Government confirms creation of up to 75 new free schools
The Government has confirmed that thousands of additional school places will be created with the formation of up to 75 new free schools, including sixth forms, specialist, and alternative provision settings.
The first free schools are due to open in September 2025, with the Government prioritising 55 Education Investment Areas – where outcomes for pupils are currently identified as being the weakest.
The plans include the creation of 15 new mainstream free schools and standalone sixth forms, designed to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their full potential.
Other plans include a number of new alternative provision (AP) schools to help pupils who have been excluded, or are at risk of exclusion, to engage with their education, as well as offering additional behaviour and mental health support.
The Government has also confirmed funding to set up additional SEND schools, offering specialist support for pupils with autism, severe learning difficulties or social emotional and mental health conditions.
The schools can be designed to provide enhance accessibility, including specialist fixtures such as ceiling hoists, wheelchair ramps and acoustically adapted classrooms.
Local authorities across England will be able to bid for funding to create special schools which will be allocated according to demonstrated need for specialist places, and where new free schools are most needed.
For alternative provision free schools, the DfE will also be prioritising LA areas where none of the existing AP schools are currently rated ’Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, or where no AP schools currently exist. Contact Haslers for advice.