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Frequently Asked Questions
Free schools Frequently Asked Questions
Can an existing maintained school become a free school?
No. Free schools are brand new schools which have been set up in order to meet local demand. However, an Independent school can apply to become a free school and is then a state funded Independent school.
Will I need to get approval from my local authority before setting up a free school?
No. The local authority (LA) does not need to approve plans to open a free school. LAs can play a helpful part in the process for any groups setting up a free school, using their skills, experience and knowledge to help facilitate the process.
How will admissions to free schools work?
Free schools will be bound by the same Admissions Code that governs all publicly funded schools. Free schools are expected to be open to pupils of all abilities and have admission arrangements which are fair and transparent. Parents apply for a place for their child at the school in the same way as they would with any other school.
What support can I expect when applying to open a free school?
Any group hoping to open a new free school can expect to receive all the help and advice that they need from The New Schools Network, which provides initial guidance and advice, so the right decision can be made.
Any group who is committed to opening a free school, or has a plan under development, can seek advice from the DfE.
How is a free school funded?
Like academies, free schools are funded on a comparable basis to other state-funded schools. Groups running free schools cannot make a profit.