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Opening a new free school

Free School Presumption at Wrexham Road Development

Following the progress of the housing development on Wrexham Road in the Chester South Planning Area, we have identified an increased need in primary school places and seeks to establish a new 1.5 form entry (FE) 315 place, mainstream, mixed primary free school and 26 place nursery, for ages 3 to 11. It is proposed the new school and nursery would open at the earliest in September 2026.

The school building will be built in two phases, the first being a 1 FE (210 place) building with the ancillary spaces (such as hall, kitchen, dining etc.) for a 1.5 form entry/315 pupil place school, to open September 2026. The second phase will then proceed at the point in which pupil numbers determine it, this will add on the additional accommodation for the additional 0.5 form entry, 105 pupils.

The new school will be located within the Wrexham Road development. The school will primarily serve the families on that new development. It is planned, based on current forecasting, that the school will initially open at 0.5 FE to Reception and key stage 1 aged children in September 2026. The Published Admission Number (PAN) will be limited on opening and will increase in line with housing growth and increased pupil numbers. The nursery will initially have limited intake at 13 places upon opening and will increase in-line with growth.

The new school and nursery are currently in design, and will soon be submitted for planning permission, therefore the successful academy trust will not have the opportunity to influence the design of the new school. We welcome proposals from all potential academy trusts.

Free School Presumption Timetable (updated)

Stage 1 - Invitation for Proposals  
Council publish specification: National and local announcements using Department for Education (DfE) and CWAC website Monday 11 March 2024
Closing date for applications Monday 20 May 2024
Stage 2 - Assessment  
Council informs DfE of all proposals received Monday 27 May 2024
Council assesses proposals using DfE criteria June 2024
Assessment panel of shortlisted proposers September 2024
Recommendation to CWAC Cabinet Member for Children and Families and confirmation of preferred sponsor October 2024
Council assessment and preferred sponsor submitted to the Regional Director, for the North West for consideration and decision Autumn 2024
Stage 3 - Decision  

The Regional Director (RD) for the North West (for the Secretary of State) will consider the Councils assessment and recommendations and decide which proposer is in the best position to take forward the new school. 

The RD will inform the Council and the successful proposer of the decision, and the Council will inform unsuccessful proposers.

No specified timescale for this part of the process
New school opens (at the earliest) September 2026


The Department for Education’s website further outlines the process.

The period to submit proposals has now closed.