Kings Academy Trust Press Release



The Department for Education today announced that Acorn Academy has been approved to open in Salford. The new school, which is being set up by Kings Academy Trust, is due to open in Salford in 2021-22.


The free school joins 36 other alternative provision and special free schools announced to open today. The school will be a 50 place secondary school for children with autistic spectrum conditions and complex social and emotional mental health.


CEO Mrs Nicholson, who has spearheaded the Acorn Academy project team, said:

“We are very excited to be involved in this project. It is a crucial step forward for Salford in providing a range of special school provision for our most disadvantaged pupils. We want to ensure we create a centre of excellence and a school that is going to be crucial in delivering support and high quality education to children and families.”  


Unity Howard, Director of New Schools Network, said:

“I am delighted Acorn Academy has been approved to open, joining 36 other special and alternative provision free schools that were approved today. These new schools will offer some of our most vulnerable young people, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, the opportunity to access a high quality education that is tailored to their needs.


Special and alternative provision free schools are among the most innovative and successful providers, and it is fantastic news for local families that that they will be able to access this provision. On behalf of the entire team at New Schools Network, I pay tribute to Kings Academy Trust for their tireless work throughout the application phase. We look forward to supporting this cohort of 37 free schools as they prepare to open.”


Interested parents can find out more on Kings Academy Trust website.



·         Free schools are state funded schools that are independent of local authority control. They have the freedom to decide the length of school day and term, their curriculum, teacher pay and how they spend their budgets.

·         Free schools are more likely to be judged Outstanding when compared to other state schools (31% Outstanding).

·         There are currently 508 open free schools, of which 90 are special or alternative provision schools. There are a further 232 free schools in the pipeline, of which 57 are special or alternative provision (excluding the 37 announced today). 

·         New Schools Network is an independent charity that provides support to groups wanting to set up free schools: