disputes claims that more than half of the newly-opened Free Schools are in the most advantaged areas. However, the DfE advises caution when arguments are based on larger areas than those used in its analysis as these may “contain mixed pockets of deprivation and affluence”. Its findings are more nuanced than announcements from Rachel Wolf et al that most Free Schools are in disadvantaged areas. The analysis found that it would be “more reasonable to claim some concentration in the most deprived areas since 12 of the 24 schools are in the 30% of areas which are most deprived.”
investigated competing claims in a Conservative Party press release and the Guardian about where Free Schools are situated. The Conservative press release used the DfE figures above while the Guardian’s research employed different ways of measuring catchments areas and their wealth. The Guardian’s figures found that only nine of the free schools are in areas where income is less than the national average. FullFact concluded “neither report can fully demonstrate or predict the eventual socio-economic make up of the new Free Schools. For a more accurate assessment of the economic and social circumstances of the new Free Schools’ intake we are forced to wait until the publication of the number of students receiving free school meals.”
So we’ll just have to wait and see.