FAQs on governance arrangements for Free Schools, including setting up a company limited by guarantee.

 How do I set up a company limited by guarantee?

Model memorandum and articles of association are available from the Department’s website. Whilst these are legal documents, and you should take care to ensure that you understand your obligations under them, they are relatively straightforward to complete. Once you have done this, you can register your company limited by guarantee online at Companies House's website.

The company limited by guarantee must have at least three members (those people who establish the company). They are responsible for appointing the Free School’s governing body.

Groups should be aware that whilst it is not impossible for a member of the company to be employed by it, for the purposes of establishing a Free School, in most cases it is undesirable. Therefore if a member of your group wants to be employed by your proposed school, you should seriously consider whether they should be a member of the company; if you decide that you do, then you would need to make the case for this in the governance section of your application.

 The application process required us to set up a company limited by guarantee before submitting an application. Must we do this?

Yes. In order to judge the capacity and capability of the applicants as part of the assessment process we need to be clear that applicants have duly considered who should be involved in the establishment and running of the school.

Applicants should set up a company limited by guarantee, using the model memorandum and articles of association, which can be found on our website. The company limited by guarantee – sometimes commonly known as the Academy Trust – is the legal entity that will be responsible for running a Free School.

Guidance on registration can be found on the Companies House website.

 Will there be financial support or advice from the Department to help us set up the company?

No. Any group that is able to successfully establish and manage a school will not find it difficult to set up a company limited by guarantee.

The Department will not offer support to groups to do this.