Top-up rate updated

Following a review of High Needs funding, the expected top-up rate has been updated from £7,000 to £11,000. An update of the specification has now been published.

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

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 for secondary special school places and bid to the Department for Education (DfE) under the Alternative Provision (AP) and Special Free School Wave 2. On 11 March 2019, the DfE announced that Stockport was named as one of 39 local authorities which have been awarded new special free schools, subject to certain processes and obligations. We are now therefore seeking proposals from academies and multi-academy trust sponsors to open the new secondary special free school.

A key factor for success will be to build upon the strong partnership across schools within the Borough already, with a view to educating children in high quality schools that are local to them. This builds upon the existing principle which supports our proposal to expand Lisburne Primary Special School.

Our engagement event took place on Wednesday 12 June 2019 and was very well attended by interested proposers. View the slides from the presentation and other information shared at the event below:

If you have any queries about the new school, email

If you have any queries about the application process or operation of the free school, email

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
  • strength and track record of the group
  • local context in which the school will operate
  • 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've 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