Thousands of badly performing pupils may have been expelled in the weeks before their GCSEs as state schools looked to boost their position in league tables, it is reported. The Evening Standard reports.
More than 30,000 pupils have not had their GCSE results recorded in tables despite previously appearing on school registers over the last three years, an investigation by the Times found.
The paper said there were 539,844 year 10 pupils at state schools in 2016, but only 526,956 had their results included in league tables a year later – a drop of 12,888.
The number removed before exams in the two years before that was 9,237 and 9,136, meaning 31,261 pupils have dropped out of the statistics since 2014.
But this figure also includes excluded students who have been sent to pupil referral units (PRU) – with the investigation saying 4,175 pupils were put in PRUs in the months leading up to exam season this year.
Matthew Coffey, Ofsted’s deputy chief inspector, said: “While we support the right of schools to exclude individuals who disrupt other pupils’ ability to learn, particularly those who exhibit violent or threatening behaviour, it is never acceptable to use exclusion to boost school performance.”
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Informal or unofficial exclusions are unlawful and we wrote to schools last year to remind them of the rules on exclusions. Any school ‘off-rolling’ on the basis of academic results is quite simply breaking the law.”
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