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School structures

Directive academy orders

Understand what a DAO is and what boards who are subject to a DAO need to know.


A directive academy order (DAO) is a legal instruction which will ultimately lead to a maintained school academising and joining a multi academy trust (MAT). In most cases, a DAO is triggered by an inadequate Ofsted judgement or being judged less than good twice.

The regional director will focus on moving the school into a trust without delay so that pupils’ outcomes can be improved as soon as possible. A sponsor trust is usually identified by the regional director and is sometimes named on the DAO.

The governing board will be expected to work constructively with their local authority and regional director to implement the DAO and facilitate academisation (as is their legal duty).

Our information sheet will help governing boards who are subject to a DAO know what to expect from the process.

The information sheet covers:

  • What is a directive academy order?
  • How long does it take to implement a DAO?
  • What does a DAO mean for the governing board?
  • Working with the sponsor trust

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