Guidance: Academies: making significant changes or closure by agreement

Department For Education

February 13
10:00 2024

The guidance on making significant changes to an open academy is for academy trusts wishing to make organisational changes to a school. Those include:

  • physical expansion
  • merging with another academy
  • changing the schools age range
  • changing the schools faith designation

The guidance sets out the significant change process and explains which application form to complete. The 2022 versions of the guidance and the application forms on this page are currently in force. The 2024 version of the guidance will come into force in April 2024 and the updated versions of the application forms will be published at that time.

The revised guidance includes a new 3-tier application process. It also sets out pupil place planning roles and a framework for collaborative school place planning. This is useful for:

  • local authorities
  • academies
  • schools
  • school governors
  • trustees
  • dioceses

The guidance on closure of an academy by mutual agreement explains when closure might be an appropriate solution to address standards or viability issues. It:

  • sets out the process for closing an academy by mutual agreement with the Secretary of State
  • provides guidance about when academy trusts should talk to other parties
Published 4 September 2013
Last updated 13 February 2024 +show all updates
  1. Added new 'Making significant changes to an academy' guidance, applicable from April 2024.

  2. Updated 'Closure of an academy by mutual agreement to remove outdated references and expand guidance on the closure of special educational provision.

  3. We have made 'Making significant changes to an open academy and closure by mutual agreement' easier to use by putting it into 2 separate documents: 'Closure of an academy by mutual agreement' and 'Making significant changes to an open academy'. 'Making significant changes to an open academy' has been updated for January 2022.

  4. Updated the 'Full business case application form' and the 'Fast track application form'.

  5. Updated 'Making significant changes to an open academy and closure by mutual agreement' document.

  6. Updated page title and summary.

  7. New version of 'Making significant changes to an open academy and closure by mutual agreement' added along with updated fast track and full business case application forms.

  8. Updated information on fast track and business case applications, new school places, and the roles of regional schools commissioners and headteacher boards.

  9. A revised 'Preparing a business case for a significant change at an existing academy' advice document and a business case guide document have been added to this page.

  10. First published.

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