Rebecca Morris

Doctoral Researcher  

Rebecca MorrisCurrent Status

PhD, 2nd Year (Full Time)

Research Topic

Free Schools in England

Research Summary

This project focuses on the introduction of Free Schools to England and their impact on levels of segregation within and between schools in this country. Using data from the National Pupil Database and School Census, an analysis of the composition of the schools will be carried out. This will give a clearer picture of the children and families that Free Schools are serving, and the extent to which a balanced ‘school mix’ is being achieved. Comparisons will be made with ‘competing’ schools and others in the LEA in the hope of understanding more about the effects that the opening of a new Free School has had on their intakes.

A second part of the study will concentrate on the admissions procedures and policies that Free Schools are using. As Free Schools operate outside of LEA control with regards to admissions, they are able to create their own admissions and appeals policies provided that they act within the legislation of the 2012 Admissions Code. The range of oversubscription criteria that Free Schools use and the way that they prioritise places for different groups of children is, therefore, of interest. The research will also explore how the methods used by Free Schools to attract applicants and allocate places have an impact on the composition of the schools.

More information on the project

Research Interests

  • Education Policy 
  • Education and Social Justice 
  • School Choice


Morris, R. (2014) Explainer: how do free schools allocate places? The Conversation, available at:

Morris, R. (2014) The admissions criteria of secondary Free Schools, Oxford Review of Education, DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2014.921614

Gorard, S. & Morris, R (2014) What are Free Schools the answer to? The Conversation, available at:

Research Supervisors

Professor Stephen Gorard and Dr Kay Fuller


School of Education Scholarship

Membership of Research and Professional Organisations

BERA (British Educational Research Association)  

Contact Details