In an article with The Guardian, Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman has criticised schools for expelling pupils deemed as below the national attainment average, particularly before important exams such as GCSEs.
Her comments come after a recent report found that a large number of pupils with special educational needs are being expelled before they sit their exams at the end of year 11 in a bid to boost overall results for the secondary schools in question.
She stated: “Dealing with students of different needs isn’t always easy but in the end the job of educators is to do what’s right by children…off rolling is an example of where schools have lost sight of the purpose of education. Prioritising accountability and gaming over giving the children the support that they deserve.”
Yet these recent comments could lead to a backlash from school staff. With a lack of funds and growing pressure on schools to achieve above the national average for their data, some schools are clearly feeling the pinch and struggling to maintain their stability within the setting.
Further data is set to be released on Wednesday but if these comments are accurate then clearly changes need to be made. What the Ofsted Chief Inspector has failed to outline in this recent study is how schools can support those pupils deemed to be below the national attainment average.
Focussed interventions with clear outcomes are pivotal but the right funding streams must be available to ensure such practices can be maintained. It is also critical that children are supported in the early stages of their development so positive interventions in primary schools are crucial to ensuring everyone is given the best opportunity to succeed in our school settings.
Ofsted must consider providing solutions rather than just pointing the finger at problems within school settings.