This paper presents the results of an analysis of the admissions criteria used by the first two waves of secondary Free Schools in England. The type of criteria and their ranked order is explored and their potential impact on the school composition is considered. The findings demonstrate the diversity of criteria being used by this new type of school and give some insight in to how Free Schools appear to be prioritising access. As Free Schools operate outside Local Authority control with regards to admissions procedures they are able to choose their own feeder schools, set their own catchment areas, prioritise particular postcode districts, guarantee places for children of the school's founders or opt to use banding systems. Whilst the admissions policies of the majority of secondary Free Schools appear to be adhering to the 2012 Admissions Code legislation, this study highlights the influence that such criteria may have in creating intakes which are less balanced in terms of socioeconomic status, ethnicity or religious affiliation.
- Free schools