An academy is a school that operates independently of the Local Authority, providing free education to pupils of all abilities, supported by sponsors from education, business, faith or voluntary groups.
Sponsors are responsible for improving the performance of their schools and the sponsoring Trust employs the academy staff.
Sponsors and the DfE provide the capital costs for the Academy. Running costs are met in full by the DfE, the same as in a Local Authority school.
All new schools will follow this model. The guidance for existing schools has recently been updated in a DFE Press Release: