Off-rolling: One in 12 students ‘disappeared’ from mainstream schools

The practice of removing difficult or underachieving pupils from school rolls in order to artificially inflate GCSE results is – unfortunately – well documented, but a recent report has brought the true scale of so-called “off-rolling” to light. Chris Parr reports

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) think-tank has published what it says is the “most comprehensive analysis to date” of unexplained pupil exits from English schools.

The report – Unexplained pupil exits from schools: A growing problem? – reveals that 49,100 students from the cohort set to have finished year 11 in 2017 disappeared from school rolls with no explanation given, the equivalent of one in 12 pupils (or 8.1 per cent).

What is more, the rate has been increasing in recent years, according to the researchers. Some 7.2 per cent of the 2014 cohort and 7.8 per cent of the 2011 year group were found to have been off-rolled.

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