The DfE has now released details on the latest wave of special (SEN) and alternative provision (AP) free school applications.
It has announced that they are committed to delivering around 30 new SEN and AP schools across England. Essentially, the process will be similar to the local authority (LA) commissioned special school round which was launched last year, following a two-stage application process.
The first stage of the application will require LAs to submit bids for the type of new special or AP schools they want, along with evidence of need for that type of school in their authority to ensure the DfE are “putting special and AP free schools in the places where good new schools are most beneficial and needed”. Each LA is permitted up to two bids to the DfE which must be submitted by midday on the 15th October 2018.
Once the DFE have reviewed these submissions it is expected it will announce the successful LAs in early 2019. It will approve approximately 30 LA led competitions to find a provider to run the schools. Competitions will then launch where proposer groups will be invited to submit applications that will be jointly assessed by the LA and the DfE, with final approval by the Secretary of State.
The DfE has also updated the national funding formula (NFF) for 2019-2020 to include information about how new free schools’ baselines will be calculated.
Further details on how to apply and the assessment criteria can be found here.
If you are interested in applying, or in requesting that your LA applies, Premier Advisory Group is here to help. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our Client Director Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org