FOI release

Free schools start-up funding

A Freedom of Information disclosure regarding free school additional funding.



  • Date requested: 7 November 2011
  • Publish date: 18 May 2012
  • Updated: 18 May 2012


Please tell me how much each of the free schools that opened in autumn 2011 received from the Department for Education in additional funding (i.e. funding that was in addition to per-pupil funds).


A number of free schools which opened have received start-up funding in addition to their per-pupil funding. Start-up funding is not usually paid to existing independent schools becoming free schools unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Start-up funding is not just provided to free schools, it is imperative for the success of any new state school. In 2011 local authorities provided start-up funding for primary schools at a level at least comparable with free schools in the same year, where funding ranged from £190,000 up to £492,000. The department has also provided funding for new secondary academies. For example: the King Solomon Academy (opened 2007), the Brent Academy (opened 2008), the Wren Academy (2008) and The City Academy, Hackney (opened 2009) all received between £634,000 and £1,374,820 of start-up funding during their first year of opening. 

The funding is designed to enable schools to cover essential initial costs, such as buying books and equipment; and to meet the costs arising as the school builds up its pupil numbers over time - as they could not otherwise meet the full cost of a headteacher and other senior staff from the per pupil funding initially received. This funding is essential to meet the additional costs associated with starting a brand new school.

Levels of start up funding received by schools vary according to the specific circumstances of individual schools, which include a number of different factors such as the size of the school, the staffing structure and relationships with existing schools which may enable savings to be made through the sharing of services. 

In determining the amount of start-up free schools receive we have sought to achieve best value for money and to reduce the overall costs of setting up a new school. Start-up funding given to free schools in 2011/12 demonstrates funding is at a level at least comparable with maintained schools and far less than has been given to new academies in previous years.

The start up funding allocated to each of the 24 open free schools for the academic year 2011/12 is shown in the table below:

School Phase Start-up funding 2011/12 (rounded)
Aldborough E-ACT Free School Primary £199,000
All Saint's Junior School Primary £81,000
ARK Atwood Primary Academy Primary £141,000
ARK Conway Primary Academy Primary £154,000
Batley Grammar School All through £0
Bristol Free School Secondary £303,000
Canary Wharf College Primary £98,000
Discovery New School Primary £63,000
Eden Primary School Primary £98,000
Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School Primary £274,000
Kings Science Academy Secondary £601,000
Krishna-Avanti Primary School Primary £163,000
Langley Hall Primary Academy Primary £215,000
Maharishi School All through £24,000
Moorlands Free School Primary £0
Nishkam Free School Primary £137,000
Priors Free School Primary £0
Rainbow Primary School Primary £126,000
Sandbach School Secondary £0
St Luke's Church of England Primary School Primary £131,000
Stour Valley Community School Secondary £493,000
The Free School, Norwich Primary £76,000
West London Free School Secondary £239,000
Woodpecker Hall Primary School Primary £76,000
Published 18 May 2012