Create: Schools


Create: Schools is a DfE-funded support service that has been established by PAG to support free school proposers during the application stage of opening a new free school through the central waves. Our highly experienced Advisors provide bespoke guidance across mainstream, special education and alternative provision (AP) routes.

    Mainstream Wave 15


    Proposers, including academy trusts, schools and other organisations, can now submit an expression of interest (EOI) form to open a new free school and have until 16 September to do so. At this stage, the expression of interest form only asks for the proposed size, phase/age and proposed postcode for the free school. The information provided here will not form part of the final assessment.

    The How to Apply Guide and application form for the mainstream round will be sent out in July and proposers will have until 31 October 2022 to apply.

    Special Wave 3


    To open a special free school, local authorities are first invited to apply to establish a free school and, if approved, will invite proposer groups to complete an application to open the school.

    Joint applications may be made where multiple LAs will be commissioning places at the school. Local authorities must pre-register by 11 July if they are considering submitting a bid and applications submitted by 21 October 2022.

    In addition to this, Bury Council is currently seeking applications from proposer groups to establish a new special free school as part of the central free school round; the deadline to submit a bid is 21 October 2022. Find out more here.

    AP Wave


    AP free schools will be opened as part of a partnership. Joint applications may be made where multiple LAs will be commissioning places at the school. Local authorities must pre-register by 11th July if they are considering submitting a bid.  

    The lead applicant is to submit the application and will have legal responsibility for the new free school. The lead applicant will complete the pre-application form between 12 September and 17 October 2022 and submit the completed application form by 17 February 2023.  


    No matter where proposers are in their free school application journey, our Advisors are here to turn your vision into a reality. We provide an extensive range of services, all of which are completely free to local authorities and proposers, including: a helpdesk service, resources and tools, data analysis, guidance for local authorities (LA), template documents, masterclasses, workshops, bid reviews, access to external partners, networking opportunities, partnership liaison and much more.  

    If you would like to find out more, please see the Create: Schools website here, or you can complete our initial engagement form here and an Advisor will be in touch shortly.  

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