Off-rolling: how to identify and prevent it

Ofsted will look for evidence of 'off-rolling'. Find out what it is, how you can guard against it and what to do if you think it has happened.

Last reviewed on 9 August 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 37257
  1. What is off-rolling?
  2. What counts as off-rolling or unlawful exclusion?
  3. What will inspectors look at? 
  4. Tips to help prevent off-rolling
  5. How to address any off-rolling concerns

What is off-rolling?

Off-rolling is using unlawful means to remove a pupil from a school roll. It will be considered during an Ofsted inspection. 

If inspectors were to find evidence of off-rolling, they'd likely judge the leadership and management of a school to be inadequate (see paragraph 402 of the School Inspection Handbook). This would result in the school receiving an overall inadequate judgement.

Ofsted's definition

Off-rolling is a form of gaming where a school does one of the following, and the decision is made primarily in the interests of the school and not the pupil:

This is set out