As part of the application to set up a new Alternative Provision (AP) free school, you will need to complete section G, covering proposed location and site of the new school. Whilst the application should be completed in partnership and managed by the lead applicant,– the site section should be completed by the local authority.
We have previously hosted an online webinar with our capital partner AMR Consult, covering considerations and questions on Section G for AP applicants, which can be found on our events page for your reference. AMR have summarised their 5 top tips for ensuring a robust site section below.
Key Points to Remember
1. Provide as much information as possible
When completing the site section of your application, you should aim to provide as much information as possible surrounding your proposed site. To gather this information, you may wish to undergo a process of due diligence and discuss the outcomes of surveying the site. Providing the DfE with this information will ensure you can make a case that the site will be good value for money, a factor which should be at the centre of your site selection process.
2. Don’t try for one good site
Although you may have identified a site which you are in favour of, it is important to consider alternatives. Whilst the site may appear ideal, there are many cases where the best site has fallen through. You should ensure that you have considered an analysis of more than one site in order to strengthen your application, showing a comprehensive site search where risks of each site have been considered will be more preferable to the DfE.
3. Avoid obviously high-risk sites
Although it will be beneficial to include a variety of sites, you should avoid prioritising sites with obvious high risks. These can still be included in your analysis, but don’t put them high on your priority list. Including multiple sites will ensure it is clear you have undertaken research into sites you have considered, in order to identify the most suitable site.
4. Certainty in numbers throughout application
It’s vital that when presenting an identified site, that it will be able to cater to the number of students you have proposed. Therefore, it is essential that throughout the application and section G you are consistent with the number of students the provision will aim to educate. When presenting your case for each site, ensure that the space will be suitable for the proposed number of students. You should use the formula laid out here to calculate the necessary size of the building and overall site.
5. Be ready to offer a contribution
Whilst the majority of the capital side is funded through DfE for central wave free schools, you should prioritise LA-owned sites where possible and clarify to the DfE that you are flexible and prepared to contribute where necessary, e.g., in the case of any site abnormalities.
If you have any further site-specific questions regarding your AP application to the DfE, please contact us here, where we will offer support or put you in touch with our site partner for high level expertise.