More than 1,200 schools have now applied to become academies, it has been revealed.
Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that 179 schools have expressed interest in converting to academy status in the last month alone.
Of the 1,244 schools that have applied since June 2010, 832 have been approved and around half of these have already converted and opened.
"Outstanding schools were invited to apply for academy status from June 2010. This offer has since been extended to special schools and any other school that is performing well," the DfE said.
"Strong schools that convert to academy status are expected to support other local schools that could benefit from improvement."
Unlike ordinary schools, academies are free from local and national government control.
Speaking earlier this year, education secretary Michael Gove said schools want the freedom to decide what is best for their pupils and to be free to be creative in the classroom.