All children in England between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school.
State schools receive funding through their local authority or directly from the government. The most common ones are:
community schools, which are sometimes called local authority maintained schools - they are not influenced by business or religious groups and follow the national curriculum
foundation schools and voluntary schools, which are funded by the local authority but have more freedom to change the way they do things - sometimes they are supported by representatives from religious groups
academies and free schools, which are run by not-for-profit academy trusts, are independent from the local authority - they have more freedom to change how they run things and can follow a different curriculum
grammar schools, which can be run by the local authority, a foundation body or an academy trust - they select their pupils based on academic ability and there is a test to get in
Years 7 and 8 are the first two years of secondary school education in the UK. In some independent schools they are included in the Junior School, in others, they are part of the Senior School.
Year 9 is a very important year in the British school system, as most of the students make the transition from Junior School to Senior School. It is also a very good foundation for the GCSE programme and it is an entry point to all schools.
In some schools, students sit Common Entrance Exam in year 7. There are 3 examination sessions, in November, January and May/June. The transition from Junior to Senior School (from year 8 to year 9) may be conditioned by the Common Entrance Exam results in those schools.
In the last two years of secondary education, which are called Year 10 and Year 11, starting at age 14, students prepare for GCSE exams that are taken after two years (General Certificate of Secondary Education).