1 February 2017
Commenting on data released by Education DataLab, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT has long heard anecdotal evidence that some academy chains are 'managing out' pupils to boost their position in league tables. This research from Education DataLab demonstrates categorically that these practices are rife in some schools and in some sponsored academies in particular.
"The Government has created an unaccountable and fragmented school system in England through its academy and free school programme, in which thousands of schools now manage their own admissions and there is precious little oversight of what goes on. In addition, huge cuts to local authority budgets – some 40% since 2010 - mean that local authorities have little or no resources to follow up school exclusions as they once did when the Education Welfare Service was properly funded. Coupled with a draconian accountability regime in which a school’s league table position is rapidly becoming the be all and end all of educational ‘success’, the Government has created the perfect storm of conditions for ‘gaming’ the system in which our most vulnerable children are the losers.
“The Government must take these research findings seriously. Ofsted inspectors should consider this matter in reports of schools. Government needs to end the practice of schools acting as their own admission authorities and it needs to reduce the league table pressures that encourage some schools to engage in practices that are not in the interests of children and young people.”