Bristol Off Rolling – LA Makes List of Highest Rates of Unexplained Pupil Exits

Bristol Off Rolling – LA Enters Charts For :
Bristol has at least one school which has lost an entire class of children in five years

Bristol has been named as one in a list of Local Authorities (LA) and Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) with the highest rates of unexplained pupil exits from their schools.

A new updated report out this month from independent research institute The Education Policy Institute (EPI) and sponsored by the National Education Union (NEU) researched the exit data of schools in England.

There has been concern in recent years from both parents and professionals about ‘unexplained exits’ from schools, often called Off Rolling. This is a practice some schools undertake to remove vulnerable learners without formal exclusion, in many cases it’s connected with ‘lower’ academic performances.

The new report finds that nationally, 10.1 per cent of pupils who reached year 11 in 2017 had experienced an unexplained exit during their time in secondary school. This is a one per cent increase from 2014, the same year the SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years came into operation.

The statistics for school exits in Bristol were taken into account for a 14 term period. The EPI found that during this time, there were 19 permanent exclusions at its 18 LA schools. It also found 114 school transfers for ‘family driven reasons’. Of these school exits, 76 were attributed to a house move, 22 pupils moved to a special school and 16 were migration related.

When it came to unexplained moves, Bristol had 295 which couldn’t be accounted for, at an average termly rate of 1.5 per cent.

During the course of its research, the EPI found there were nine school groups, seven LAs and two MATS which all had one single school with more than 30 exits – the equivalent to an entire class of children over five years.

These were: Merton, Tower Hamlets, Bristol, Derby, Kent, Leicester and Sefton. The MATs were Rosedale Hewens Academy Trust and Ormiston Academies Trust.

Also in the list of educational establishments with the highest levels of unexplained exits were the MATs E-ACT and Oasis Community Learning. Whilst the research does not name individual schools, both E-Act and Oasis Community Learning are responsible for 14 schools in the city between them.

E-Act has 28 academies across England. In Bristol they have Badocks Wood E-ACT Academy, Greenfield E-ACT Academy, Hareclive E-ACT Academy, E-ACT Academy, Perry Court E-ACT Academy and St Ursula’s E-ACT Academy.

In Bristol, Oasis Academy has Oasis Academy Bank Leaze, Oasis Academy Brightstowe, Oasis Academy Brislington, Oasis Academy Connaught, Oasis Academy John Williams, Oasis Academy Long Cross, Oasis Academy Marksbury Road, Oasis Academy New Oak.

The overall statistics for unexplained exits in England schools showed that around three quarters happened to vulnerable pupils. Broken down, the data revealed the stats to be:

36.2 per cent of all pupils who had also experienced a permanent exclusion.
29.8 per cent of all looked after pupils – hose in social care.
27.0 per cent of all pupils with identified mental health needs (SEMH).
15.6 per cent of all poorer pupils – those who have ever been on free school meals.
15.7 per cent of all pupils with identified special educational needs (SEND).
13.9 per cent of all pupils from black ethnic backgrounds.

Across England, the majority of pupils experiencing unexplained exits – 52 per cent – fail to join any school in the term immediately following the exit.

The recommendations from the policy included better data collection and transparency around pupil moves, especially for ‘voluntary’ managed moves between schools and for those moving into home schooling.

When it comes to Send, extra support for pupils should be made ‘independently’ and not by LAs who are responsible for delivering it.

The government should offer schools clear information and training on their responsibilities concerning support offered to children with Send. Those that take account of pupil vulnerability should be rewarded for their inclusion.

The EPI report also recommends that in its review of high needs funding, it should implement a funding allocation system that ‘promotes inclusion and early support for children with Send.


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