Research identifies large group of pupils who did not count in school league tables

Education: Secondary / Thu 21st Jun 2018 at 06:17am

AS many as 7,700 pupils who were due to complete secondary school in 2017 left mainstream school rolls and either did not take GCSEs or did not count in school league tables, new research from FFT Education Datalab finds.

The researchers identify a group of 22,000 pupils from the 2017 GCSE cohort who left state education between Year 7 and Year 11 and did not return to a state school or alternative provision.

Of these, between 6,200 and 7,700 pupils are estimated to have remained in England and yet not taken any GCSE or equivalent qualifications, or counted in school league tables.

Researchers took into account emigration rates and movement within the UK, giving the most detailed picture yet of this group of pupils who leave mainstream school rolls.

The researchers also express concern that ‘off-rolling’ – encouraging pupils off the school roll in an informal exclusion – contributes to the number of pupils who do not take GCSEs or count in school league tables.

Philip Nye, FFT Education Datalab’s research lead for inspection and academies, said:

“This group of pupils who leave the rolls of mainstream schools and yet do not take GCSEs or count in school league tables concern us greatly.

“We would question whether the Department for Education can be satisfied that all of these pupils are receiving a suitable education. Despite building a detailed picture of movements on and off school rolls there are a number of things we are still unable to say about this group.”

The researchers also found that 8,700 of the 2017 cohort moved into state alternative provision, compared to the 3,900-5,400 pupils recorded as having been permanently excluded in recent years.

While exclusion is not the sole reason for which a pupil can enter alternative provision, the figures highlight the difference in scale between the number of permanent exclusions and the number of children who enter alternative provision.

In 2015 the government said that school league tables would be changed to make schools accountable for those pupils sent to alternative provision or excluded, but action has not yet been taken to implement this.

While supportive of the proposal, the researchers conclude that it does not go far enough – not capturing off-rolling, and in fact increasing the incentive to off-roll.

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1 Comment for Research identifies large group of pupils who did not count in school league tables:

2018-06-21 11:14:47

Most of these pupils go out to work, rather than be bored rigid with facts and figures that don't really belong in their world. You don't need a degree to work that one out. Alternatively, they do, 'home tuition', on how to make money.

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