Development Programme - Q&A |

Development Programme - Q&A

A list of the most common questions related to our Development Programme.

I don't know if I meet your criteria or not.

Our enrolment form should give you an indication of what we are looking for from groups, and we do not expect your plans to be fully developed by any means at this stage. Any group can have a free one-to-one meeting with one of our Advisers where we will talk through your plans and tell you what you need to do to get onto our Development Programme.

Why is it worth me applying?

If you are successful you will get access to the services outlined here. 100% of those who have received this support in the past said it was helpful.

If you are not accepted onto the Programme the first time, we will give you detailed feedback on where you need to improve to be successful with us and with the DfE. And you can always reapply for our support in a later application round.

Are NSN effectively an authoriser for the DfE?

No. NSN supports groups with their applications but we are not part of the Department for Education and only they can tell you whether your application has been approved. Being accepted on to our Development Programme will not affect the way in which the DfE will assess your free school application.

Are there any circumstances in which I would be removed from the programme?

There are a number of reasons why you might not be allowed to receive more of our support:

  • If we approve your place on the Programme with conditions that you are unable to meet within an agreed timescale.
  • If we feel your application is not developing or you are not meeting the deadlines you have agreed and committed to with your adviser. You will receive warnings if this is the case, and you will be given the opportunity to explain or rectify the situation before we take any action.
  • We do reserve the right to stop offering assistance to any group that causes us major concern for any other reason or we feel risks us meeting our charitable objectives.

You can also ask us any questions about your application by emailing us at or by calling our helpline (020 7952 8558). We will get back to any enquiry within ten working days and usually within two working days.