NSN has supported free school groups in pre-opening since 2014. NSN’s unrivalled knowledge and experience has been informed by its work with over two-thirds of open and approved free school groups throughout the application and pre-opening phases.

NSN recognises that finding and securing a site and premises for an approved free school is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks of the pre-opening period. Successfully securing a site, as well as designing and constructing buildings that support a specific educational vision, is largely dependent upon a free school group’s ability to foster effective working relationships with a wide array of stakeholders.

NSN’s Site Advisory Service helps you to navigate this complex process, ensuring the best outcomes for staff and students. Every aspect of the service has been developed to complement the support provided by local authorities, LocatED and the ESFA. The service includes:

Access to a named NSN Adviser

NSN Advisers possess an unparalleled knowledge of regional and national free school processes. They have experience working with every free school type (i.e. mainstream, special and alternative provision) and route (i.e. central, local authority presumption and special free school competitions). Named Advisers serve as a trust’s primary point of contact at NSN. NSN Advisers design and deliver personalised support plans for each group; organising meetings around ESFA milestones, and directing you towards key premium resources as and when appropriate.

Access to NSN Site Specialists

NSN’s deep institutional knowledge is supplemented by its team of Site Specialists – experienced specialists with strong track records delivering complex free school capital projects. The Site Advisory Service provides you with direct access to Site Specialists’ expertise through a series of Milestone Meetings. During the course of these meetings, NSN’s Advisers and Specialists seek to de-risk the capital process by identifying and mitigating risks early and exploring workable solutions.

Detailed feedback from in-depth meetings with NSN Specialists and NSN Advisers

Following each meeting, comprehensive minutes, detailed feedback and additional resources are provided.

A comprehensive and exclusive suite of premium resources about all aspects of pre-opening

Rather than duplicating existing support provided by the ESFA or the DfE, NSN’s premium resources elucidate some of the more complicated, nuanced and technical aspects of the pre-opening process. 

Find out more about the other Delivery Programme services