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FOIA Schedule I Part IV includes:

52A - (1) The proprietor of an Academy, in respect of information held for the purposes of the proprietor’s functions under Academy arrangements.
  • (2) In sub-paragraph (1)—

The latter definition is simple enough:

“proprietor”, in relation to a school, means the person or body of persons responsible for the management of the school ...

"Academy arrangements" are slightly complicated, but the essential part is that a person known as "the other party" must undertake:

(a) to establish and maintain an independent school in England ...
(b) to carry on, or provide for the carrying on of, the school.


(10) A school to which Academy arrangements relate is to be known as an Academy.

From this, it's fairly clear that the proprietor (and hence the public authority for FOI purposes) is not necessarily the "other party" (commonly known as the sponsor), particularly if they've delegated the management of the school to someone else.

The Academies Act 2010 provides for the creation of new Academies by the Secretary of State's entering into Academy arrangements with any person. In addition, it provides for converting existing schools into Academies by means of Academy orders. There doesn't seem to be any requirement for a register of Academies to be kept or for changes to be made by SI or similar. Before that Act came into force, similar arrangements under section 482 of the Education Act 1996 applied.

The old DSCF Web site has a convenient directory of Academies. The new DfE one has a list of Academies opened in September 2010. A list can also be generated by searching Edubase (select 'Academies').

Academies are designated bodies for the Whole of Government Accounts.

WhatDoTheyKnow tag: academies