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Resources

Communications and consulting: S10 consultation guidance

Before your free school can open, your group must run a consultation to inform the local community of your plans and receive responses. This consultation is an important part of the pre-opening stage both to raise local awareness of your plans and to satisfy the legal requirements around setting up a free school. While the DfE does not issue guidance over the form this consultation should take, NSN has put together a free guide that outlines some of the key issues you will need to consider when planning your consultation, including examples of previous high-quality consultations.

For more personalised help and guidance, as well as access to a consultation scheduling tool, you may wish to consider accessing the NSN Essentials Advisory Service or our Project Management Partnership.  

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Educational statement: Mission, vision and values

Developing a vibrant educational statement represents one of the first challenges awaiting newly-approved free school groups in pre-opening. An effective educational statement should clearly elucidate why the school is needed, what it aspires to achieve, as well as articulating how it hopes to do so. 

This short guide provides a brief overview of the purpose of the educational statement, before breaking down its component parts further.

To download this resource, you need to be enrolled on to one of NSN’s paid-for Delivery Programme services. For information about these services, please click here. Alternatively, feel free to contact us by emailing open@newschoolsnetwork.org or phone (020 7537 9208). Already a member? Login here.

Finance and procurement: Pre-opening budget guidance

As you enter the pre-opening period, you will receive a Project Development Grant (PDG) from the DfE designed to cover all non-capital costs associated with setting up your free school. You need to consider carefully how you will spend your money as efficiently as possible and to ensure the best value for money. Drawing on our associates’ expertise and previous free schools’ experience, we have put together some guidance around following public procurement regulations when spending your PDG.

The Essentials Advisory Service and the project management partnership take into account the fact that finance will have implications for the effectiveness of Delivery across all other work streams. The resources and tools that have been developed for these services have been designed to support schools to extract maximum value through careful financial planning.

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Finance and procurement: Pre-opening budgeting tool

As you enter the pre-opening period, you will receive a Project Development Grant (PDG) from the DfE designed to cover all non-capital costs associated with setting up your free school. You need to consider carefully how you will spend your money as efficiently as possible and to ensure the best value for money. Drawing on our associates' expertise and previous free schools' experience, we have created a budgeting tool which will help you decide how to allocate your money according to different work streams.

The Essentials Advisory Service and the project management partnership take into account the fact that finance will have implications for the effectiveness of Delivery across all other work streams. The resources and tools that have been developed for these services have been designed to support schools to extract maximum value through careful financial planning.

Download

Finance and procurement: Procurement guidance

As you enter the pre-opening period, you will receive a Project Development Grant (PDG) from the DfE designed to cover all non-capital costs associated with setting up your free school. You need to consider carefully how you will spend your money as efficiently as possible and to ensure the best value for money. Drawing on our associates’ expertise and previous free schools’ experience, we have put together a budgeting tool which will help you decide how to allocate your money according to different work streams. We have also put together some guidance around following public procurement regulations when spending your PDG.

The Essentials Advisory Service and the project management partnership take into account the fact that finance will have implications for the effectiveness of Delivery across all other work streams. The resources and tools that have been developed for these services have been designed to support schools to extract maximum value through careful financial planning.

Download

Governance: Growing your MAT guidance

Establishing a strong governance structure in the pre-opening period is essential to the continued success of your MAT and of your free school. During pre-opening, you will need to submit a complete governance plan to the DfE for approval. If you run one or more academies already, this plan will need to include details of how you will manage the growth of your MAT. NSN has produced a guide on things you must consider when developing your governance as your MAT grows and as your free school opens.

Your group may benefit from more tailored advice from our governance associates, you may wish to consider the NSN Essentials Advisory Services or our Project Management Partnership. These services provide access to illustrations, exemplars and expert guidance developed to support school governance and the effective growth of MATs. 

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Pre-opening guidance: Useful links and resources

Opening your free school on time and within budget is a challenging task. Our experience of working with schools during the pre-opening phase has taught us that it is easy to underestimate the quantity and complexity of the work involved.

This document offers an overview of different documents and statutory guidance from a range of organisations which you may find helpful for various tasks during the pre-opening period.

Your group may benefit from the additional support available from NSN. To find out more about the Delivery Programme, please contact open@newschoolsnetwork.org 

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Project Management: Project planning tool (2018 opening)

Having strong project management is critical in ensuring all tasks in pre-opening are completed efficiently to allow your free school to open.  Your project manager needs to have a strong understanding of the various risks and tasks that your project will involve. An introduction to these is available from our opening tools. Based on vast experience and developed in line with the DfE’s pre-opening guidance, these tools will help you consider your project management tasks and schedules when preparing to open your free school.

If you are interested in working with NSN to deliver some or all of your project management, please contact open@newschoolsnetwork.org for more information on the Project Management Partnership.  

 

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Project Management: Project planning tool (2019 opening)

Having strong project management is critical in ensuring all tasks in pre-opening are completed efficiently to allow your free school to open.  Your project manager needs to have a strong understanding of the various risks and tasks that your project will involve. An introduction to these is available from our opening tools. Based on vast experience and developed in line with the DfE’s pre-opening guidance, these tools will help you consider your project management tasks and schedules when preparing to open your free school.

If you are interested in working with NSN to deliver some or all of your project management, please contact open@newschoolsnetwork.org for more information on the Project Management Partnership.  

Download