Agenda item

Decisions Number 12/02025 - PRU / Alternative Provision / review of current services. The outcomes of the PRU Review and proposed new delivery models for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Curriculum Provision


(Report by Mr M Whiting, Cabinet Member for Education, Learning and Skills and Mr P Leeson, Corporate Director for Education, Learning and Skills)


(Ms S Dunn, Head of Skills and Employability was present for this item)


1.          Mr Leeson introduced the report which sets out the proposals for the future delivery of PRU and Alternative Curriculum provision in eight localities based on district or double district configurations, following the PRU Review and consultation with Headteachers and PRU/AC Managers.


2.          Mr Leeson and Ms Dunn noted comments and responded to questions by Members which included the following:


a)    In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that the Alternative Curriculum Programme was the description of a whole range of options for young people from the age of 14 onwards.  There were a range of services commissioned in different ways and provided by a wide range of providers some of which were good and some very poor. The responsibility to commission the Alternative Curriculum was with the County Council, that responsibility in law passes to Pupil Referral Units and then on to the management committees and the management committee would commission the alternative provision pathways.


b)    In response to a question, Mr Leeson advised that the funding for PRUs had been haphazard.  There had been requests from schools for a transparent formula.  The agreed formula was based on the levels of deprivation and numbers of pupils in parts of Kent, which was in line with government guidance.  The figures given in table 1 of the report reflect the shifts of funding from current budget totals to the new formula funding that would be activated in 2014.  Mr Leeson agreed to forward a summary of the data by district to Members outside the meeting.


c)     In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that there had been a review of the capital programme.  A survey of the PRU accommodation was completed in March and was being analysed and there would be proposals to make steps to improve the accommodation.


d)    In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that there was a strong vocational offer which would include English and maths.


e)    In answer to questions, Mr Leeson advised that positions on the management committees would in the main be held by secondary school headteachers.


f)  Mr Leeson advised that the PRUs addressed a specific need for young people often aged 15 to 16 years old who do not have a school place and who it may be difficult to introduce into a GCSE examination programme in a main stream school their education was provided through the PRU provision through an alternative curriculum pathway.  It was an expectation that Key Stage 3 should lead to reintegrating to mainstream school.  However, from 14 years old and onwards sometimes it was better that the student did not return to the school where they were failing.  The target was to maximise reintegration.


3.   Mr Whiting stated that he considered that having a family of schools providing PRU provision was an exciting move forward and that PRU provision should not be viewed as a permanent destination. 


4.    Mr Leeson concluded by saying that some of the PRU provision was very good and took the opportunity of thanking Mrs Dunn and her Team for all the work carried out on the review.


5.     RESOLVED that:


a)    the responses to comments and questions by Members be noted;


b)    the Education Committee endorses the decision to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Education, Learning and Skills to approve;


                      i.     the process for the re-constitution of new Management  Committees with effect from April 2013 to include delegated powers over budget and  staffing;


                     ii.     the establishment of  8 locality hubs for the delivery of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 PRU  and Alternative Curriculum Provision; and


                   iii.     a wider consultation on these 8 proposals with parents, young people and other key service providers before implementation in September 2013.

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