Free schools: how to apply

How to apply to set up a new free school.


How to apply to set up a free school: guidance


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.

This guide is for reference only, it will be revised when the next window for applications opens. It explains the law around setting up a free school and gives information about the application process.

More information on opening a free school is available.

Contact the New Schools Network if you need more advice on how to set up a free school.

Published 22 December 2015
Last updated 29 July 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated guide with information for wave 12.
  2. First published.