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Ofsted: How we will fail off-rolling schools in future

Inspectorate says off-rolling schools more likely to be judged 'inadequate' under new inspection framework

Ofsted say off-rolling schools more likely to fail in future

Ofsted has said that schools found off-rolling under its new inspection regime are likely to get an "inadequate" judgement for leadership and management and judged to be failing overall.

The inspectorate is planning to tackle off-rolling – where schools remove pupils in order to improve exam results – under its new framework.

However, it has sparked controversy this week by judging a school to be "good" overall despite finding that it had off-rolled pupils.

Ofsted told Tes that in future schools which are found to be off-rolling are more likely to be judged inadequate. 


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A spokesperson said: “It’s more likely that schools found to be off-rolling would be rated inadequate under the planned framework.

“The draft school inspection handbook makes clear that, if inspectors find off-rolling, leadership and management is likely to be judged inadequate.

“It also says that overall effectiveness is likely to be judged inadequate when any one of the key judgements is inadequate. But this isn’t automatic. Inspectors will have to use their professional judgement when coming to a judgement.”

Ofsted has published three school inspection reports which have identified off-rolling in recent months.

Discovery Academy, in Stoke-on-Trent, was rated as good overall but its leadership and management was found to require improvement.  Ofsted said it had moved ten pupils into alternative provision last year and was unable to explain why it had done so.

Harrop Fold – the school in the Educating Greater Manchester TV series – and Shenley Academy in Birmingham were both rated as inadequate and placed in special measures in reports which identified off-rolling.

Last year Ofsted’s national director of education Sean Harford said that the new framework would place an increased focus on off-rolling but he said that even under the current system reports were coming through where off-rolling had been a factor in the school being rated as inadequate.

Commenting on the Discovery Academy inspection an Ofsted spokesperson said: “Ofsted is committed to reporting cases of off-rolling whenever we find evidence of it happening in schools.

"The effectiveness of leadership and management at Discovery Academy was judged to require improvement, because inspectors found that off-rolling had taken place last year. We are pleased that the school has since stopped this practice.”

Sarah Robinson, the chief executive of Alpha Academies Trust, which runs Discovery Academy, said that the decision to remove pupils from the roll in year 11 was part of a citywide agreement between secondary schools in Stoke-on-Trent.

She told Tes this was not an attempt to remove pupils before exams but said the timing in year 11 was intended to give pupils the best possible chance of being able to return to mainstream education before then.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has now advised schools that it will no longer support the process of moving pupils onto alternative provision rolls.

The authority's cabinet member for education and economy Coun Janine Bridges said: “Our policy is to support our children in mainstream education as much as possible.

"The practice that we had agreed with all secondary schools in Stoke-on-Trent was to support those pupils whose needs are not met in mainstream education into alternative provision. This was done with the interests of the pupil at heart, working with the school, provider, pupil and family.

“Pupils in this situation were supported through our learning pathways team; our key workers met with the school and alternative provider every six weeks to ensure checks and balances were taking place so that the child made good progress and their needs were met."

She said this was viewed as good practice in meetings with Ofsted.

Coun Bridges added: “Since the Discovery Academy’s Ofsted inspection, we have advised all secondary schools of the Ofsted guidance and we will not support the process of students moving to alternative provision rolls.”

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