Skip to content

Maintained schools including Federation and Collaboration

Information and guidance relating to maintained schools.

Andrew Smith

Diocesan Director of Education (DDE)

Claire Graham-Brown 

Deputy Director of Education

Maintained schools and their status

A maintained school is a school maintained by the local authority. Maintained schools can be voluntary aided (VA) schools, voluntary controlled (VC) schools or foundation schools. A school can change status, but this is rare.

These schools are managed by a headteacher and governed by a governing body. Where collaboration arrangements are in place, a single headteacher and/or governing body may oversee more than one school.

Church school protections

A summary of the differences between different types of schools showing key Church school protections can be found below.

The York Diocesan Board of Education (YDBE) provides guidance in relation to the governance and operation of Church of England schools, which supports the formal Church school protections. Please click on the button below to find out more.

Collaboration in maintained schools

Most maintained schools are governed by a single governing body, however some governing bodies of maintained schools govern more than one school: this is called a federation. This will be clear from the school’s Instrument of Government. In federated arrangements, often schools share a headteacher. 

Sometimes maintained schools don’t share a governing body, but they do share a headteacher. This is called a confederation.  

Governing bodies can collaborate in ways short of being a federation, in line with the regulations that apply to maintained schools. These collaborations may or may not involved shared headteacher arrangements.

Schools looking to collaborate in the ways indicated above will need to involve both the local authority and the YDBE at an early stage. Guidance in relation to Church school considerations for federation and confederation arrangements, and the application form that should be completed to seek YDBE’s approval, are below.

Foundation governance and key leadership appointments 

All those involved in governing and managing a Church of England school should be aware of the specific requirements in relation to church school governance and operation. 

Foundation governors have a special role in championing these and in supporting the school to ensure that they are being adhered to. Please click the button below for information and guidance relating to their appointment and role. 

The YDBE is also involved in the appointment of headteachers and executive headteachers of maintained schools. For further details, please click on the button below