School league tables are changing so that they include the exam results of schools’ excluded pupils.
This social policy is designed to discourage schools from excluding potentially low-performing students with the intention of improving their exam results on paper.
Along with data on formally excluded pupils schools will also have to included data on off-rolled pupils, or pupils who have been informally excluded, for example by the school coming to an agreement with the parent that they will voluntarily un-enroll their child rather than their being formally excluded.
This seems to be the government’s response to the fact that school exclusions have rise by 40% in the last three years, after a period of decline….
At first glance this does seem to be an effective way of dealing with the recently growing problem of off-rolling – where the schools effectively just left it to the parents to re-enroll their child elsewhere, which many of them didn’t (as I’ve written about here). With this policy in place the schools who do this are at least more likely to follow up on what’s happened to their excluded children.
It might also make some schools innovate to deal with their ‘problem children’ more in-house rather than letting someone else deal with the problem.
It’s also an interesting example of a social policy response that recognizes that certain headmasters are prepared to game the system by engaging in underhand tactics to improve their results – this strategy of excluding to improve results (at least this is what appears to be going on) is mainly practiced by academies.
However, maybe it’s just a sticking plaster? Maybe we should be thinking more about why so many kids are being excluded, which means thinking about why they don’t like school, and think about how we can maybe change the system from the ground up?!?