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Off-rolling in English schools

Discussion in 'Education news' started by HouseOfCommons, Apr 23, 2019.


Has your school "off-rolled" students in this way?

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
  3. Don't know

    2 vote(s)
  1. HouseOfCommons

    HouseOfCommons New commenter

    A briefing paper has been written by the House of Commons Library in response to concerns that increasing numbers of children in England are being 'off-rolled' - being excluded or otherwise leaving school for reasons that do not serve their best interests. As shown below, the rate of permanent exclusions has increased markedly between 2010/11 and 2016/17.


    There are many reasons why children might be removed from the school roll, from moving home to permanent exclusion following disciplinary action. In recent years, however, concerns have been raised about children leaving the school roll for other reasons, for example to ‘game’ the school performance system, or to relieve financial pressure on schools.

    Off-rolling of this kind is difficult to measure, as it takes place through legitimate channels – pupils may be excluded according to the law, and parents have the right to home educate their child if they wish to do so.

    The Government has made clear that it considers off-rolling unacceptable and that exclusion for non-disciplinary reasons is unlawful. It has not ruled out legislation to provide more accountability for schools that permanently exclude children and place them in alternative provision.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  2. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    It would also be very difficult to know if this happens in the school you work at as a teacher. I have only been in a position to witness "off-rolling" at one school I work at, due to my position of being HoY. It was only then that I was privy to the discussions of which students the HT and SLT wanted "to get rid of". I was also able to see how the SLT manage to off-roll, and before any more of you click the "No" option rather than the "Not sure" - this is how they did it.
    The key part was the meetings with parents/guardians of the target student. Obviously the student would be having difficulties at the school (behavioural, academic etc) and so outwardly, the meeting was to help support them. However, a few careful phrases from the HT were used to encourage the parents to consider moving elsewhere; "If Jonny stays and gets it wrong one more time, we may have to permanently exclude him which would go on his permanent record. You wouldn't want that for him would you?" or "Sarah hasn't been making as much progress as we'd expect. Is she happy here or do you think that she might be happier at another school with another group of children?" There'd then be something along the lines of; "I'm not allowed to tell you to remove your child from this school but know you want to do what's best for them and if you were to decide to move your child to another school, I couldn't stop you."
    Now I was "privileged" enough to witness these conversations in one school but I have no doubts that it happens in others I have worked in. Other HTs may hold these conversations in more secrecy so the only ones who know why an off-rolled child is leaving are the HT and the parents.
    By the way, the main reason that the school I worked in did encourage "off-rolling" was to reduce the number of officially recorded permanent exclusions. A permanent exclusion would have been appropriate in the situations I was involved in for disciplinary reasons. However, due to the fact that Ofsted judge schools based on their PEX record, if we could encourage the parents to jump before they were pushed it would reflect better on the school.
    Messed up system.
  3. SomethingWicked

    SomethingWicked Occasional commenter

    It's the accountability culture which got us into this mess in the first place, proposals for further 'accountability measures' are like adding epicycles - making the system more complicated to solve the problems created by the system.
    To be clear, I blame this situation entirely on the over-dependence of Ofsted judgements on numerical data, and flawed league table metrics.

    Ditch it all.
  4. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Why don't the mps suggest that all schools do easier igcses? Or would that upset the private school system where they are still allowed?
  5. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    In my experience pupils who have been off-rolled tend to be serial misbehavers. One or two children who disrupt the learning of many others. More of this needed in my opinion.
    Happygopolitely likes this.
  6. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Its the govt trying to scapegoat schs for poorly behaved students and the ills of society that is the real issue. Poorly behaved students off the streets and in school seems to be the govt wish but sadly with no support. And it comes at a heavy price if repeated offenders are seen to glorify in simply playing the system.

    How many knives are now in schools for example? And drugs? And do students get reported to the police for an offence that takes place in school but not the street?

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