JCB wants to convert Tutbury Mill into the academy for 540 pupils
Ministers say a Staffordshire school sponsored by digger maker JCB would provide "top class education".
JCB wants to convert Tutbury Mill at its Rocester headquarters into a school specialising in manufacturing, engineering and commerce.
Schools Minister Jim Knight said the £22m school would cater for pupils from a wide area, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Meanwhile, JCB has confirmed that 379 jobs would go.
About half would be compulsory. In July it was thought up to 700 jobs would go.
The school would teach 540 students, aged 14 to 19, from Staffordshire and Derbyshire.
Academies are independent state schools which have outside partners, high levels of investment and greater autonomy.
The students at the JCB academy will focus on key areas including languages, maths and physics, as well as extra subjects, such as maths for engineering.
Mr Knight said: "This school has the potential to be at the forefront of both diploma development and innovation in the academies programme.
"Manufacturing, engineering and international business are all central to the future success of our country's economy and it is crucial we have the best students at every level."
Paul Pritchard, head of the JCB academy project, said it would aim to "regenerate engineering and manufacturing in Britain".
The proposal for the former cotton mill, which was built in 1781, has faced opposition from some historical societies.
It was thought the plans would need to be examined in a public inquiry because they included converting the Grade II-listed mill.
But it was announced last month this would not be necessary.
The plans have been backed by Staffordshire County Council, which has agreed to become the educational guarantor to the project.