The above word, which will probably not to be found in any dictionary, refers to the practice of ridding one's school of undesirable elements. If you find that your school has a lot of truancy, kids that are on the verge of being permanently excluded or likely to do really badly in their GCSEs, then this reflects poorly upon the school. What can be done?
Well one cunning and widespread wheeze is to persuade their parents to take them out of school altogether. They then cease to be your responsibility and become instead the local authority's problem. The best way of achieving this end is to get them to agree to deregister their children in order to home educate them. When some representatives from various local authorities gave evidence to the DCSF select committee, it was found that every single one of them knew about this trick. They all had cases of families who had been referred to them as home educators, but who really had never had any intention of educating their own children. They had been put up to it by the school which their children attended. So common is this practice, that it merited its own recommendation in the Badman report, No. 15.
I have mentioned before Firfield School in Newcastle, which during the late nineties managed to improve their statistics fantastically by typing out letters for the parents of persistent truants and those about to be excluded. These letters stated that the parents wanted to deregister their children in order to teach them at home. They were handed to parents and warned that either they signed or that they would be prosecuted for truancy. Either that or their kid would be chucked out of the school, thus blighting his future prospects. If anything, this sort of scheme seems to be even more popular now than it was ten years ago. Presumably this is because there are now so many home educated children in the country that the schools figure that a few more won't notice.
The latest variation on this theme is to target another group of children apart from the truants and hard cases who are about to be thrown out. These are fourteen and fifteen year olds who look unlikely to get a single GCSE. If their parents can be talked into withdrawing them before they take their examinations, then it boosts the overall pass rate for the school. Traditionally there have been two big surges in the age at which children are withdrawn to be home educated. These are just after starting primary school and just after beginning secondary school. Now there is another peak, a year or two before sitting GCSE's.
The fact that every local authority officer working with children who are electively home educated seems to be coming across children who have been edged out of school like this, suggests that the practice has become rather common. It would be interesting to know what percentage they make up of home educated children in the average local authority area.