The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a joint special and AP free schools wave by inviting local authorities that are interested in commissioning a special or alternative provision free school to submit a bid. As part of this bid, local authorities are required to specify:
- the SEN designations the school would cater for
- the age-range (including whether a nursery is required)
- the number of places they would commission
- the top-up funding they would pay for each place
- whether residential provision is required
- where the school would be located
The DfE will assess these bids and competitions will be launched in the successful areas following the publication of the specification and proposer guidance. The timeline for the joint special and AP free schools wave is outlined below:
24th July 2018 - DfE publish guidance for local authorities
15th October 2018 - Deadline for local authorities to submit a bid to the DfE
Early 2019 - Successful bids announced and competition launched
Spring 2019 - Deadline for proposer groups to submit their application
Summer 2019- Successful providers announced
To find out more about this process, click here.
There are a number of special school competitions that are currently live. These specifications were initially approved in the pilot special schools wave which ran in 2017 and are currently seeking providers:
Bradford - deadline 9th November 2018
Essex - deadline 9th November 2018
Hounslow - deadline 9th November 2018
Halisham, East Sussex - deadline 12th November
New Schools Network supports groups applying to open special and alternative provision free schools.
If you are interested in applying for a live competition and would like to apply to join NSN's Development Programme, click here. Alternatively, you can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02075379208 .
If you are interested in applying for a special or alternative provision free school as part of the new wave you should speak to your local authority and confirm whether they are intenting to submit a bid to the DfE.