ADCS response to EPI report on unexplained pupil exits from...

Gail Tolley, Chair of the ADCS Educational Achievement Policy Committee, said:

“Ofsted, Education Data Lab and now the Education Policy Institute have all published research shining a spotlight on vulnerable children disappearing from school rolls, but we still await the publication of the exclusions review and a bold response from government.

“Education is a fundamental right for all children and whilst the majority of schools work hard to be inclusive this research estimates that over 55,000 children were removed from secondary school rolls in England in 2017 for unexplained reasons, up from approximately 47,000 in 2011. It is of particular concern that some children experienced multiple moves, and the most vulnerable learners, including children who have ever been eligible for free school meals, are known to children’s social care and from certain ethnic backgrounds are all at greater risk of being moved as are pupils with social, emotional or mental health needs. This cannot be right and does nothing to close the gap in children’s outcomes or improve social mobility. Whilst these figures may include legitimate reasons for children being moved including to alternative provision, which can be beneficial when it is part of a planned, short term move to stabilise pupil behaviour for example, they also raise concerns about the illegal and unethical practice of ‘off-rolling’, particularly as the research shows a small proportion of schools were responsible for a large number of unexplained moves, in 2017. This warrants further investigation and action by the inspectorate and government.”

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