Guidance

Free schools: how to apply

Guidance and example forms for proposers looking to set up new mainstream free schools.

Documents

How to apply to set up a mainstream free school: guidance

Wave 13 map: estimated primary places needed

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Wave 13 map: estimated secondary places needed

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Sample application form (for information only)

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Application form notes (for information only)

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Details

The ‘how to apply’ guidance explains the process to follow and the criteria that all applications will be assessed against.

The Department for Education is looking to open new mainstream free schools in areas that currently have the lowest standards and need additional school places.

The primary and secondary maps show the target areas for the latest round of applications (wave 13).

You can register your interest in creating a new free school as part of wave 13 using our online form, which is available until 1 October 2018.

The sample application form and application form notes published here (for information only) show what proposers will need to submit when the application window opens.

Once you have registered your interest, we will send you the editable application forms you need to complete.

You must register your interest in order to submit an application.

On the basis of feedback we have received from applicant groups, we have extended the deadline to submit applications to midday 5 November 2018.

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 18 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Pre-application deadline updated from 6 September 2018 to 1 October 2018.
  2. Updated the deadline text and added a new version of 'How to apply to set up a mainstream free school: guidance'. Added new version of ' Application form notes (for information only)'.
  3. Updated application guidance and associated documents for the latest wave (13) of the free schools programme.
  4. Updated guide with information for wave 12.
  5. First published.