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Two sides of Key stage 4

The bad news

* 10,000 pupils go "missing" from school at 15.

* Flexible education at KS4 in schools and alternative centres is hindered bycash and staffing problems.

* A fifth of teaching in pupil referral units is unsatisfactory and management is unsatisfactory in a quarter.

* 30 per cent of teaching in alternative centres is unsatisfactory and good leadership rare.

The good news

* Most secondaries are increasing the number of pupils succeeding at KS4, particularly those with a more flexible approach to the curriculum.

* Permanent exclusions fell in four out of five schools which offered a flexible curriculum.

* Units for pregnant pupils and young mothers generally offered a good education.

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