Setting up or changing the status of a school

Converting to an academy. Opening a free or studio school, university or independent school. Set up a multi-academy trust (MAT).

General information and guidance

  1. Academy and free school funding agreement: multi-academy master

    Model funding agreement for schools or groups establishing a new multi-academy trust.

  2. Applying to be on the approved list of independent special institutions

    Information about the process independent special providers need to follow to be considered for entry onto the list of approved institutions.

  3. Church academies: model documents

    Model documents to help church schools converting to academies, and supporting documents.

  4. Establishing new local-authority-maintained schools

    Guidance for local authorities and new school proposers about establishing new local-authority-maintained schools.

  5. Establishing or closing a sixth-form college

    How to apply to establish or close a sixth-form college and how further education (FE) colleges can convert to become a sixth form.

  6. Independent school registration

    Departmental advice setting out requirements for the registration of independent schools.

  7. Independent school registration (England and Wales)

    You must register with the Department for Education or Welsh government if you run an independent school offering full time education

  8. Private finance initiative (PFI) academies: model documents

    Model documents for PFI schools converting to academy status.

  9. Religious character designation: guide to applying

    What schools and academies need to do to get a religious character designation and open as a faith or church school.

  10. School organisation: local-authority-maintained schools

    Statutory guidance about making organisation changes to local-authority-maintained schools, including school closure.

  11. Special needs school approval (Wales)

    You need approval by the Welsh Government if you run an independent school in Wales that admits children with special educational needs

  12. Trust school proposals: a guide for governing bodies and local authorities

    Guidance aimed at governing bodies of foundation schools that are considering becoming a trust school.

Set up a free school

Types of free school you can open, including mainstream, alternative provision and special free schools. Forms, budgeting, guides to setting up.

  1. Apply to open a mainstream, studio school or 16 to 19 free school

    Application forms and assessment criteria for groups interested in opening a mainstream, studio school or 16 to 19 free school.

  2. Apply to open a special free school

    Application forms and assessment criteria for groups interested in opening a special free school.

  3. Apply to open an alternative provision free school

    Application forms and assessment criteria for groups interested in opening an alternative provision (AP) free school.

  4. Establishing a new school: free school presumption

    Guidance on establishing new schools and the qualities new school proposers must demonstrate.

  5. Free school applications: suitability and declarations form

    Form and assessment criteria for members and directors of academy trusts to submit personal information.

  6. Free school pre-opening budgets

    Pre-opening budget data for primary and secondary free schools.

  7. Free school pre-opening guide

    Guidance for groups who are in the process of opening a free school.

  8. Free schools: how to apply

    How to apply to set up a new free school or studio school.

  9. Mainstream and 16 to 19 free school financial template

    A tool to help mainstream and 16 to 19 free schools plan their budget.

  10. Opening a UTC

    Documents for groups interested in opening a university technical college (UTC).

  11. Plain English guide to planning for free schools

    A guide giving an overview of the planning system for those considering opening a free school.

  12. Regional academy growth fund: application form

    Application form for academy trusts who want to apply for the regional academy growth fund (RAGF).

  13. Registration of free schools

    A section of forms covering the registration of a new free school and guidance for the standards

  14. Setting up a free school

    Set up a free school - find out what you need to do and how to increase your chance of success

  15. Special free school financial template

    A tool to help special free schools plan their budget.

  16. Studio school financial template

    A template to help groups opening a studio school understand funding rates for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.

  17. ‘The school revolution’: how reforms are transforming schools

    A DfE film including interviews and footage of innovative practice in the classroom.

  18. UTC or studio school model funding agreement: multi-academy trust

    Model supplemental funding agreement to establish a university technical college (UTC) or studio school with a multi-academy trust (MAT).

Set up and develop a multi-academy trust (MAT)

Apply to become a MAT. Model funding agreements, good practice for establishing and growing a trust, sponsorship information.

