Ofsted’s off-rolling analysis reveals 13% spike in schools with ‘exceptional’ pupil movement


The number of schools with exceptional levels of pupil movement has risen by 13 per cent in one year, despite Ofsted’s action to crack down on off-rolling.

Analysis released today reveals that 340 schools had exceptional levels of pupil movement, up from 300 the year before. The watchdog’s latest study looked at pupil movement between year 10 in January 2017 and year 11 in January 2018.

A total of 20,000 pupils left schools in those years, 22 per cent of which were in one of the 340 schools. Ofsted said that, on average, 13 pupils left each of the 340 schools.

Three-fifths of the schools on the previous list of 300 schools are also in the new list of 340.

The inspectorate said: “Of those that dropped out, two thirds no longer meet the criteria of losing at least five pupils and 5 per cent of their pupils, but many of these schools still lost some pupils.”

Around half of the 20,000 pupils had unknown destinations (as they didn’t move to another state school) – similar to last year’s analysis.

Ofsted said that the increase in the number of schools with exceptional pupil movement does not necessarily mean that off-rolling is increasing, but it does “warrant further consideration”.

Ofsted has repeatedly vowed to crack down on off-rolling.

Writing for Schools Week in July, Dan Owen, specialist adviser for school inspection policy at Ofsted, said: “Where we find off-rolling taking place, Ofsted’s responsibility is to children and their parents. And if schools are acting against the best interests of the pupils in their care, then our new education inspection framework is clear that leadership and management is likely to be judged inadequate.”

More than 19,000 pupils left state-funded secondary school between year 10 in January 2016 and year 11 in January 2017.

Schools Week has previously revealed concerns that Ofsted can’t properly investigate off-rolling by solely speaking to school leaders.

In April a report from the Education Policy Institute found nearly 50,000 year 11 pupils were removed from the school system in “unexplained” moves in 2016-17.

The following month, an Ofsted survey revealed that a quarter of teachers had witnessed off-rolling, with two-thirds of these believing the practice is on the rise.

At least five schools have been official rapped by Ofsted in inspections for off-rolling. The education watchdog has also refused to reveal the names of schools with high pupil movement because it might alert them to upcoming inspections.

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