Why are schools ‘off-rolling’ more students before their GCSEs?

Mainstream secondary schools are increasingly engaging in the process of ‘off-rolling’ students between year 10 and sitting their GCSEs, according to a recent OFSTED report:

In 2017, a total of 19 000 students left a school between year 10 and sitting their GCSEs in 2011. This is 10% more than in the previous year.

  • A total of 2,900 schools offrolled at least one pupil between years 10 and 11,
  • 560 schools had numbers which were significantly above what Ofsted would expect
  • 300 schools had significantly higher offrolling numbers for two consecutive years.

What are the characteristics of off-rolling schools and off-rolled students?

  • Children with special educational needs, looked after children and some minority ethnic groups are more likely to leave their school.
  • A higher proportion of schools in London off-roll pupils compared to other parts of the country
  • Academies, particularly those in academy trusts off-roll more pupils than local authority schools.

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What happens to off-rolled students?

Half of them go to other schools – either from LEA to LEA schools or from an Academy to an LEA school (but less likely in the other direction!), and I imagine some will go to Pupil Referral Units.

Half of off-rolled students in 2017 did not reappear in the census of another state school, and according to Jason Bradbury, Ofsted’s deputy director for data and insight, these pupils may now be attending an unregistered school or have dropped out of education entirely.

Of course some of these pupils will be being homeschooled, although TBH it’s probably more a case of their being ‘homeschooled’.

Links to A-level sociology

Bit busy today to thrash out the links, but there seems to be evidence of mainly academies doing this to game the results: getting rid of students most likely to fail, and so this appears to be an obvious unintended negative consequence of marketisation!

 

Sources

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