Monday, May 27, 2024

Pupil Referral Unit moving in right direction say Ofsted

OFSTED’S first visit to the Thurrock Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), after saying it “requires improvement”, shows those improvements are already happening.

In a letter to the new headteacher Jan Culley, the inspector said: “Senior leaders and the management committee are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement.”

The letter continues: “In the short period since the full inspection many things have changed as a result of extensive discussions between staff and the management committee about how the vision for the unit’s future can be realised.

“Changes that have already taken place are working well to set out higher aspirations for students. Tighter routines are in place at the start of the day and appropriate behaviour is rewarded more consistently. This means that the day starts purposefully and promptly, there is a smoother start to lessons and there are clear expectations of students to behave well.”

The letter also highlights the plans to convert the unit to an academy and explains how the senior team and management committee “are now firmly committed to turning around low expectations from the past”.

It states: “They inherited a legacy of low aspirations among students, their families and local schools for students to return to mainstream schooling. Too many students who were permanently excluded from their primary or secondary schools have stayed too long at the unit.”

That is changing, says the inspector, with the team “starting professional discussions with local schools about the unit’s main purpose in providing short-term placements and clear programmes towards reintegration to mainstream schooling”.

Thurrock Council Leader and education portfolio holder, Cllr John Kent, said: “I visited the PRU last month and the inspector’s comments reflect my own opinions.

“There’s still work to be done, we all know that, but the unit is heading in the right direction backed by the strong leadership of the new head and the determination of the management committee to set high aspirations.”

He added: “What really grabbed my attention – and it was the same at both sites – is that there was a real sense of purpose and learning; a positive atmosphere that seemed to be everywhere.

“The inspector’s comment about the PRU being a short-term answer is something all our schools need to take on board. In Thurrock we want all our students to have the best possible start in life and that means being in mainstream education wherever possible.

“And it’s really pleasing to see the work Thurrock Council has put in being recognised in the letter too.”

The inspector’s letter does say there are still areas for improvement needed, including revising the action plan so it reflects the long-term aims of the unit; determining clear criteria for future admissions to the unit; improving students’ attendance; and making sure students have the good quality learning environment they are entitled to.


  1. Two Executive Headteachers on mega money and ‘Requiring Improvement’ was Ofsted’s judgement?!

    “Senior leaders have accurately identified what needs to be done”. A monkey’s uncle knows what should be done! Talking the talk is one thing…but walking the talk is another!

    Two years since the last inspection and the Ofsted grading still remains at a ’3′…fact! The phrase ‘rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” springs to mind!

  2. rocket1 me old mucker, you haven’t replied to my latest retort under “Grays Convent tops table in number of students taking on “traditional” subjects”!


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