a term for a secondary school, most common in the independent sector. With 'the' definite article, it is also a term for the higher education community generally. In England, since 2000 a (city) academy is a secondary school, centrally funded but with sponsorship from business, faith, or voluntary groups, the aim being to improve standards in areas of disadvantage. The Academy was originally the name given to the school of Plato (427-347 BCE).