Last reviewed on 20 September 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 37257

The 2019 Ofsted inspection framework includes a focus on 'off-rolling.' Find out what it is – and what it isn't – as well as what you can do to address it in your school.

What the inspection handbook says

Since 2019, there's been a sharper focus on the practice of off-rolling, or using unlawful means to remove pupils from school rolls.

Where inspectors find evidence of off-rolling, they're likely to judge the leadership and management of your school to be inadequate (see paragraph 291 of the School Inspection Handbook). 

Ofsted's definition

Ofsted defines off-rolling as:

The practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without a formal, permanent exclusion or by encouraging a parent to remove their child from the school roll, when the removal is primarily in the interests of the school rather than in the best interests of the pupil. Off-rolling in these circumstances is a form of ‘gaming’.

See paragraph 290 of the School Inspection Handbook linked above.

There's no legal definition of ‘off-rolling' and the DfE doesn't have its own definition.

A post on Ofsted's official blog explains what