Resources: Alternative Provision |

Resources: Alternative Provision

The resources below have been developed by New Schools Network to support groups applying to open alternative provision free schools. These resources can be filtered by category using the function on the right. It is important that these resources are used in conjunction with the Department for Education's criteria for assessment.

AP application guidance

NSN has produced a handbook for groups applying to open alternative provision free schools. This guidance should be used in conjunction with the Department for Education’s application guidance and materials. The DfE’s criteria for assessment outline the criteria that will be used to assess the sections of the application form. This handbook aims to help you fulfil these criteria to the best of your ability.


Creating your vision (mainstream)

Your overarching vision for the free school will form the basis for all other decisions about your school – from your education plan, to your staffing structure and financial template. This document explains more about how to construct your vision.


Building your team (mainstream)

Successful free school applications come from groups with diverse backgrounds. To be approved by the Department for Education you must demonstrate that you have a team with the necessary skills and expertise to set up and run a good school. This document explains more about how to approach building your team. 


Completing section D1 (AP)

Section D1 is where you will describe more specific details of your education plan, and show how your vision will manifest in your school on a day-to-day basis. This resource is aimed at AP free school applicants and highlights some of the specific areas that this type of school will need to consider.


Completing section D2 (AP)

Section D2 is where you outline your approach to monitoring pupil performance, setting challenging targets, assessment and data tracking, monitoring and evaluating teacher performance, and engaging with parents/carers about pupil progress. This resource suggests some methods for AP applicants to present their intended approaches in these areas.


Completing section D3 (AP)

Section D3 is where you outline the staffing structure that will deliver your eduacation plan, and describe your strategies for managing any reductions in funding whilst maintaining the quality of your offer. This resource provides some examples and advice specific to AP applicants.


Evidence of need (AP)

Demonstrating evidence of need for an AP free school is a key part of the application process. This document details what the DfE are specifically looking for, sets out key questions to consider, and suggests activities and resources that you could use to engage potential commissioners and the local community.


Template commissioner letter (AP)

Groups proposing an alternative provision free school will need to gather commissioning letters from commissioning schools  and/ or local authorities. This document can be used as template for requesting these letters. It highlights some of the key information that is required from your commissioners.


Setting up a company limited by guarantee (mainstream,special, AP)

This guidance explains how to set up a company limited by guarantee (CLG), which you will need to do as part of your application to open a free school. The company limited by guarantee will act as the legal body through which your group will apply to open the free school and eventually sign a funding agreement with the Secretary of State when final approval has been given for your free school to open. This document also discusses some of the important issues your group will need to consider as part of setting up the CLG.