Thousands of pupils missing from English school rolls – study

The Guardian is reporting that thousands of children and young adults in England are missing from official education statistics after being taken out of state schools and failing to sit their GCSEs, according to researchers who say they have uncovered a black hole in the government’s figures.

The research found that 22,000 pupils who would have been in the sixth form this year left mainstream schooling before finishing year 11. Thousands of these had either moved away from England, joined private schools or were being home-schooled, but the location of up to 7,700 children could not be identified, FFT Education Datalab said.

Philip Nye, one of the authors of the study, said it was a matter of “great concern” that several thousand pupils could disappear from school rolls each year, with no obvious means of ongoing formal education and almost certainly without gaining any qualifications.

The FFT research – the most detailed study of pupil movement – followed an entire cohort of 550,000 children enrolled at mainstream state schools in England, based on figures from the annual school census and the DfE’s national pupil database. The cohort’s numbers were traced from year seven, the first year of secondary school, up until taking their GCSEs in 2017.

The figures show that by the time of sitting GCSEs, 8,700 pupils were in alternative provision or pupil referral units, nearly 2,500 had moved to special schools and 22,000 had left the state sector – an increase from 20,000 in 2014.

Nye said the study used emigration data by age and internal migration data to estimate that around 60% of the remaining 15,000 children were likely to have moved away from England, in some case to other parts of the UK such as Wales.

That left between 6,000 to 7,700 former pupils unaccounted for, who appear not to have sat any GCSE or equivalent qualifications or been counted in school data.

Meanwhile, the chief inspector of schools in England, Amanda Spielman, has said Ofsted will closely look for instances of pupils being “hidden” in order to improve a school’s inspection reports.

Read the full article Thousands of pupils missing from English school rolls – study

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