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Free school applications: updated guidance

The Department for Education has updated guidance on the free school application process for groups wishing to open from September 2016.

The Department for Education (DfE) updated the free school application guide on 27 July 2015.

The deadline for applications to establish a wave 10 free school is 7 October 2015. There will be further waves with closing dates in March and September each year for the rest of this Parliament.

The free school application guide includes information on:

  • things to know before you start
  • getting started
  • how to prepare and submit an application
  • the application, assessment and interview
  • support for applicants

The DfE has also published application forms for:

Find out more about opening a free school.

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

If you wish to apply to establish a studio school, you should apply through this free school process from wave 11 in March 2016. Further information about studio schools is available from the Studio Schools Trust.

Since 2010 the government has opened over 250 free schools, creating over 125,000 school places. We will be working towards at least 500 new free schools by the end of this Parliament. By 2020, the government will have created over 400,000 new free school places.