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Managing pupil mobility to maximise learning - full report

Author: Ceri Brown, Chris James, Hugh Lauder
Subject: Helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children
Audience: Headteachers, Middle leaders and aspiring headteachers, Early years leaders, Stakeholders and partners
Date of publication: October 2011   |   File format and size: PDF, 448 Kb

Pupil mobility - an influx then exit of children at often random points during the school year and for a variety of reasons - is the subject of this project, which examines what can be learned from the schools with a record of success in managing pupil mobility.

It looks at:

  • factors leading to high levels of pupil mobility
  • how schools manage mobility successfully
  • the leadership behaviours and approaches that are important in managing pupil mobility.

Main findings

Managing pupil mobility well requires high-quality educational leadership, the report concludes, so the leadership and professional authority of the headteacher (or equivalent) become particularly significant.

A good relationship with the local authority is also important, with a high level of trust between service directors and schools.

Other key points

  • Governing bodies need to be effective and to understand the challenge their schools face and to support the school leadership
  • Schools that manage pupil mobility successfully are professionally generous, so resources to support a child's learning were committed whether or not there was likely to be any benefit for the school itself.
  • Leaders of schools that manage pupil mobility successfully have high expectations of themselves, their staff, the pupils and their parents, and all those connected with the school.
  • Responding to the particular learning needs of mobile pupils is important.
  • Managing pupil mobility successfully requires a high level of financial expertise as it can be difficult and expensive; it is unpredictable, and pupils need individual attention.
  • The schools from which mobile pupils depart have a significant responsibility for managing pupil mobility, including the transfer of information to the new school or college.

A summary of this report is also available.

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