Setting up a free school

To set up a free school, you’ll need to apply through the Department for Education (DfE).

A free school can be set up by groups like:

  • academies
  • businesses
  • charities
  • community or faith groups
  • independent schools (private, fee-paying schools)
  • parents
  • schools maintained by local authorities
  • teachers
  • universities

All applications to set up a free school must be approved by the Secretary of State for Education. You must meet all of the criteria in the application guidance.

Apply to open a free school

The 2018 deadline for mainstream free school applications is midday on 17 September.

Find out how to apply and download the forms you need to complete.

The charity New Schools Network has more information for people interested in setting up a free school.

You can search for government property and land available to rent or buy for your school. You can also find data for other schools in the area.