Apply to become the Sponsor of the new Stockport secondary special free school

Engagement event

We're hosting an engagement event for academies and multi-academy trusts to operate the new secondary special free school proposed under the AP and Special Free Schools Wave 2.

Potential sponsors are invited to attend our event on Wednesday 12 June 2019 at 10:30am in Committee Room 2, Town Hall, Edward Street, Stockport, SK1 3XE.

To book your place, please email

We've a responsibility to make sure there are enough school places and childcare for children in our Borough. Where we know that we do not have enough places, we’ll work with schools, trusts and partners, to expand existing schools and to open new free schools, as necessary.

We've identified the need to establish a new secondary special free school and to do this we must bid to the Department for Education (DfE).

In the Department of Education (DfE) announcement on 11 March 2019, Stockport was named as one of 39 local authorities which have been awarded new special free schools, subject to certain processes and obligations.

In accordance with legislation we are now seeking proposals from academies and multi-academy trust sponsors to open the new secondary special free school by the target date of September 2021.

Please note that the ex-primary school site Orrishmere is proposed as the site for the free school.

To register your interest, you can download the following documents:

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2019.

The DfE will assess all proposer group applications with our input and recommendations. We’ll invite proposer groups with the strongest applications to interview.

Interviews will be on:

  • the quality of the application
  • the strength and track record of the group
  • the local context in which the school will operate
  • the group’s understanding of the state school system

Final approval of successful trusts lies with the Secretary State. If approved, the successful trust will move into pre-opening and be given a lead person to guide all of the parties involved through the milestones of opening a new school.

The final decision to open any free school depends on the Secretary of State formally entering into a funding agreement with the academy trust proposing to set up the school.

The Secretary of State will only do so if they are satisfied that:

  • we have found a suitable site on which we can construct and open a school on an agreed date and in a way that provides good value for money; and
  • the school will be ready to deliver at least a good standard of education, with a viable and sustainable number of pupils, from its first day of operation