New Schools Network (NSN) is launching a new range of services, from site advice to project management support, aimed at the 300+ free school groups that have been given the green light by the Department for Education but which have not yet opened.
NSN has worked with over two-thirds of the 400 or so free schools that have opened to date so it has a wealth of experience in this area. Its new Delivery Programme has been designed to comply with the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency guidance, and focuses on the areas where free schools need the most help, such as finding suitable sites.
NSN is launching this Programme for a couple of reasons. First, the 300+ schools in the pipeline need support if they are going to open in time to provide the new places we need by 2022; and second, NSN believes its experience of working with free school groups since 2009 means it can offer a service that’s as good as the best commercial providers in the sector.
The NSN Delivery Programme consists of four different strands:
Foundation Advisory Service: This core advisory service, which NSN has been providing to all free schools in pre-opening since 2011, will still be available free of charge.
Site Advisory Service: A paid-for service designed to help groups navigate the complex process of securing a site. Includes access to experts in the field.
Essentials Advisory Service: A paid-for service focusing on the key areas that groups have to get right if they are going to open successful schools, such as pupil recruitment, admissions, consultation, finance, governance, curriculum planning and staffing.
Project Management Partnerships Service: A paid-for service aimed at groups that are planning to outsource some or all of the project management. Includes access to experienced professionals who have successfully managed free school projects.
Toby Young, Director of New Schools Network, said:
”I am really excited about the launch of the Delivery Programme. I know from first-hand experience just how complicated the pre-opening process can be. NSN has spent the last three years developing these services in consultation with dozens of school leaders and we believe they are exactly what free schools need to navigate the pre-opening process.”