  1. Academy and free school funding agreement: multi-academy trust

    Model funding agreement for multi-academy trusts establishing new academies and free schools.

  2. Academy and free school funding agreement: single academy trust

    Model funding agreement for single academy trusts establishing new academies and free schools.

  3. Apply to become a multi-academy trust

    Application form for single academy trusts wishing to change their governance so they can become a multi-academy trust (MAT).

  4. Expanding your academy trust: resources for multi-academy trusts

    Links to a selection of sources of support and guidance for MATs looking to take on more schools and grow their academy trust.

  5. Making significant changes to an existing academy

    Guidance for academies wishing to make changes to their school, including how to expand.

  6. Multi-academy trusts: establishing and developing your trust

    Good practice guidance for academy trusts, including those establishing new trusts and existing trusts planning to grow.

  7. Regional academy growth fund: application form

    Application form for academy trusts who want to apply for the regional academy growth fund (RAGF).

  8. Sponsor an academy

    Steps to follow to become an academy sponsor.

  9. Sponsored academies funding: guidance for sponsors

    Guidance on the DfE funding available to academy trusts for sponsored academy projects.

Set up or convert to an academy

Information for new openers, important dates and deadlines, application forms, budgets, model documents and templates.

  1. Academies: a myth buster

    Responding to some common misconceptions about academies.

  2. Academies: information for new openers

    Information that new academies will need in their first period of opening.

  3. Academy conversion application forms

    Forms for schools converting to academy status.

  4. Academy conversion: important dates

    Deadlines for schools converting to academy status.

  5. Academy conversion: land questionnaires

    Documents to help schools converting to academy status submit their land information to the Department for Education.

  6. Academy conversion: long-term lease model

    Model document to help community and church schools converting to academy status transfer their school's land to the academy trust.

  7. Academy conversion: model ballot documents for grammar schools

    Documents that grammar schools converting to academies must complete to make changes to their admissions criteria.

  8. Academy conversion: model directions for transferring land

    Documents for schools transferring the freehold of their school site to the academy trust as part of the academy conversion process.

  9. Academy conversion: schedule of changes for model documents

    Document to help schools converting to academy status record any changes they've made to model documents as part of the conversion process.

  10. Academy conversion: support grant forms

    Forms for schools converting to academies to claim the support grant and to declare what portion of the grant they've spent.

  11. Academy conversion: surplus and deficit balance transfer process

    Guidance for schools and local authorities on what happens if a school has a budget surplus or deficit when it converts to academy status.

  12. Academy conversion: tenancy at will model

    Model document for schools that are converting to academy status and that won’t be able to complete land negotiations in time.

  13. Academy conversion: trust modification orders

    Model trust modification orders for schools converting to academies whose land is held by a trust or foundation that is not a diocese.

  14. Academy sponsor application form

    Form that groups interested in becoming an academy sponsor need to complete as part of the application process.

  15. Alternative provision academies

    Documents and guidance for pupil referral units converting to alternative provision (AP) academies.

  16. Becoming an academy: top tips for governors

    Tips for governors of schools on the path to becoming an academy.

  17. Change of land use due to an academy conversion

    Statutory guidance for local authorities, under paragraph A19 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

  18. Church schools and academies: memoranda of understanding

    Formal agreements between the Department for Education (DfE) and the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

  19. Convert to an academy: guide for schools

    How maintained schools can apply to convert to academy status.

  20. Pupil referral units conversion to alternative provision academies in 2012 to 2013

    This guidance is for pupil referral units (PRUs) considering converting to alternative provision academies.

  21. Regional academy growth fund: application form

    Application form for academy trusts who want to apply for the regional academy growth fund (RAGF).

  22. Sponsor an academy

    Steps to follow to become an academy sponsor.

  23. Sponsored academies funding: guidance for sponsors

    Guidance on the DfE funding available to academy trusts for sponsored academy projects.

  24. ‘The school revolution’: how reforms are transforming schools

    A DfE film including interviews and footage of innovative practice in the classroom.