Collection

Opening a free school

Documents for groups interested in opening a free school.

Information for groups and individuals who are interested in setting up a free school in their area.

Free schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what people say they want and need in their community to improve education for local children.

The New Schools Network can provide information and advice on how to set up a free school.

Free school application process

There are 3 waves for applications each year. Details about how to apply for May 2014 (wave 7) are now available. There will also be an application window in Autumn 2014 (wave 8).

  1. Free school application guide

    • 11 March 2014
    • Guidance
  2. Mainstream and 16 to 19 free school applications

    • 11 March 2014
    • Form
  3. Special free school applications

    • 11 March 2014
    • Form
  4. Alternative provision free school applications

    • 11 March 2014
    • Form

Guides to opening a free school

Free schools enter the pre-opening phase once their application has been approved. We have produced a series of guides for free school proposer groups – both mainstream, special, alternative provision and 16 to 19 – to steer them through this phase up to the school opening.

  1. Mainstream free school pre-opening guide

    • 6 June 2013
    • Guidance
  2. Alternative provision free school pre-opening guide

    • 6 June 2013
    • Guidance
  3. 16 to 19 free school pre-opening guide

    • 6 June 2013
    • Guidance

Free school model funding agreements

Before opening a free school, an academy trust must enter into a funding agreement with the Secretary of State setting out how the free school will operate.

Model funding agreements and annexes are available for all types of free school, with different versions for single academy and multi-academy trusts.

  1. Academy and free school: single model funding agreement

    • 28 March 2014
    • Form
  2. Mainstream free school: model memorandum and articles

    • 7 June 2013
    • Form
  3. Mainstream free school funding agreements: multi-academy trusts

    • 7 July 2013
    • Form
  4. 16 to 19 free school funding agreements

    • 7 June 2013
    • Form
  5. Special free school funding agreements

    • 7 June 2013
    • Form
  6. Alternative provision model free school funding agreements

    • 7 June 2013
    • Form

Pre-opening supplementary guides

These documents provide guidance on administrative issues for free school proposer groups preparing to open their school following a successful application.

  1. Free school model documents

    • 16 September 2013
    • Guidance
  2. Free school staffing issues

    • 27 May 2013
    • Guidance
  3. Free schools admissions

    • 27 May 2013
    • Guidance
  4. Registration of free schools

    • 5 March 2013
    • Form
  5. Free school inspections

    • 22 May 2013
    • Guidance
  6. Free school education policies

    • 31 May 2013
    • Guidance

Free schools site management guidance

  1. Free schools site management

    • 1 March 2013
    • Guidance
  2. Free schools, UTCs and studio schools: model lease

    • 2 April 2014
    • Form

Details of successful applications

  1. Free schools: successful applications and open schools - 2014

    • 7 April 2014
    • Transparency data

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