Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between academies and free schools?
Free schools are legally academies. They are held accountable through the same mechanisms – principally the Funding Agreement between the Secretary of State for Education and the Academy Trust which operates the free school or academy. However, free schools are set up through a specific application process. There are therefore some requirements for free schools that are not the case for academies. Specifically: free schools must be in response to local demand. Free schools are completely new state schools. This means groups wishing to set up a free school can think from first principles about the kind of school they would like to establish.
Where will the school be situated?
It is proposed that a brand new, state-of-the-art school will be located about one mile north of Nuneaton town centre, at the Top Farm housing development off Higham Lane in Weddington. http://landattopfarm.com/
Who provides capital funding to free schools?
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), which is part of the DfE, provides all funding for free schools including capital funding. The ESFA will pay for the purchase and lease of the building or land as well as any building work or refurbishment that needs to be done.
What financial support do free schools receive in pre-opening?
If a free school is approved, the school will receive a Project Development Grant from the DfE in the pre-opening phase of the project - after the application has been approved, but before the school opens. This is to enable the school to complete all the tasks in the run up to the school opening.
Who can apply for a school place? Are free schools selective?
No. Free schools have to follow the National School Admissions Code, the Appeals Code and admissions legislation like all state-funded schools. The School will be open for all students to attend who meet the admissions criteria. This will be clearly indicated in our Admissions Policy.
How can I apply for a place for my child?
Details of the admissions procedure will be made available on this website once the school is granted permission to open by the Department for Education.
Why are you proposing to open with only Year 7 students?
Admissions to the new school are taking place where a basic need for places has been identified. We believe that it is important to begin with one year group at a time to establish the School’s unique culture and ensure that each student fully benefits from the curriculum offer over their full five years at the School.
Will the school be inspected by Ofsted?
Yes. All free schools are subject to inspection in the same way as other state-funded maintained schools and academies. The School will also be inspected by Ofsted prior to opening and will be subject to termly visits from the Department for Education during its first year.
How will the school be held accountable for its performance?
The School will be run by a locally recruited Local Advisory Board who will be accountable to the academy trust which oversees the school. In addition, the school will be accountable to the Department for Education through the terms of its Funding Agreement.
How are free schools governed?
Free schools are a type of academy. A free school is run by an independent charitable company called an Academy Trust, rather than the Local Authority. An Academy Trust is made up of members and directors. Directors act as the governors of the school and are held to account by the members.
Have you chosen a Headteacher for the new school?
Should our application to the DfE be successful, we would then look to appoint a substantive Headteacher during the pre-opening phase and will be advertising nationally to attract the best candidates.
Can free schools make a profit?
No. Free schools are run on a not-for-profit basis by a charitable Academy Trust. The school will be run by the Headteacher and their leadership team and they will be answerable to a Local Advisory Board.
If the new school opens, will that mean less funding for the other schools in the area?
No. Funding for free schools will be equivalent to the funding of maintained schools and academies in the same local authority area. The opening of a free school does not mean that the overall funding available in an area goes down. However, the total funding an individual school receives will depend on the number of students who attend.
How will the new school meet the needs of the local community?
Please complete the short form to help shape our vision for Higham Lane North Academy Free School to the needs and ambitions of the community it will serve. Give Your Views