ASCL comment on unexplained pupil exits

11/10/2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Education Policy Institute’s report on unexplained pupil exits from English schools.
 
 
Commenting on the Education Policy Institute’s report on unexplained pupil exits from English schools, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
This research shows that we need to better understand why a number of pupils leave their schools for reasons which are not immediately apparent.
 
But it acknowledges that it is not possible to tell which cases of ‘unexplained exit’ are more or less in the interest of the child and that a proportion will be for legitimate reasons.
 
“It is right to use this analysis to ask questions but we would urge commentators not to jump to conclusions about particular trusts or local authorities or to try to score political points.
 
What is clear is that we need a system of measuring school performance which rewards the inclusion of vulnerable pupils rather than the current system which effectively penalises schools with inclusive intakes because these pupils tend to make less progress than their peers.
 
To their credit the vast majority of schools strive to be inclusive despite these pressures but it is perverse to have an accountability system which pulls in the opposite direction.
 
We agree completely with the Education Policy Institute’s recommendation that school performance measures and accountability need to take the vulnerability of the school’s pupil intake into account.”