Why should I choose New Schools Network?

Since 2009, NSN has been the driving force behind the free schools policy. NSN has worked with over two thirds of open free schools nationwide, encompassing every type and provision.

Our range of experience and skills is unrivalled. Through our network of Specialists, who themselves have opened, advised and worked in free schools and our knowledge, experience and network, we are the organisation best positioned to help make your school's pre-opening process a success.    

Why is your support free during the application stage?

As an independent charity, our aim is to ensure there is a good school for every child. As groups voluntarily spend their time working on a free school application, up to the point of approval, all of our support is free of charge. We have the knowledge, experience and expertise to support proposer groups to submit a high-quality application to the DfE; groups on the NSN Development Programme are 50% more likely to be approved. As free school numbers continue to grow and we remain committed to supporting all free schools, we offer some services to groups in pre-opening for free, such as our Launch Assessment tool and the NSN Foundation Service.

The DfE give a Project Development Grant (PDG) to assist groups as they navigate the complexities and challenges of the pre-opening process. The PDG is designed to help groups meet the  demands they will  face during the pre-opening phase, particularly when their capacity is limited through other commitments. Developed to complement support from the DfE, ESFA and LocatEd, we offer a select number of groups in pre-opening the chance to purchase additional guidance through our other services: NSN Site Advisory Service and NSN Essentials Advisory Service.

How do I decide what level of support I need?

The NSN Delivery Programme offers different levels of support. All groups in pre-opening can access our core NSN Foundation Service. Groups should contact us in order to arrange a call with an NSN Adviser, the purpose of which would be for us to determine what support is required during the pre-opening process. Alternatively, by completing a Launch Assessment groups will receive a capability and capacity analysis to help determine how their existing skills, capacity and experience can be supported.

Groups who identify a need for further external support through  a conversation with a Delivery Team Adviser or by  completing the Launch Assessment may want to further discuss access to our paid-for services. These exclusive packages of flexible support will be offered to groups  in accordance with their requirements and approach.

Can I tailor the packages to my own needs?

The NSN Delivery Programme has been developed over three years by experienced NSN Advisers, our network of external Specialists, as well as existing free school leaders. All of our support builds on the guidance you will receive from the DfE, ESFA and LocatEd, and has been developed in consultation with these key stakeholders.

Although the Delivery Programme is organised into distinct services (Site Advisory and Essentials Advisory), we are prepared to be flexible in terms of what particular workstreams or features of each service a group wishes to purchase.

In practice this means it is possible to purchase a synthesis of different services. For example, a site advisory service package with some bespoke Spotlight visits included or an essentials service with a site support meeting included to guide you through your readiness to open meeting.    

Why is the Delivery Programme exclusive?

Having worked with over two thirds of open and approved free schools, NSN is in a unique position to offer the support and guidance necessary to facilitate a successful pre-opening. Our experience is unrivalled by any other organisation.

To ensure we are working with groups who will most value our support, we work only with a select number whose requirements and approach will benefit most from the NSN Delivery Programme. This also allows our team of NSN Advisers and Specialists to provide high-quality support by working only with a small number of groups.

All groups in pre-opening can access the NSN Foundation Service, as well as our Launch Assessment diagnostic tool.

What experience do you have of supporting groups in the pre-opening process?

NSN has worked with over two thirds of open and approved free schools, throughout the application, pre-opening and open phases. We have experience of providing advice and support to open free schools on all areas of pre-opening, such as governance, curriculum, finance and media. As the number of free schools continues to grow, we have refined our support services; the NSN Delivery Programme is the result of this expertise and experience.

NSN Advisers and Specialists have worked on over 500 free school projects. Ranging from supporting groups in the pre-opening phase, to setting up and working in free schools. As the leading voice for free schools, our network of open schools and schools approved to open is unmatched by any other organisation.