Open and pre-open free schools |

Open and pre-open free schools

NSN has supported open free schools since 2009 by providing advice, training and networking opportunities. Our dynamic and adaptable team has built a solid reputation for professionalism and expertise.

NSN’s deep institutional knowledge is supplemented by its team of Specialists – experienced specialists with strong track records supporting complex free school projects and growing MATs. Collectively, NSN’s Advisers and Specialists have worked on over 500 free school projects – ranging from supporting groups in the preopening phase, to setting up and working in free schools.

To find out more about our support for open free schools, see below. For a PDF version, please click here. If you have any further questions or queries, please contact

All support for open free schools is free and includes:

Specialist meetings
NSN’s team of Specialists are on hand to offer guidance to open free schools on a number of issues.
Media training
An intensive session with an experienced media trainer to prepare free school leaders for media engagement.
NSN Spotlight visits
These regular events provide free school leaders with an opportunity to visit other high-performing free schools to share best practice.
In association with external partners, NSN facilitates a series of events, workshops and seminars to discuss issues affecting open free schools.
Book a visit to your school
NSN is keen to visit as many free schools as possible, to learn more about the exciting things you are doing and help support you.
Q&A service
A helpdesk service for all free schools, NSN answers any questions you may have over the telephone or by email.
All open free schools receive a regular update from NSN with information about upcoming events, policy news and links to useful resources.
NSN develops guidance to support free schools with the challenges of opening and running a new school.

"We very much felt that they were the experts in supporting free school applicants and we're very grateful to them for their support."

"NSN offered thoroughly professional and knowledgeable insight, advice and challenge."

"The workshops and the advice that you're getting, the people who are presenting and sharing information with you are absolutely involved in the free schools process."

"NSN is a really great organisation – they have been so open"

"NSN support is really good - I rely on NSN for anything I can receive help with"

"We go to NSN for advice, I think they’re a great organisation. It’s always nice to know that they are there and they’re open – and I think of them if we experience any challenges"

“Excellent support as a sounding board for exploring ideas and developing individual issues relevant to our school”

“Just a really professional team who always offer first class advice”

“The training is of far higher standard than other education training providers I have experienced”

"Knowing people are available over the phone who have great experience, understanding and insight was very reassuring”