A BASINGSTOKE headteacher has welcomed a government-backed review which has shone a spotlight on the use of exclusions to help boost exam results, but has called for more to be done.

One area of the Timpson review over behaviour and exclusions in English schools has highlighted so-called ‘off-rolling’ where schools remove difficult or low-achieving pupils.

This is done to boost a school’s exam league table position, as the results from excluded students are counted towards their new school’s figures, not where they originally attended. This is even if they were only at the new school for a matter of months.

The review recommendations are that school league table rankings have to include the exam results of pupils who have been excluded and moved elsewhere.

Chris Edwards, headteacher at Brighton Hill Community School, has welcomed the review bringing the practice of off-rolling to greater attention.

Mr Edwards said: “It is good that a spotlight is being shone on these areas.

“I think it is common knowledge that there is an issue nationally with off-rolling in which people and schools are behaving not in a scrupulous way.

“I would like to see more recommendations about the way forward. The review is certainly a step forward, but more needs to be done.”

Education secretary Damian Hinds has said a consultation in the autumn would consider how accountability measures, such as league tables, could be revised to keep schools responsible for the future outcome of excluded pupils.

Mr Edwards said while he could understand how headteachers could succumb to the pressure of school league tables, practices such as off-rolling are damaging and undermine legitimate reasons for exclusions.

The headteacher added: “There is a huge amount of pressure on school with league tables, and some heads are choosing to preserve themselves, rather than the needs of the student. That is worrying, but you can sort of understand why it is happening.

“There has got to be consequences for bad behaviour, of course. As a head, I have got to preserve my integrity - 99 per cent of students look to me know they are protected and I can provide them with the right environment to learn and succeed.”