Vulnerable pupil unit to move to Tilbury (and may be re-named after late councillor)

THE PUPIL REFERRAL Unit (PRU) in Thurrock is set to move from South Ockendon to Tilbury.

The ruling Labour cabinet has recommended that a £2.8 million school will be operating in 2015.

The plan is to move the current school from the Culver Centre in South Ockendon to the site of the former Jack Lobley School, in Leicester Road, Tilbury.

Council leader John Kent said: “If we are committed to education and supporting our children, the accommodation, location and facilities have to be better than they are at the Culver Centre.”

The PRU has had a chequered history. It went into special measures in March 2010. Four years later, it has, according to the government watchdog, Ofsted, improved, but still languishes in the ‘Requires Improvement”

Headteacher, Rebecca Durston was succeeded by interim head, Chris Millard who in turn was succeeded by Jan Culley.

The unit is due to be converted into an academy in June. The sponsor is Brighton-based Olive Academies Trust.

YT understands that a number of their staff are already at the school as consultants.

It was suggested at the meeting that the new academy may be named after late councillor, Diana Hale, which would, for some, be ironic, as “old school” Labour Diana described academies in Thurrock as “Grammar schools by stealth.”

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