Opening a free school or studio school

Documents for groups interested in opening a free school or studio school.

The New Schools Network provides information and advice on setting up a free school.

The Studio Schools Trust provides information and advice on setting up a studio school.

Applying to open a free school

Free schools are an important part of the DfE social mobility action plan ‘Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential’.

In early 2018, we’re opening the next round of free school applications and will be specifically looking for applications from areas of educational under-performance that haven’t previously benefitted from free schools.

Model funding agreements for free schools and studio schools

Financial planning

Free school administration

  1. Free school staffing issues

    • Guidance
  2. Free schools: admission and referral policies

    • Guidance
  3. Registration of free schools

    • Form
Published 31 January 2014
Last updated 27 July 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Setting up a new special school' page.
  2. Added 'Studio school revenue funding' and 'Special free school revenue funding'.
  3. Added links for information about opening a studio school.
  4. Added a link to a registration form for anyone planning to apply to set up a free school.
  5. Updated model funding agreements for groups opening a free school.
  6. Updated the pre-opening guide for all types of free school.
  7. Added the revenue funding and pre-opening budget documents under 'free school financial planning'.
  8. Added online form to register an interest in opening a free school.
  9. First published.