The Department expects that the free schools route will be the main route for establishing new schools in England. Where local authorities identify the need for a new school, section 6A of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 requires them to seek proposals to establish a free school.
However, it remains possible for proposers to publish proposals for a new local authority maintained school at any time in a limited set of circumstances.
The table attached sets out the number of new provision local authority maintained schools established compared to the number of free schools, since the 2015/16 academic year.
There is one foundation school proposed to open in 2019/20 and 284 pipeline free schools.
On 29 May 2019, the Department announced the outcome of the first round of the Voluntary Aided Capital Scheme, which gave in-principle agreement for the Department to fund the establishment of a new voluntary aided school. The Department also placed two further bids on hold whilst we work with the proposers to identify a suitable site for their proposed school. The successful proposer will now need to follow the statutory process for establishing a new maintained school. The local authority will be responsible for making the final decision as to whether to approve the school.
 This data is taken from Get Information about Schools (GIAS). Responsibility for updating GIAS is shared between the Department, local authorities and schools and is continuously updated. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data. This data includes schools whose reason for opening is listed as ‘new provision’ on GIAS. The Ofsted definition of a mainstream maintained state school does not include nursery provision, special schools or alternative provision.