The Education Policy Institute think tank found that secondary free schools have created just five new school places per 1,000 in the lowest performing parts of England, but created 18 places per 1,000 pupils in the highest performing areas.
The EPI said that “much but by no means all” of the high performance of some secondary free schools occurs because they are “disproportionately drawing their pupils from neighbourhood types that already achieve higher results on average”.
Unity Howard, the director of the New Schools Network – which helps people set up free schools – said: “We agree entirely that new free schools should be targeted towards areas suffering from chronic educational underperformance and communities that have been left behind and have been calling for this for some time.”
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