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Has the free schools programme been a success?

They remain a dividing line in education policy. But what genuinely raises attainment for disadvantaged groups?

By Natalie Perera  

Michael Gove, who introduced . Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Images

In a competitive field, the introduction of free schools has been perhaps one of the more controversial education reforms of the last decade.

Eight years on from when the first free schools opened their doors, the Education Policy Institute has today published its latest assessment of how successful the programme has been.

State-funded, but independent of local authorities, free schools were introduced during Michael Gove’s tenure as education secretary in the early days of the Coalition government,…

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