Hard federations: process

Find out what a hard federation between maintained schools is and be clear about the process you need to follow to form one. If you're federating, publish your proposals using our report template.

Last reviewed on 7 October 2022See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3400
  1. What is it?
  2. Before deciding to federate
  3. Proposing to federate and the consultation process
  4. Steps to take after agreeing to proceed with the federation
  5. Regulations you must follow as a federation
  6. Tips for smooth federation
  7. Leaving or dissolving a federation

What is it?

A 'hard federation' is a formal arrangement where 2 or more maintained schools share a single governing board. 

This is different from a 'soft federation', where 2 or more maintained schools formally collaborate (such as through joint committees and joint board meetings) but don't form 1 governing board.

This is outlined in part 2 of The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012section 24 of the Education Act 2002, and on page 66 of the Governance Handbook.

Each federated school is still treated as an individual school

Keeps its existing Department for Education (DfE) category and doesn't gain, lose, or change its religious character through being part of a federation Continues to have its admissions determined by the appropriate admissions authority Receives individual budgets (but, the local authority (LA) can allocate this as a single budget to the federated governing board, who can decide to pool funds) Is inspected individually by Ofsted Can still