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


Guide for independent special institutions on applying for inclusion on the Secretary of State approved list



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 2021 application window is now open: online application form.

Published 4 April 2014
Last updated 7 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance and application form for the 2021 application window.

  2. Page updated to reflect application window is closed.

  3. Updated guidance and application form for the 2020 application window.

  4. Page updated to reflect that the 2019 application window is now closed.

  5. Annual secretary of state approved list guidance reviewed and updated for 2019.

  6. Guidance updated for new application window opening.

  7. Updated guidance has been added.

  8. Public change note : Policy and process guide made into one guide

  9. Updated guidance added

  10. Updated documents for Spring application round

  11. Updated EFA and DfE autumn term processes and an application form added.

  12. Updated application guide

  13. Added the guide to support completion of the application form for inclusion on the Secretary of State approved list

  14. First published.