Open your free school successfully

The pre-opening phase is where you take the ideas your have written in your free school application and translate them into reality.

This is a crucial stage that will determine the success of your school in its first few years. There are a huge number of tasks to complete during pre-opening, but in order to be successful, you must prioritise:


The DfE’s pre-opening guide has a full checklist of activities that you must complete throughout pre-opening, along with a rough order in which to complete them.

We are keen to help free schools in any way that we can, If you are currently in pre-opening, enrol on our Pre-opening Programme today. If your free school is already open, contact us at


To help you organise your team and ensure that all activities are completed on time, you will need to develop a robust project plan, and agree on how responsibilities will be split between the steering group. We have built an interactive tool to help you manage this, which is free to use and comes populated with all of the activities included in the pre-opening guide.

With this tool you can assign tasks to your team members, set deadlines, and share information. 

Below you will find resources and events to support you throughout pre-opening.



Events and opportunities