About us

Following 13 years of success supporting communities to establish, run and improve schools, NSN will be launching the NSN Innovation Fund. We will begin providing grants to free schools and their academy trusts from Autumn 2022.

An unacceptable number of children continue to fail to reach their potential because they lack access to an excellent education. Too often, a child’s background dictates their destination in life, entrenching inequality and impacting communities for generations to come. 

Since our inception, we have passionately advocated for a future in which every child has an equal chance to succeed in life, irrespective of their background. As a grant giver, we will continue to champion this vision, and will support free schools and their trusts that share our commitment to ending educational inequality once and for all.

In line with our founding mission, the new fund – once launched – will focus on supporting recipients that are:

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NSN’s story

NSN is a national education charity set up in 2009. We achieved our original mission to cement the role of free schools in the English education system in 2022. There is now a thriving free schools community right across the country, which brings innovation and academic excellence to the system.

Free schools are an established part of the landscape, providing a rich contribution to raising standards – be that through Reach Academy Feltham in Hounslow or XP in Doncaster, Dixons in Bradford, or Derby Pride Academy – these schools have raised the bar, and are improving education in and beyond their communities.  We have been proud to play our part in supporting these schools.

NSN also delivered the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Academy Ambassadors programme between 2013-2022, which resulted in over 2,000 non-executive director, trustee, and member matches to academy trust boards. These Ambassadors – all volunteers – have brought their independent expertise, perspectives and insights from business, the professions and education to academy trusts. They have provided non-executive support at the highest level and supported executive leaders to provide the best education for their pupils through strong governance and a shared moral purpose.

NSN no longer delivers services for free schools, or the DfE’s Academy Ambassadors Programme. These were wound down in spring 2022. We are proud of this phase of our story and the legacy we leave – both in terms of supporting free schools that have raised the bar in standards, and improved education forever, and by changing the face of academy governance through the Academy Ambassadors programme, working to support some of the highest need trusts.

NSN’s values