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Data analysis on Free Schools.

Data analysis on Free Schools.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a new report analysing the latest data on Free Schools to understand and assess the impact that the programme is having within the education system

Free Schools in England is the most detailed, independent, assessment yet of this new and much debated reform of the school system. The analysis uses the latest data on free schools to assess the impact of the programme on several measures, including pupil performance, inspection outcomes, popularity with parents, composition of pupils from different backgrounds and the extent to which the schools are addressing shortages of school capacity and high quality places.

Some of the key points made in the report are as follows:

  • In spite of the growth of the programme since 2011, two thirds of areas in England are not within a reasonable distance of either a primary or secondary free school.
  • Free schools are helping to meet the need for new school places – and growth has been higher in areas of ‘basic need’.
  • However, the programme has been ineffective in targeting areas of low school quality – indeed free school places are more likely to be found in areas of high performance (such as London) than in the areas of low school performance (such as the North East). Some of this is, however, explained by the need for new places in London to address population growth.

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