology College's (UTCs) are academies for 14-19-year-olds. They offer technical courses and work-related learning, combined with academic studies.
GOV.UK has list of open and pre-opening UTCs (external link).
Find out more about 14-19 opportunities in Lancashire.