Schools told to stop using exclusions to boost their results

By Michael Savage for

Schools will be forced to be accountable for the exam results of pupils they exclude, under a plan backed by an independent review of the practice.

The recommendation is included in a long-awaited report, to be released this week by former Tory education minister Edward Timpson, amid widespread concern over the thousands of children who disappear from school registers.

It also follows an outcry about “off-rolling” – a practice whereby a school removes a pupil from its registers without formally excluding them. Such practices have led the Department for Education to announce a new compulsory register for all children not in school.

Linking their profiles to the results of excluded pupils is designed to end the incentive for schools to rid themselves of pupils who could depress their overall exam results. However, ministers are already being warned not to impose major restrictions on the right of headteachers to use exclusion as an ultimate sanction.

In a veiled warning yesterday. Amanda Spielman, head of the school inspectorate, Ofsted, told a teaching conference: “It cannot be right that the ultimate sanction – if used properly – be removed from headteachers.”

A recent investigation by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) into off-rolling in England found that more than 49,000 pupils who started secondary school in 2012 had disappeared from rolls without explanation by the time the cohort were 16.

The Timpson review has been seriously delayed by a row over the extent to which the power to exclude should be cut. There is also tension over ministers’ determination to involve schools more in tackling knife crime. Spielman warned that ending exclusion was not the answer.

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