Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) has become the first private firm to win a contract to set up and run a new free school.
The Swedish firm saw off competition from both EdisonLearning, and the Breckland Free Schools Company, a coalition of Wey Education, Place Group, and the School Partnership Trust.
It will now work with the group promoting the school, the Sabres Educational Trust, to finalise an application to establish a new secondary school in the Suffolk village of Brandon. If the Department for Education approves that application, the new school will open on the site of the Breckland Middle School next September.
The contract is expected to be worth £21 million over ten years.
Sabres is the first free school promoter to tender for a private provider to establish a new school, and manage it for a fee. Most existing free schools are run by the groups promoting them.
The final decision is not due to be formally announced until mid-December. But according to documents seen by EducationInvestor, IES scored highly on areas including its education vision, governance and planned costs.
Before the decision was made, a spokeswoman for Sabres had told EducationInvestor that the trust had been looking for a group that had "children's interest at heart, and not profit", and "experience of actually having run a school".
IES currently runs 18 free schools in Sweden.
The Brandon contract received eight expressions of interest.
You can read more on this story in the December issue of EducationInvestor, out today