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Free Schools

We are experienced in working with all different types of free school

The free school programme aims to introduce greater local choice by establishing new schools and increases competition to drive up standards.

Free schools are state funded primary, secondary, middle or all-through schools that are independent of local authorities and are academies in law. They are funded on locally determined funding formulae in line with all other schools in the area. They are funded directly by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) on a per pupil basis. Mainstream free schools are also able to offer nursery provision, though the funding for this is provided separately. There are four main categories of free school: mainstream, 16 to 19, special and alternative provision (AP).

Free schools were created in response to local demand for improved education for children in their community. There are now 3 application deadlines every year. Further details on opening a free school and the application process, can be found here.

The free school programme aims to introduce greater local choice by establishing new schools and increases competition to drive up standards. In order to ensure quality in free schools, emphasis is placed on:

  • The capacity and capability of the proposer group and
  • The quality of the provision when the school is open.

Free schools must also provide value for money, especially in periods when capital funding is limited.

Free schools can either be brand new schools or alternatively, existing schools can apply to become a free school.

Key Freedoms for free schools are as follows:

They do not have to:

  • Follow the National Curriculum
  • Employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status
  • Follow local authority term dates or standard school hours
  • Comply with the provisions in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.

Key things you will need to consider at the outset are:

  • The type of free school you want to establish
  • The law and policy as they apply to free schools
  • The local need for the particular school you want to set up
  • The level of involvement you want to have in setting up and running the school
  • The relevant skills and experience you have to set up and run a school
  • Whether you need to access any additional expertise and how you might secure this; and
  • Potential sites for your free school.

Free Schools Documents

Free Schools News