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Free School Presumptions

2 new 210 place primary free schools to serve new housing at Fradley, Lichfield and new housing at Pye Green, Cannock are to open in September 2019.

Staffordshire County Council has the statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places for all children and young people living in Staffordshire. In line with the requirements of section 6A of the Education Act 2011, the council actively promotes a diverse supply of strong schools, including encouraging good schools to expand and, where there is a need for a new school, seeking proposals for a free school.

The new primary free schools will be 210-place mainstream, co-educational primary schools for Reception to Year 6 age groups, plus early years provision. Both are likely to increase beyond 1FE as the housing developments increase and this additional accommodation would be provided by the county council.

The new schools will build pupil numbers incrementally, increasing by one year group each year. This means that upon opening, in September 2019, the free schools will admit children into the Reception year group only. In September 2020, the schools will admit into Reception and Year 1 year groups.

The county council is now seeking proposals from Academy Trusts, already familiar with or new to the area, who are able to deliver high quality education and establish the primary school ready for opening in September 2019.

The school specification and application form, for Fradley, can be found below.

School specification (1,084 KB)

Word DocumentApplication form (91 KB)

The school specification and application form, for Pye Green, can be found below.

PDF DocumentSchool specification (1,084 KB)

Word DocumentApplication form (91 KB)

The closing date for submission of bids is 5pm on 2 March 2018. The county council contact for this opportunity is Geoff Crockett, County Manager for Education at geoff.crockett@staffordshire.gov.uk .

NB: It is the sponsor’s responsibility to check here regularly for any additional information provided by the county council during this process.


Please note the following updates to the Free School Presumptions at Pye Green and Fradley (as at 13 February 2018)

1. As you will be aware the timing of the opening of many new free schools are dependent upon housing build out rates. Following the latest information from local developers and the district council the opening date for the new primary free school at Fradley will now be September 2020. The opening date for the primary free school at Pye Green remains September 2019.

2. Please note we intend to undertake interviews of short listed applicants for both free school presumptions on Tuesday 17 April 2018. It is our expectation that that the CEO of the Trust would be present to respond to questions in support of the bid, together with any other trust representatives.

3. In January 2018, Staffordshire’s Schools Forum approved revised criteria and increased allocations for the funding of brand new primary free schools. This means that the “Revenue Funding Sources” on page 8 of the Free School Presumptions are amended to:

“Pre-Opening Start-Up Costs:

Allocation Formula – a one-off allocation of £65,500 for any primary school, generally paid up to two terms before the opening of the new free school.  New schools would be able to use the allocation as they considered appropriate.

Post-Opening Start-Up Costs:

Resources: Allocation Formula – this would be calculated as £7,000 per 30 places created (excluding nursery).  For example, a one FE 210-place primary school would create 210 places and receive a one-off allocation of £49,000 and a two FE school would receive £98,000.  This funding would be paid over the first three years that the free school was open, proportionate to the build-up of pupil numbers.

Diseconomies of Scale and Financial Viability: In the years after opening, an amount would be paid annually based on the number of “empty cohorts” due to incremental year groups being admitted.  The amount would depend on how many year groups with pupils aged 5-11 were empty, as set out below:

Table for a one FE school – a two FE school would receive double:

Empty Cohorts 654321Total
1FE Primary   £40,250 £33,750 £27,000 £20,250 £13,500 £6,250 £141,500

The DfE also provides a one-off grant of £25,000 to the successful proposer for the legal costs associated with establishing a new free school through the Free School Presumption route.”

4. Please note that there may be an interview of short listed applicants where it would be expected that the CEO of the Trust would be present. If this takes place please ensure your availability on Tuesday 17 April 2018


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