Designing a free school
Advice for people setting up free schools including the skills you will need, the people you should involve and how you can get the best design quality for your school buildings and grounds.
The government is making it possible for charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers and groups of parents to get involved and set up their own ‘free’ school. Free schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand.
As someone setting up a free school, you will be acting as a client for a school building project. The client is the person (or group of people) that owns or commissions the project and they are responsible for defining the school’s vision and overseeing the building project. Your building project could involve a new building, refurbishment and work to the school’s grounds.
Clients play a crucial role in completing a successful building project. This advice will help you become a good client and to complete a successful project for your free school:
- Principles of being a good client
Clients for school building projects need to provide strong leadership, maintain good organisation and make decisions based on informed advice.
- Why school buildings and grounds are important
Despite the challenges presented by a tough financial climate, we must not lose focus on the quality of the places where young people learn.
- How to get good quality school buildings and grounds
Follow our three principles to creating facilities that are fit for the purpose of teaching to be learning in your free school.
- Planning what you need
Use these activities to generate discussion and ideas about your school space and how it can best be used to achieve educational outcomes in the short and long term.
- Experts you may need
You will not be working on your own creating your school. Every school project needs a design team, which is made up of professionals from several disciplines.
- Project outline for setting up a free school
The task of creating a free school can be broken down into four phases – prepare, design, construct and use.
You can also read advice on how to create well-designed school buildings and grounds, when you understand the basics outlined above. More information on the process of setting up a free school can be found on the New Schools Network website.