Free Schools and disadvantaged intakes

Rebecca Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The Free Schools policy in England has led to the opening of a number of new autonomous state-funded schools. This article uses data from the Annual Schools Census to present the proportions of socioeconomically disadvantaged children attending the first three waves of these schools. It updates and builds on previous work that focused on the student composition of the first wave of Free Schools that opened in 2011. The analysis compares the Free School intakes with other local schools and Local Authority (LA) data and seeks to establish whether the schools are taking an equal share of disadvantaged children in relation to their nearby competitors. Differences emerge between the different waves of schools with those that opened in 2011 generally underrepresenting disadvantaged children. In the second and third waves the picture is more mixed. It is also the case that Free Schools with a faith designation or an alternative or specialist curriculum appear particularly likely to have proportionally fewer disadvantaged children than might be expected based on their location. The potential impacts of having an increasing number of new schools with unbalanced intakes are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-552
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number4
Early online date9 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


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