As part of its Pinball Kids project, the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) requested exclusions data from over 300 local authorities in order to test the theory that schools are using exclusions to improve their exam results.
The data reveals a significant increase in pupil referral unit (PRU) admissions in the first term of year 11 ahead of the January census. This is significant because the January census is used to determine which school will be held accountable for a pupils GCSE exam results. Admissions then drop off dramatically in the final two terms.
These findings are of significant concern and, if a school is removing a pupil to improve GCSE results, constitute highly unethical and potentially illegal behaviour. When sitting on exclusion panels, those governing should be mindful of this practice, particularly if faced with the exclusion of a year 11 pupil in the autumn term.