Wales sets out to improve education provision within pupil referral units

Written by: Greg Lewis | Published:

Wales’ education chiefs are taking action to improve the provision of education in pupil referral units (PRUs).

Education minister Huw Lewis said a fresh new strategic approach was needed to drive up standards in units, which look after some of Wales’ most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners.

The Welsh government is drawing up a new PRU framework that is focused on the six areas of leadership, accountability, resources, structure, learner wellbeing, and outcomes.

Mr Lewis has established an Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) Task and Finish group, which is to be chaired by former Estyn chief inspector Ann Keane, to drive forward the proposed changes.

There are more than 40 PRUs in Wales serving around 600 children. The former Children’s Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler last year described it as a “Cinderella service”, whose status needed to be lifted to ensure that children achieved their full potential in education.

“PRUs can provide an opportunity for some of our most vulnerable young people to get back on track, both emotionally and educationally,” said Mr Lewis.

“For many young people the PRU might be their last chance of formal learning so it is vital that we ensure the experience is both enriching and positive.

“We know that provision in some PRUs delivers exactly that, but in others the experience is less positive and this is not acceptable.

“The evidence cries out for a fresh and strategic approach. That is why the Welsh government is working on a new framework to improve PRU provision.

“I want PRU staff to be involved and engaged with the work of the Task and Finish Group so they can help to shape and improve future PRU provision.”

Ms Keane added: “I am pleased to have an opportunity as chair of the Task and Finish Group to discuss ways of securing improvements in the education delivered to learners in the sector and establishing a framework for change.”


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