Concerns around ‘off-rolling’ grow as Ofsted publishes statistics

CREDIT: This story was originally seen on The Guardian

Ofsted is increasingly concerned about students disappearing from school registers just before GCSEs

According to The Guardian, Ofsted has identified 300 schools that show high levels of ‘off-rolling’ – a name given to the phenomenon whereby pupils become curiously absent from the school register just before GCSEs.

Many of the 19,000 students who did not reappear at their previous school for year 11 in 2016 did so elsewhere, but approximately half disappeared altogether. This suggests those pupils went on to be home schooled or removed from education entirely.

2,900 schools lost pupils after year 10, with 810 losing five or more and 300 losing pupils at a rate which exceeded expectation for two years running.

Allegations of schools ridding themselves of students likely to do badly in GCSEs, therefore making their overall performances look better, have caused Ofsted to become increasingly concerned about off-rolling.

Analysis shows that SEN students are especially vulnerable to being removed from school, as are financially disadvantaged children.

Ofsted’s chief statistician, Jason Bradbury, said:

“It’s not possible to know from the data available the reasons why so many pupils are leaving a school, and whether those moves are in the best interests of the pupils. But the data gives a starting point to have these important conversations with the sector, and to better understand this issue.”

Philip Nye, a researcher with FFT Education Datalab who recently published research on pupils missing from school rolls, added:

“We’ve been concerned about off-rolling for some time. Our own work has shown that there was a group of up to 7,700 secondary pupils last year who either took no exams, or did not count in school league tables.

“Some of that group will have been off-rolled, so we would really question whether the Department for Education is satisfied that enough attention and resources are being directed into supporting this very vulnerable group.”

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