31st January 2022

The Features of Effective School Groups: Measuring pupil inclusion at school-group level

This new research paper by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), calls for multi-academy trusts and other school groups to be judged on a wider range of measures relating to pupil inclusion to allow for more informative comparisons.

School groups – such as academy trusts, federations, dioceses and local authorities – are a central fixture of England’s school system today. Previous research has measured the effectiveness of these groups, but this has mainly focused on pupil progress and attainment.

The EPI paper, which is sponsored by the National Education Union (NEU), argues that solely focusing on these measures has serious limitations and can lead to exclusionary practices, such as not admitting vulnerable children, excluding them or “off-rolling” them before they sit their GCSEs.

As part of a wider project which aims to highlight effective school groups, the research paper proposes that school groups should be judged on positive examples of pupil inclusion, alongside progress and attainment.

The inclusion measures proposed – based on school choice, attendance and exclusions and pupil achievement – would serve as a means for school groups to benchmark their progress against others and identify improvements.

EPI is seeking feedback on the proposed measures of pupil inclusion in its paper and is encouraging organisations to engage in a new consultation, which is open until 14 March 2022. This will then feed into a final report published in Summer 2022.

The full paper can be accessed here.


Consultation: How to give feedback on our inclusion proposals


We encourage and welcome your feedback in order to improve these measures of pupil inclusion in school groups. Please send feedback to feedback@epi.org.uk. The closing data for emailing feedback is 14 March 2022.

When you contact us, please provide us with some details of which organisation you are representing with your views, for example a university faculty, a school or an academy trust.

Consultation questions

For each of the three areas we cover:

  • Are there any changes or improvements we can make to our proposed metrics?
  • Are there any we should not include?
  • Are there others missing that we should add to our proposals?

Some specific questions are:

  • School choice and admissions: we have suggested two main approaches, one using odds ratios and another using logistic regression. Which approach is preferable?
  • Attendance and exclusions: We particularly invite feedback on our newly proposed metric for in-year admissions. We are unaware of previous attempts to quantify in-year admissions and would welcome feedback on what we have proposed.
  • Pupil achievement: We propose a measure of ‘basic attainment’ for our measure of attainment. Should we consider a different indicator for overall pupil attainment?
  • Methodological considerations: What is the most preferable approach to contextualisation? Considering the caveats outlined in the paper, should we use statistical methods to contextualise our metrics based on a range of factors about the school group and its pupil intake, or should we identify appropriate comparators for each school group?
  • Radar plots: Is it useful to aggregate phases together in these plots in addition to presenting phases separately?




This report is sponsored by the National Education Union.