free school project
management support

Achieve a clear understanding

At AMR Consult we support Free School proposers with the capital element of their project. We help them design their schools and achieve a clear understanding of how their decisions will impact both the delivery of education and ongoing capital maintenance costs.

We have been involved in the Free School programme since Wave 1 and we have worked in-house at the DfE for over five years. We are currently supporting seven schools that were successful in the Wave 13 application round.

AMR Consult is delighted to have partnered with Premier Advisory Group (PAG) to provide support to trusts and other groups preparing free school applications. AMR will be responsible for delivering all expertise surrounding sites and capital programmes to free school proposer groups, funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

This role will start on 1st April as part of a contract awarded to Premier Advisory Group as sole supplier of DfE-funded free school application support. The contract, which was previously retained for over 10 years by New Schools Network, is a two-year term with provisions for another year’s extension.

The free schools programme remains at the forefront of the Government’s plans to level up standards across England and respond where there is demand for more school places. Since its inception in 2010, the programme has delivered hundreds of new schools and thousands of school places up and down the country.

The next year will see application waves for new special and alternative provision (AP) schools as a direct result of additional Government funding, as well as plans to invest in both Education Investment Areas and other areas of need with mainstream, special and AP schools.

Ben McCarthy, Managing Director of AMR Consult, has been directly involved in the free school movement since 2010, providing support to over 50 groups and trusts from pre-application through to post opening phases.

Commenting on the appointment, Ben said: “We know that identifying sites and managing capital projects is one of the key barriers and challenges for free schools once they enter into pre-opening and beyond. By bringing our expertise to bear during the pre-application phase, we look forward to mitigating against these challenges at an early phase in the process and thereby supporting more excellent schools to open on time and on budget.

We have worked closely with PAG for a number of years and the synergies between our areas of expertise have benefited many schools and trusts. I am excited to continue working closely with colleagues at PAG to help even more free school proposers realise their ambitions for children, young people and families.”  


  • AMR Consult provides outstanding building consultancy services to clients across the education sector, including support to free schools in pre-opening and multi-academy trusts seeking to make best use of their built assets. https://amrconsult.co.uk/
  • Premier Advisory Group is a multi-disciplinary professional services firm with a specialism in education consultancy and related areas. https://premieradvisory.co.uk/
  • The contract with the DfE starts on 1st April 2022 and is for up to three years. It has a value of about £500,000 per annum.

Added Value

Whilst a capital project will be delivered by the Department for Education, there is no professional solely looking after the Trust’s interests when it comes to the design of the school and understanding how decisions will impact educational delivery and ongoing capital maintenance costs.

of Free School Build Support Related Services:

  • Project management
  • Pre-feasibility and Feasibility Study
  • Contractor Engagement
  • Drafting Contractor Proposals and Planning Submissions
  • Final CPs and Contract Close
  • Financial Close
  • Build Phase
  • Handover

Additional services

We can offer additional services to support your estate’s development as and when required:

  • Measured Surveys and Space Analysis
  • Master Planning and Feasibility Assessments
  • Free School Bidding Support
  • LA brokering for Section 106 and Expansion Funding
  • Site Disposal Support
  • Asset Leasing Advise
  • Other funding support

Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team
if you have any queries

Free Consultation

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