Free schools: pre-opening guide

The processes proposer groups will need to follow and the resources they can use to open successfully.

Applies to England



The guide sets out the legal requirements that proposer groups will need to follow.

The annex contains resources such as checklists,checklists briefs and resourcesbriefs that can help proposer groups organise effectively and open on time.

Published 30 September 2014
Last updated 422 AugustSeptember 2022 + show all updates
  1. The 'Free schools: pre-opening guide' and 'Annexes A to F: checklists and briefs' have been updated.

  2. Removed references to DfE coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance.

  3. Updated 'Free school pre-opening guide' and 'Annexes A to F: checklists and briefs'.

  4. Converted PDF file to HTML and added Annexes A to F as a separate document. The guide contains updates to some processes following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  5. Updated guidance for June 2019.

  6. Updated guidance as of May 2018.

  7. Updated guidance to reflect our current policies on funding, governance, admissions and other important areas that projects must comply with during pre-opening.

  8. Updated guide for groups who got approval in September 2016 to open a free school (wave 11).

  9. Updated document with changes to information on safeguarding, inclusivity and religious character, funding and financial governance.

  10. Document updated with changes to the admissions, procurement and governance sections.

  11. Updated document. Revised sections include: governance, funding, site and buildings, admissions and religious character. Added information on inclusivity, school food, and proposer groups.

  12. First published.