Resources: Special | newschoolsnetwork.org

Resources: Special

The resources below have been developed by New Schools Network to support groups applying to open special 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.

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.

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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. 

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Completing section D1 (special)

NSN has produced discrete guidance on completing section D1 for special school applicants. This resource will give you top tips to consider when completing the section about your pupil cohort and curriculum offer.

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Completing section D3 (special)

NSN has produced discrete guidance on completing section D3 for special school applicants. This resource will give you top tips to consider when completing the section about your staffing structure.

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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.

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Completing section F1 and F2 - Capacity and capability (mainstream, special, AP)

These sections of your free school application look at the range of skills, experience and capacity of your team members. This resource offers guidance on how to complete sections F1 and F2  of the application to meet the DfE’s criteria effectively. It also discusses the range of skill sets required on your team and how to outline an effective narrative on managing this project.

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Completing section F3 - Governance (mainstream, special, AP)

Section F3 of your free school application asks you to outline the governance structure of your trust once your school is open. This resource offers guidance on how to complete section F3 of the application to meet the DfE’s criteria effectively. It explains how to usefully present information relating to your overall governance structure and what questions you should be addressing to demonstrate that your plans ensure effective decision making within your trust.

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Governance in SATs (mainstream, special, AP)

Establishing the right governance structure for your school at the outset is crucial to ensure that your school will be managed effectively and successfully. This document will help groups looking to set up a free school in a single academy trust.

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Governance in MATs (mainstream, special, AP)

Establishing the right governance structure for your school at the outset is crucial to ensure that your school will be managed effectively and successfully. This document will help groups looking to set up a free school in their multi-academy trust (MAT) or existing schools that need to create a MAT in order to establish a new free school.

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