How much funding will I get to run my Free School?

The annual revenue funding for Free Schools will be based on the average funding received by maintained schools and academies in the same local authority using a simple and transparent formula. The key elements are:

  • a basic local funding unit for each pupil attending the school
  • an additional local funding unit for each pupil attending the school who qualifies for free school meals
  • a grant which compensates for services that maintained schools receive free of charge from their LA - known as local authority central spend equivalent grant (LACSEG)
  • separately calculated funding for sixth form pupils
  • a fixed sum of £95,000 for each primary, or all-through school
  • a grant to cover the cost of insurance and rates
  • additional funding from the LA, for pupils with statements of special educational needs.

Further information on 2012/13 Free Schools funding can be found on the funding advice page.

 How will the revised local authority central spend equivalent grant (LACSEG) funding rates for 2012/13 affect my school’s income for 2012/13?

In order to limit turbulence, and better reflect the transfer of responsibilities from local authorities to academies and Free Schools, we have put in place arrangements to ensure that no academy or Free School will see more than a 10 per cent reduction in their LACSEG allocation when compared with what they received for the 2011/12 academic year (after adjustment for pupil numbers). In addition to this, we will top up the local authority LACSEG rate so that it does not fall below £100 per pupil in any local authority.

More information on the LACSEG funding rates for 2012/13 can be found in the link from the ‘Articles’ section of the page.

 How is LACSEG changing from 2013/14?

Changes are planned to the way in which Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent Grant (LACSEG) is calculated and paid from 2013/14, following changes to school funding arrangements. LACSEG is currently a single payment which takes account of funding for central services for maintained schools from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and council tax.

From 2013/14 the schools block element funded from the DSG will be replaced for academies and Free Schools by additional money paid as part of the institutions school budget share. The Department has also published proposals for changes to the way that local authorities, academies and Free Schools are funded for central education services funded from RSG and council tax. Our proposal is to move to a nationally-based per-pupil rate which will make the current system simpler and more transparent from 2013/14 and will address the significant national variation and year-on-year turbulence in the rates.

More information and the consultation document Replacing LACSEG: funding academies and local authorities for the functions that devolve to Academies can be accessed on the academy funding reform pages on the Department’s website. 

 How much will the Department pay Free Schools in start-up grant?

Start-up funding will be payable for new Free Schools according to individual needs. As every Free School is different, these costs will vary between projects.

 What are pre-opening costs?

Pre-opening costs are paid prior to the Free School opening. They are therefore distinct from the start-up grant, which is only payable once the school has opened.
Eligible pre-opening costs are those essential to the establishment of the Free School. For example, the recruitment and salary costs associated with getting essential staff - such as the principal designate - in place before the school opens. Non staff costs may include areas such as marketing and publicity, office facilities and admissions.