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Free schools are popular

On average, free schools are more likely to be oversubscribed than any other kind of state school. Secondary free schools receive almost four applications for every place; at primary there are more than three applications for every place (September 2017).

Free schools raise standards

Free schools are outperforming other state schools and are more likely to be rated as Outstanding by Ofsted than all other state schools. All schools that opened in 2011 or 2012 have now been inspected - 71% were judged as Good or Outstanding. Overall, 30% of free schools have been judged as Outstanding, compared to 21% of all other schools. 

Free schools tackle deprivation

Free schools are nearly three times more likely to be located in the most deprived areas in England than in the least deprived. Of the 381 open schools that data is available for, 12.86% have been set up in the most deprived 10% of local authorities (according to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation) and 4.99% in the least deprived 10%.

Who is setting them up?

Free schools can be set up by groups led by parents, teachers, charities, outstanding schools and community and faith organisations. These have included: Parents in Camden, Leeds, Bristol, Leicester and Runcorn; Teachers in Bedford, Feltham, Warrington, East London and Sheffield; Outstanding schools in Manchester, Birmingham, Lincolnshire, Nottingham and Newham Charities and organisations including the National Autistic Society, Southend YMCA and Everton Football club. Teachers have been particularly active in setting up free schools - over 70% have been started by groups led by teachers, existing successful schools, academy chains or existing providers.

Read some of their stories.