Schools should be accountable for the exam results of pupils they have permanently excluded by including them in their league table rankings, a major new Government report will say.
The review, led by the former children’s minister Edward Timpson, will demand that headteachers continue to be responsible for pupils even when they have been expelled.
Ministers at the Department for Education (DfE) commissioned the review last March, amid concerns that teachers are using exclusions to get rid of students who they fear will drag the school's results down.
In the last three years, permanent exclusions have risen by 40%. Fixed-term exclusions, also known as suspensions, are also on the increase: up from 3.5% in 2013-14, to 3.88% the following year, 4.29% the year after and 4.76% the following year.
Under Mr Timpson’s changes, excluded students will still be counted in schools league table rankings. The aim is to eliminate the practice of “off rolling”, the controversial practice of removing weaker or more difficult students from the school register without formal expulsion in order to bolster results.
“We have a bizarrely disjointed system,” Timpson told The Times.
“When schools exclude a pupil, they hand them over to the local authority which becomes responsible. A good school maintains close interest in what happens to the pupil, but in too many cases once the pupil is excluded interest disappears. In a sense the pupil is no longer their problem.”
Timpson will recommend limiting the number of suspensions a child can be given in a school year. At present, pupils can be suspended for up to 45 days each academic year, a number the former minister wants to see reduced significantly.
Although endorsing the report, Education Secretary, Damian Hinds believes that headteachers must be allowed to continue to expel pupils when necessary but it must only be used as a last resort.
The full review, including Timpson’s recommendations, will be published by the DfE today.