Off-rolling schools to be named and shamed

Children's commissioner conducting nationwide survey of children leaving school to go into home education

Off-rolling

Schools across the country suspected of off-rolling pupils will be named and shamed by the children's commissioner, MPs have heard.

In evidence to the Commons Education Select Committee this morning, Anne Longfield was questioned about the practice, which sees schools illegally removing pupils from their rolls.

She told MPs that her office had conducted a survey of children leaving school to go into home education in 11 areas.


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She said: “What that found was that there was about one in 10 schools often off-rolling or semi-off-rolling in different ways where those children would leave the school roll.

“We didn’t publish those names last time; we handed them over to Ofsted, but actually this year we are undertaking that survey across the country and we will publish by name.”

She also used her appearance to call for the Department for Education and Ofsted to come out against the use of isolation booths in schools.

Here are four other key points from today’s evidence session:

Open schools longer to tackle knife crime

Ms Longfield warned that the urgency needed to tackle knife crime “just isn’t there as far as I can see”.

She told MPs: “I think we should almost be in emergency measures in areas of high violence.

“I would like to see schools staying open in the evening and opening at weekends. I would like there to be youth workers that are proactively in schools talking to the kids who are at risk."

Children’s rights ignored in LGBT protests

Labour MP Emma Hardy asked if there has been enough focus on the rights of children during the debate about LGBT content in PSHE lessons in Birmingham primary schools.

Ms Longfield replied: “No, I don’t think there has.”

She added: “The aspect of children’s rights against parents' rights is one that we are coming up against more and more.

“It was something with home education: the parents may have chosen that, but actually the child has a right to education. [With the] anti-vaccine [issue], for instance, the child has the right to be safe and healthy, as do other children.”

Monitoring DfE action on exclusions

The commissioner told committee chair Robert Halfon that she will “of course” prioritise the encouragement of the DfE to implement properly the Timpson Review of school exclusions in the next year.

She added: “I’m absolutely convinced of the change that could make, and the necessity of it, so we have a list of all the recommendations. We’ve got a plan against all of them, we are scrutinising them all, and we have got an action plan for every one.”

Council should assess home-educated children

Ms Longfield said councils should assess children who are home educated, as well as their parents, twice a year to ensure they are receiving a proper education.

She told MPs: “In Jersey, they have a situation where a parent has to apply every year to home educate and [they] are assessed every year. I have not gone that far.

“But I do think the local authority needs to be able to make that assessment.

“What I saw is that at the moment, people have about 500 children on their books and they just can’t make that level of assessment.”

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