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Resources

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.

Student marketing and admissions: Marketing budget tool

A key task of the pre-opening period is recruiting your first cohort of pupils. Pupil recruitment affects almost every other aspect of your project: financial viability, curriculum planning, and staff recruitment. This tool is intended to help mainstream free school groups plan their marketing spend by setting out the main blocks of expenditure and providing suggested budget allocations for each. 

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.

Exemplar marketing strategy

A key task of the pre-opening period is recruiting your first cohort of pupils. Pupil recruitment affects almost every other aspect of your project: financial viability, curriculum planning, and staff recruitment. This exemplar strategy document delineates the main marketing aims and objectives for a fictional free school, before outlining how key stakeholders and audiences will be targeted. This document should be used in conjunction with NSN’s marketing and communications guidance and marketing budget tool, which provide further information about the specific tasks involved in each marketing phase.

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.

Section 10 Consultation: General 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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Site and buildings: DfE Free Schools Capital – Customer Journey Booklet (May 2019)

The DfE Free Schools Capital team have put together a customer journey booklet to provide an overview of the site and buildings process during pre-opening and beyond. The booklet includes information about site selection; capital approval; feasibility; procurement, design development, planning and contract for works; construction; handover and post-occupancy. The booklet also provides additional information about the roles and responsibilities of the free school capital project team.

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Project Management: Project planning tool (2022 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 of your pre-opening tasks, please contact preopen@newschoolsnetwork.org for more information. 

Download

Project Management: Project planning tool (2021 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 of your pre-opening tasks, please contact preopen@newschoolsnetwork.org for more information. 

Download

Sites and buildings: Tool 6 - Main contractor watch list

Depending on the circumstances of your project you may be offered an opportunity to observe the tendering process for your main contractor. There is very little opportunity to influence the process or its outcome, but if you have been actively engaged through the early stages, and have ensured your vision and ethos for education has been clearly articulated in feasibility studies and other documentation, you will be in a better position to assess and inform yourself on the aspects that are important to your project.

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 emailingpre open@newschoolsnetwork.org or phone (020 7537 9208). Already a member? Login here.

Download