Tag Archives: house market

Property prices around ‘Free Schools’ £126,430 more than UK average

Half of the new Free Schools that opened this year are located in London and the South East’s property wealth hotspots, according to new research released this week.

24 new ‘Free Schools’ opened in September this year. Free Schools are funded by the government, but are independent of local authority control, run by teachers and are free to set their own rules over the length of the school day, the curriculum, and how they spend their money. They were a flagship policy for the Conservatives in the run-up to the last general election with the central aim of driving-up standards by encouraging competition and supporting the creation of new schools in the most deprived areas, urging parents and local groups to respond to need.

However, PrimeLocation.com, an online portal for UK based estate agency firms, has found in its latest  research that average property asking prices in the areas around the new Free Schools are £126,430 more (or 57.5%) than the UK average (currently £219,513). Two of the new schools (ARK Conway Primary Academy and St Luke’s Church of England Primary School) are surrounded by property worth over £1,000,000 on average, both of which are in London.

Of the 24 Free Schools, nine are in the capital, nine in the Midlands and the North and two in East Anglia. A further four schools have also opened in the South East of England.

Nigel Lewis, property analyst at PrimeLocation.com, says, “There is strong evidence to show that quality schools eventually drive up house prices within their catchment areas but the Free Schools haven’t been around long enough to have this affect.”

“Instead, it seems many of the Free Schools have been set up in areas which are already affluent and have above-average house prices, particularly in London and the SE.”

The research supports a report in The Guardian earlier this year which revealed that another market analysis firm found that the “ten-minute commuting area around the first wave of Free Schools is disproportionately dominated by middle class households.”

The Free Schools programme, has also been criticised by the teaching unions for benefiting the ‘motivated middle-class’ and redirecting valuable resources away from local schools.

However, in an interview with The Times, to mark the opening of his West London Free School, British journalist Toby Young countered these claims. Mr Young told the newspaper, “It is condescending to assume that a rigorous education appeals only to middle-class parents. The people who are biting my arms off to come here are the people from the local council estates who don’t have anywhere else to send their children.”

Michael Gove, Education Secretary, has also defended the accusations that the majority of these schools are being developed in already affluent areas. His Department for Education has published evidence that the schools are targeting deprivation. Following the opening of the first wave of schools, figures were released showing that of the 24 Free Schools, over half the schools are located in the 30% most deprived communities.

He describes the schools as “engines of social mobility, places where the democratisation of knowledge helps vanquish the accidents of birth”. He goes on to explain that  “By freeing up teachers and trusting local communities to decide what is best our reforms will help to raise standards for children in all schools.”

But, other than London, Primelocation.com has found that Bradford is the only city with two Free Schools, the Rainbow Free School and Bradford Science Academy. These represent the most affordable places for parents looking to send their children to these institutions, with average asking prices at £108,995, a 50.4% discount when compared with the average UK property.

Average house prices around the 24 new state schools

School Region

Average house price

ARK Conway Primary Academy, Hammersmith & Fulham



St Luke’s Church of England Primary School, Camden, north London.



Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School, Mill Hill, London



ARK Atwood Primary Academy, Westminster



West London Free School, Hammersmith, London



Eden Primary, Haringey, North London



Canary Wharf College, Tower Hamlets



Priors Free School, Warwickshire



Stour Valley Community School, Suffolk

East Anglia


Langley Hall Primary Academy, Slough

South East


Aldborough E-ACT Free School, Redbridge



Maharishi School, Lancashire

North West


Sandbach School, Cheshire East

North West


Woodpecker Hall Primary Academy, Edmonton, London



Bristol Free School, Bristol

South West


Discovery New School, West Sussex

South East


All Saints Junior School, Reading

South East


Krishna Avanti Primary School, Leicester



Moorlands School, Luton

South East


The Free School, Norwich

East Anglia


Batley Grammar School, Kirklees



Nishkam Free School, Birmingham



Rainbow Free School, Bradford



Bradford Science Academy



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