How we can help

New Schools Network provides a range of services to support free school applicants, all of which are free of charge. 

We have many resources and services that are available to all free school applicants, and we also have a more extensive support package - our Development Programme - that you can enrol on. More information on these services is below.

Make sure you register with NSN to get the latest news and alerts about our support.

Development Programme

The Development Programme includes an extensive range of support services, which we tailor according to your needs. It is free to access, like all our applicant support, but we ask applicants to enrol onto the programme so that we can find out more about your proposal, and how we can best support you.

Our enrolment window for free school applicants aiming to submit an application to the DfE in the Wave 13 application round has now closed. We are not going to have another window until the DfE have released the new criteria for this round. However, we are still accepting groups onto the Development Programme on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to access this support, please contact us at

For more information about the Development Programme and how to enrol, please visit our Development Programme page.

Support for all groups

We have a range of services available that can be accessed by all applicants. Any group can access our detailed library of online resources or contact us with questions or information requests, and we run regular open-access events:

  • You can book a one-to-one meeting to talk through your free school plans with one of our Advisers.
  • We hold our Roadshow events across the country throughout the year. This is a half-day workshop designed to help you get started on your application. As part of this event you can also access a one hour meeting with one of our advisers. Register for your place at an event.
  • Groups can access our full guidance on applying for mainstreamAP and special schools, as well as all other resources on our website;
  • You can contact us by email ( or phone (020 7537 9208 or 0161 638 8613) to ask further questions.
  • You can review the most frequently asked questions;

NSN does not

  • Write applications for groups – it is important that the application reflects your own work and capacity.
  • Advise you on the outcome of your application – we are not part of the DfE and only they can tell you whether you have been accepted.
  • Determine government policy – we will, like many charities, ask government to change policy but we are not part of the government.
The Development Programme is our most intensive level of support. It is free to access, like all our support, but groups need to apply for a place.
We offer all free school applicants a one-to-one meeting to talk through their plans with one of our Advisers.