Apply to open a special or alternative provision free school

Guidance for groups interested in opening a special free school or alternative provision free school.

This publication was withdrawn on

These forms are no longer active. In summer 2018 we will launch an expression of interest round for local authorities, details of which will be posted here.


Free school applications: criteria for assessment - alternative provision schools

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The guidance on this page is for information purposes only. New guidance and criteria for new special and alternative provision free schools will be published in summer 2018.

More information on opening a free school is available.

Special free schools are free schools for children with special educational needs or disabilities.

Alternative provision free schools are for children who cannot go to a mainstream school.

Published 13 November 2013
Last updated 29 July 2016 + show all updates
  1. Added application forms and assessment criteria for wave 12.
  2. Updated assessment criteria and application forms.
  3. Updated documents with wave 10 information.
  4. Documents updated in preparation for Wave 9 applications.
  5. Updated 'Special free school application form: sections C to F'.
  6. Added updated 'Special free school application form: sections C to F'.
  7. Updated downloads for sections A,B,H and C F
  8. Updated 'Special free school application: criteria for assessment' document.
  9. Added financial template to help groups opening a special free school plan their budget.
  10. Updated with wave 8 information.
  11. Updated documents for wave 7 application.
  12. First published.