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New school opportunities

21 March 2019

Application Process to sponsor a new special Free School in Essex

March 2019

The DfE has approved funding for a new special Free School in Essex which is likely to be situated on the site of Passmore School in Harlow, Essex.

Essex County Council is inviting applications to sponsor a 64 place special Free School for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health problems. The 64 places include 15 Monday to Thursday boarding places and it is anticipated that all places will be commissioned by Essex County Council.

Full details of the required provision are set out in the Essex County Council Specification Document.

Essex County Council intends to hold an information event for all interested organisations on a date to be confirmed.  Details of the event will be advertised in due course. To reserve places now please email, you will be notified of the details as soon as they are available.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted by noon on 30th September 2019.

Proposer groups will submit their applications to both Essex County Council and the DfE via email. Proposers are also required to submit one hard copy to ECC and two hard copies to the DfE at the address provided in the application guide.

Multi Academy Trusts interested in bidding to sponsor the school must first complete a Pre-Registration Form.

Application Form

The application forms are on the DfE website and documents available are:

  • Special and Free School Application Guidance and Criteria for proposer groups
  • Special and AP Free Schools Excel application form: Sections A and B
  • Special and AP Free Schools Word Application Form: Section C to F

Invitation to Submit Proposals to Sponsor a new Primary Free School Provision in Colchester

February 2019

Essex County Council is inviting applications to sponsor a new primary free school in new buildings on the Lakelands Development, Stanway, Colchester.
The new primary school will open in September 2020. Once operating at full capacity it will deliver 420 primary school places.

Fuller details may be found in the invitation to submit a proposal.


Potential sponsors should first register their interest with the County Council by emailing at the earliest opportunity, and then complete the application form and submit it, together with their full proposal, to that same email address by close on 11 April 2019. 
The full proposal should provide additional materials and information, to demonstrate comprehensively how the proposal meets the application criteria and DfE requirements.

Potential sponsors may also be interested in the New Schools Network.