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(UK) MORE COVERAGE: SPED students held back to improve test scores

Oct 25, 2019, BBC: School results: Pupils' years changed 'to improve school results' https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-50158153 Some schools may be moving pupils off their registers as an "easy way" to improve exam data, the watchdog Estyn has warned. The proportion of pupils who do not move from year 10 to the final year of GCSEs has nearly doubled in six years. Estyn said data suggested the majority of pupils repeating year 10 were "not doing so for genuine reasons". The Welsh Government said the increase in pupils not progressing to year 11 was worrying…. The report looks at "off-rolling" - pupils being moved from a school's roll without being formally excluded - and is often referred to in relation to improving exams data. Using data from the annual schools' census, the watchdog found 1,352 pupils did not progress from year 10 to year 11 in 2017-18. Pupils eligible for free school meals and those with special educational needs were far more likely not to progress up to year 11 than their peers. … What happens to these pupils? Estyn looked at pupils who repeated year 10 and those who moved into other provision, known as Education Other than at School (EOTAS). "Of the 91 pupils that repeated year 10 in 2018-2019, over half of these pupils were at a very few schools," it said. … But there had been a marked increase in the percentage of these pupils whose main education provider was listed as EOTAS, rather than the school. That meant their results would not count towards their school's exam performance…. The report says some council officials said schools were eager for pupils to be mainly registered with the other education setting so their results would not count. "It is seen by schools as an easy way for a school to improve its performance data," the report said…. "It is worrying that the number of children who do not progress from year 10 to year 11 has increased," said a spokesman. … "Most school leaders will be concerned to see that there has been a sharp rise in the percentage of pupils who repeat year 10 and will be more keen than anybody to ensure that this is never done as a means of manipulating performance tables."