City academies accused of boosting results by removing weakest pupils

The Observer reports that City academies have an exclusion rate nearly three times higher than that of neighbouring schools.

Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 8.7 pupils per thousand were excluded from a sample of 14 academies during the past school year. By comparison, 3.2 pupils per thousand were excluded from secondary schools in neighbouring areas, according to analysis published in Regeneration and Renewal magazine.

Academy head teachers are now being accused of using exclusions as a means of 'back-door selection', boosting results by removing the weakest pupils. 'The government's claims that these academies are helping children from difficult backgrounds are just not true,' said Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.

Head teachers and the government claim the children were excluded to help maintain discipline.

Academy exclusion 'is selection by back door' (The Observer, 12 August 2007)