FFT Education DataLab has published a series of posts looking at the impact of pupils who left mainstream secondary schools before the end of their secondary education on attainment statistics and league tables. The analysis shows that up to 7,700 students are left unaccounted for at the end of Year 11.
The think tank raises concern that in some cases pupils leaving school rolls may have been “off-rolled”, which it describes as “encouraged off the roll of a mainstream school in an informal exclusion in which the school’s best interests have trumped the pupil’s.” School league tables only measure those who remain on the school roll in January of Year 11, which some have argued creates an incentive to remove those pupils likely to lower results.
The researchers stress it is not possible to say from data alone where off-rolling has taken place, or put an overall figure on the amount that has taken place. They also stress their belief that only a small minority of school leaders are inclined to behave in this way.
The posts also look at MAT league tables recently published by the DfE, warning that they should not be taken at face value because, as mentioned above, KS4 results for a school only include those on roll in January of Year 11. The researchers apply two different methods of re-weighting to account for the proportion of time a pupil has spent at a particular school, an excerpt of which is reproduced below:The abandoned “Educational Excellence Everywhere” White Paper committed to changing the operation of school league tables so that mainstream schools would retain accountability for pupils sent to alternative provision or excluded. The recent “Creating opportunity for all” document on alternative provision also briefly mentioned this but did not commit to any changes.
Read the full series of posts here.