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 5 November.

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.