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Academies, free schools and open competitions

Find out about academies and free schools in Suffolk, including open competitions for new free schools.

Suffolk County Council has a responsibility to ensure that all children in Suffolk have access to a good school that can make the best of their talents.


  1. Support parental choice both to help children find the school that best suits their needs as well as to develop the local school system as a whole.
  2. Will work to a presumption of support for the creation of academies and free schools, actively managing their introduction into the existing system of schools.

Free School Presumption at Henley Gate Neighbourhood

Following the progress of the development known as Ipswich Garden Suburb (IGS), the Council has identified an increased need in primary school places and seeks to establish a new 2 form entry (FE) 420 place, mainstream, 4 to 11 mixed primary school, with a 60-place EY setting on site. Other primary schools may follow on the development when the level of demand requires.

The new school will be located on the development know as Henley Gate on the Ipswich Garden Suburb in Ipswich Suffolk. The school will primarily serve the families on that new development. It is planned, based on current forecasting, that the school will open to Reception and key stage 1 aged children in September 2026.

The school will be built as a 2FE 420-place primary school, to meet the forecast demand for places as a result of the new housing, however the PAN will be limited on opening and will increase in line with housing growth and increased pupil numbers. The dedicated EY provision on the site will initially accommodate up to 30 children and will also have the capacity to grow to accommodate up to 60 children. The new school and pre-school 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.

The Council welcomes proposals from all potential academy trusts including for voluntary aided schools and academies with a faith designation.  

You will find the following downloadable documents:

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

In the meantime, the Department for Education website outlines more about the process: Apply to open a special or alternative provision free school.

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact the Schools Infrastructure Team at

Completed forms should also be returned to no later than 10am on Tuesday 7 May 2024, applications received after this time will not be considered.