Off-rolling: how to identify and prevent it

Ofsted will look for evidence of 'off-rolling'. Find out what it is – and what it isn't. See what measures your board can put in place to hold your senior leaders to account and prevent off-rolling in your school.

Last reviewed on 7 September 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 34789
  1. What is off-rolling?
  2. Scenarios: what counts as off-rolling and what doesn't?
  3. Ofsted inspectors will look out for off-rolling
  4. Use these tips to prevent off-rolling in your school
  5. Review your policies to address off-rolling directly
  6. What to do if you suspect off-rolling

What is off-rolling?

Off-rolling is when a pupil is unlawfully removed from the school register. 

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.

See paragraph 371 of the School Inspection Handbook.

The DfE's stance on unlawful exclusions and off-rolling

Your school should only permanently exclude a child where both of the following conditions are met:

Excluding a pupil is unlawful if it's done for any reason other than those