Can an existing fee-paying independent school become a Free School?

However, it should be noted that Free Schools cannot charge fees. Details of additional requirements for independent schools can be found in the frequently asked questions on the Free School application process.

 Can an existing maintained school become a Free School?

Free Schools will normally be either brand-new schools set up in areas where there is a demand locally, or existing independent schools converting to join the state-funded sector.
Existing maintained schools should consider applying for Academy status instead. You can find out more about this option on the Academies section.

 Can I establish a nursery Free School?

No. Free Schools can only have nursery provision as part of a primary or all-through Free School.

There are no plans to allow for free standing nursery Free Schools.

 Can I establish a special Free School?

We are also inviting applications from those wishing to establish special Free Schools.
The Green Paper - Support and Aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability - demonstrates the government’s commitment to giving all parents a real choice of school, by allowing parents to express a preference for any state funded school including Free Schools.

 What are the main differences between mainstream and special Free Schools?

The main difference is that a special Free School is specifically organised to provide for children with statements of special educational needs.
Children without statements of special educational need can only be admitted in certain exceptional circumstances.

 Do special Free Schools need to follow the National Curriculum?

Special Free Schools should ensure curriculum plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of pupils, as set out in their statements of special educational need.

 How are special Free Schools funded?

The Government is consulting on a long term funding system for schools - including special Free Schools. 
The interim funding arrangements in place include; special Free Schools to receive a base level funding of £10,000 per place; there may be additional funding from the local authority (LA) depending on individual needs.
Special Free Schools will also receive an additional grant to compensate for services that maintained schools receive free of charge from their LA.

 Can I establish a 16-19 Free School?


We are inviting applications for 16-19 Free Schools. The Education Act 2011 made provision for the establishment of 16-19 Free Schools. 16-19 Free Schools will be able to open from September 2012.

The White Paper The Importance of Teaching demonstrated the government’s commitment to 16-19 Free Schools, as a key part of our goal to drive up standards for all young people, regardless of their social background.

 Can I establish an alternative provision Free School?


We are inviting applications for alternative provision Free Schools. The Education Act 2011 made provision for the establishment of alternative provision Free Schools. Alternative provision Free Schools will be able to open from September 2012.

The government committed in the White Paper - The Importance of Teaching- to open and diversify the alternative market, by encouraging Free Schools offering high quality alternative provision for excluded children, and others without a mainstream school place.