The most recent application wave, which closed in November last year, saw 124 free school groups send in submissions. These applications were explicitly targeting areas of long-term educational underperformance in addition to providing school places where they were most needed, based off a list provided by the Department for Education (DfE).
Today’s announcement follows similar lines, with the criteria outlining different ways applicants can demonstrate the educational need of an area, looking at social mobility ‘cold spots’, existing poor school results or low Ofsted standards. A key difference though is that applicants will need to identify areas for themselves, and build the case for a new school there.
An NSN Spokesperson said: “We’re delighted that the DfE have opened the new application window. Free schools are providing an outstanding quality of education across the country, and today’s announcement means that they will continue to be focused in areas where they can make the most impact.
“The programme is going from strength to strength, and we look forward to working with all types of groups over the coming months. We are immediately launching our Development Programme to offer intensive support to free school groups, and would suggest anyone interested in opening a school gets in touch.”