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Free Schools and disadvantaged intakes

Morris, R.

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R. Morris


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 31, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 9, 2015
Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Deposit Date Oct 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2017
Journal British Educational Research Journal
Print ISSN 0141-1926
Electronic ISSN 1469-3518
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 4
Pages 535-552
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (490 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: Morris, R. (2015), Free Schools and disadvantaged intakes. British Educational Research Journal, 41(4): 535-552, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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