New approach for pupils at risk of exclusion

At a scrutiny meeting on 14 December, Councillors received a presentation about the proposed closure of the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

Ofsted recently placed Warwickshire’s PRU in “special measures”, deeming the provision of education to be inadequate. As a result, the Council has been looking at how else these at-risk children could be educated.

A pilot scheme began in September whereby funding is devolved to groups of headteachers – known as Area Behaviour Partnerships (ABPs) – who work in partnership to arrange alternative education for pupils. So rather than be sent to the PRU, they could be enrolled at a nearby college, or receive specialist support at a Learning Support Unit. The aim is to improve pupils’ life chances by keeping them in mainstream education as long as possible.

Representatives from Warwickshire’s four ABPs attended the scrutiny meeting to share their progress to date. A very open discussion took place, and the following observations were noted:

  • While members endorsed the initial work of the ABPs, there were cross-party concerns over the proposed changes, particularly the speed at which the PRU will close
  • The amount of funding provided for LSUs is not enough for many schools, who are having to supplement this from within their own budget
  • While the Council will provide a list of quality-assured providers, there is no requirement for ABPs to select from this list
  • Close monitoring of the ABPs will therefore be needed, with regular reports brought to the scrutiny committee
For more detail, please see the minutes of the meeting.

Update: Cabinet approved the closure of the PRU on 15 December 

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