Apply to open a special or alternative provision free school

Guidance, assessment criteria and bid forms for local authorities seeking to establish new special or alternative provision free schools.


Form for special or alternative provision free school bids

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We are looking to open new special free schools and alternative provision (AP) free schools in the places where new schools are most beneficial and needed.

The guidance explains the process to follow and the criteria that all bids will be assessed against.

The bid form must be used by local authorities wishing to submit a bid.

The specification template must also be completed and submitted alongside the bid form. The completed specification document will be published in the new year, for those local authorities whose bids are successful. This is the document that trusts will view when deciding whether to apply to open the school, so local authorities should ensure that the information is appropriate and targeted, and reflects what is within the bid form.

If you are a local authority seeking to establish new special or AP free schools in your area then the deadline for submitting your bid and draft specification form is midday 15 October.

In early 2019 we will invite applications in the successful local authority areas to open around 30 special and AP free schools in total.

Published 13 November 2013
Last updated 13 August 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Specification for special or alternative provision free school bids' and 'Form for special or alternative provision free school bids'.
  2. Updated the guidance and criteria document and removed old forms and guidance.
  3. Added application forms and assessment criteria for wave 12.
  4. Updated assessment criteria and application forms.
  5. Updated documents with wave 10 information.
  6. Documents updated in preparation for Wave 9 applications.
  7. Updated 'Special free school application form: sections C to F'.
  8. Added updated 'Special free school application form: sections C to F'.
  9. Updated downloads for sections A,B,H and C F
  10. Updated 'Special free school application: criteria for assessment' document.
  11. Added financial template to help groups opening a special free school plan their budget.
  12. Updated with wave 8 information.
  13. Updated documents for wave 7 application.
  14. First published.