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.



Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 allows the Secretary of State to publish a list of approved independent educational institutions, independent schools and special post-16 institutions.

The guide provides information for the approval of independent special schools ( England and Wales ) and specialist post-16 institutions applying for inclusion on the list of approved independent special institutions. Institutions must be able to provide evidence and demonstrate they meet the criteria listed within the guidance. It also sets out the timescales and information required to complete the application form.

The guide is for those institutions wishing to be included on the list who are defined as:

  • independent educational institutions in England
  • independent special schools in Wales
  • special post-16 institutions

Online application form

The 2018 application window is now closed. The next application window will open on 3 May 2019.

Published 4 April 2014
Last updated 4 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Guidance updated for new application window opening.
  2. Updated guidance has been added.
  3. Public change note : Policy and process guide made into one guide
  4. Updated guidance added
  5. Updated documents for Spring application round
  6. Updated EFA and DfE autumn term processes and an application form added.
  7. Updated application guide
  8. Added the guide to support completion of the application form for inclusion on the Secretary of State approved list
  9. First published.