Pupil Referral Unit: Planning, absences and teaching standards criticised by Ofsted

THURROCK Council has welcomed the latest Ofsted inspection of its Pupil Support Service, saying it mirrors its own opinions.

The service includes a primary pupil referral unit at the Phoenix Centre, Corve Lane, South Ockendon, a secondary pupil referral unit at the Culver Centre also in Ockendon, and a tuition service for pupils who are medically unwell, either at home or at Culver.

During the two-day inspection the team recognised the considerable improvements that have been made across the service over the last two years.

This included recognition that “the standard of teaching has improved significantly” and that “senior leaders have accurately identified what needs to be done to improve the service and have made considerable strides forward”.

Executive head Mark Vickers said: “It was particularly pleasing to see the inspection recognised the work that has gone on over the past two years. We know the work’s not finished, but it was excellent to get independent confirmation that we’re heading in the right direction.”

He added that the inspectors’ “requires improvement” judgement was exactly what was expected.

Thurrock Council’s education portfolio holder, Cllr John Kent, said: “The council has made changes in the service which will, in the longer term, see it improve.

“Unfortunately these things can never turn around overnight but that’s looking backward and we’re looking forward to a time when the stability is there for all to see and the changes we are and have been making in the service mean the improvements are fully established.”

Mr Vickers added: “All the leaders here are pleased their work to improve the service has been recognised and they will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the improvements accelerate as a result of the inspection.”

While the report recognises the service’s strengths, it says work still needs to be done in some areas of teaching standards, lesson planning, absence management, and publishing information online.

Mr Vickers said: “We are already working on all these areas for improvement mentioned by the inspectors and I am sure the next visit will show marked improvements in all these areas.”

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