Research from the Institute of Education today claimed that free schools 'socially select' pupils. Nick Timothy, Director of New Schools Network, dismissed this claim, saying:
"This report is already out of date. As the data stands today, it is clear that at primary level free schools are on a par with all other schools, while at secondary they attract significantly more students from deprived backgrounds. Most importantly, free schools are three times more likely to open in the most deprived areas than the least, precisely because these are the students that free school founders want to reach."
According to the latest school level data on Edubase, primary free schools have an average of 14.5% of students in receipt of free school meals (FSM). This compares to an average of 15.3% in all other primaries. Secondary free schools have an average of 20.3% FSM students, compared to a national average of 15.4%.