Ofsted refuses to name 300 ‘off-rolling’ schools

Ofsted will not name the 300 schools that could be off-rolling pupils in case it alerts them to upcoming inspections.

The inspectorate’s annual report in December said the schools were identified as having particularly high levels of pupil movement in years 10 and 11.

However, Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director of education, told Schools Week last year the watchdog was “not going to name and shame them”.

READ MORE: Half of pupils who leave before their GCSEs don’t end up in another state school

In response to a freedom of information request, Ofsted has now said that it will not name the schools or reveal how they were identified, as doing so “is likely to lead to speculation about when such schools will next be inspected”.

Ofsted argued that, as a result, schools could be warned about inspections and prepare in advance, which had the “potential to distort inspection outcomes”.

“We are satisfied that disclosure would harm our inspection function,” the response said.

In December, Harford said pupil movement in the 300 schools “looked significantly different to how it looked elsewhere”.

“We’ve given good guidance to inspectors so it will absolutely be something those schools are asked about.”

Off-rolling has been flagged in recent inspection reports of Harrop Fold in Salford and Shenley Academy in Birmingham, both of which are now in special measures.

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  1. Anne Brown

    This seems fair enough, and will have the added advantage of focusing all SLT’s minds on the possibility that they could be among them and making them consider their actions carefully.

    Name and shame when they are shown to have done something wrong, not because their statistics look a bit suspicious.

  2. Sorry, I don’t buy Sean Hartford’s explanation. More likely that DfE and OfSTED are engaged in ideological, educational regime change in which these 300 missing pupils are just the collateral damage. Academies are the front line of this policy, so they not going to be attacked or undermined. You think this unlikely? Then see this article, which provides a historical perspective and links to other educationalists, academics and teachers with the same view.

    • Lidia Biscuit

      Just one more sign that this country has got it very wrong regarding education, or maybe very right, if maintaining Victorian values and a society based on a Brave New World is what they want.

      Even Ofsted who should be upholding good values around education is doing something that any teacher with two brain cells knows one does not do in learning. You don’t set up people to fail, you give them warning and the opportunity and tools to improve and change. What’s the point to coming down on these schools like the KGB or the Stasi? Don’t the families and students still in the school deserve the opportunity of a school who is going to improve and to be given the tools to improve? In teaching we are told, actually by this education government, to not give negative feedback, but constructive feedback. If you tell a student something is wrong, but you don’t say how he can do it right or improving, then there is no point.
      Also, I wonder if Ofsted and the government actually realise that the main reason why schools are off rolling is because of the strange rules and regulations imposed on them by actually Ofsted and the government.
      In no other country teachers are required to guess students results before they take the exams, “predicting grades”, the practice of segregating students by results and ability in groups would get most teachers sacked in most civilised countries, in most countries people get used to working towards passing all subject to obtain their leaving certificate, here it seems you can just do what your teacher thinks you are going to pass and if not, you get off rolled or given some strange Mickey Mouse subject, in most civilised countries if you are 16 and messed about and decide that, actually you want to study and finish your education, you would just re-enrolled in school, no questions asked. Here, once you are 16 it seems you don’t exist for education, you get shoved into basic skills, employability courses, etc, etc, depending on what the government is at that moment.

      Schools are measured by targets like private businesses, so why are then people surprised they off roll? Off rolling is not the issue is the symptom of a diseased and corrupt system with Victorian values.

    • Anne Brown

      I’m afraid it’s not 300 missing pupils. It’s 9000 and there are 300 schools who are prime suspects for off rolling and another 800 odd that are above the average enough to arouse suspicions.

      I home educate because of pre-emptive exclusion and constructive offrolling so I’m all too aware that it happens. I still don’t think we should assume all those schools have actually off-rolled until they’ve been inspected. There could be an innocent explanation for it and I don’t like witch hunts.

      Besides, I really like the thought of SLT”s wondering if they’re about to be caught out because they’re in the worst 300 and never knowing whether they’re about to be told that OFSTED has arrived when their phones ring. I think it’ll do a great deal to discourage the practice.

  3. Mark Watson

    Roger’s written a book called Learning Matters.
    You may not have heard of it before, unless of course you’re read any of his comments on any story which all seem to be able to link back to it.
    Still, conspiracy sells.

  4. Anne Blue

    I think it’s right not to name them until investigated but there is no means as a parent of reporting this if a school is an academy. It goes on in many schools and way before year 10 which Ofsted have inspected. My son has special needs and almost as soon as he started we had a call from the Head asking us to find another school as they had no money for SN. Outstanding rated.

    Regularly send him home and refuse to teach him science. LA have told them their behaviour is illegal, governors will not even hear complaints. Absolutely nothing I can do as a parent other than take them to court. Never been violent, predicted all 7-9s, such a waste. Several children are now just without any education at all there, home but not being taught by anyone and no-one does anything. One is in a traveller camp known for sexual abuse of very young girls with no education at all. Not the school’s problem though is it, all they care about is their Ofsted rating.