Supporting free school development

We can help you manage the entire process of setting up and opening a free school, turning your vision into reality. We will work with you and the New Schools Network (NSN) to ensure you are aware of grants, opportunities and processes relating to the free schools programme. The journey is a challenging and exciting one but there are many potential pitfalls. We will support you in targeting resources effectively to ensure that your application meets educational, financial and governance requirements. Our expert advice will support you at every stage, helping you to turn your vision into reality.

Pre-application process

We can provide:

  • support with the initial scoping exercise of establishing that your proposal demonstrates that it is fulfilling a demand and a need for pupil places
  • advice on establishing a stakeholder consultation board
  • a review of your proposed application
  • guidance on how to strengthen your application 
  • provide support from past assistant director and education advisers of the Free Schools Group / Academies Unit at the Department for Education (DfE)

We also offer additional services at competitive rates, including:

  • support in developing your education vision and plan
  • marketing and communications
  • financial planning
  • drafting your application
  • mock interviews to improve your performance

Application approved by the DfE

We can help you set up when the DfE has approved your free school application and provide a high-quality, comprehensive support service including:

  • project management support using PRINCE 2 methodologies to produce a tailored project plan that highlights key work strands and milestones
  • education advisory support tailored to meet your specific needs
  • Identifying the risks and issues associated with your project and manage them effectively using our experience from other free school projects
  • monitoring progress and ensuring resources are focused on key priorities 
  • supporting you in recruiting an outstanding leadership team for the school

Ongoing support when your school opens

When your free school opens, we can provide expert advice and support to help you:

  • successfully implement your education plan
  • make a good start to achieving pupil outcome targets
  • progress towards your first outstanding Ofsted inspection

Our comprehensive service includes:

  • developing a project plan and monitoring its progress
  • identifying and managing risks and issues
  • stakeholder and statutory consultation management
  • legal advice from high-quality legal partners 
  • managing staffing issues and HR policy development 
  • guidance and support on setting up robust finance procedures
  • property maintenance and repair.