AN education scheme set up to help pupils get back on track with their learning has been praised by Government inspectors.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) visited the Pupil Referral Unit, in Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, last month as part of a national programme of inspection.
Lead inspector Clive Petts looked at a number of areas in detail including:
l How well students achieve, re-engage with their learning, whether at school or in the unit, and how well they are reintegrated back into mainstream school;
l How far the students’ behaviour and attendance improve while at the unit;
l How effective assessment procedures are in helping to shape activities to meet the individual needs of students and provide clear guidance of improvement.
The report said: “Since the last inspection in May 2008, there have been significant improvements in all students’ outcomes and, as a consequence, the unit offers a good education for its students.
“The staff provide good teaching and an interesting curriculum that offers students opportunities to continue their school subjects and choose from a variety of enrichment and vocational experiences.
“The excellent care and good support and guidance are evident in the way staff are sensitive to the needs of students.
“Consequently, most students overcome many of the significant barriers to their development and re-engage with learning, whether during school-based preventative action or full-time placement in the unit.
“After arrival, most students soon see themselves in a more positive light and begin to thrive.
“Overall, students make good progress, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
“Students’ behaviour is never less than good and almost all become responsible and safety-conscious.
“They show respect to other students and adults, which is reflected in their good relationships.
“As a result nearly all are able to successfully cope with the demands of returning to their school.”
The report also praises leadership and management of the unit.
It added: “The service manager Tony Hanson, ably supported by an adroit management committee, is successfully driving forward improvements to realise his ambitious vision for the unit.
“The good management of teaching and learning by the service manager and a local authority officer has led to several improvements.”
In a letter to students following his visit, Mr Petts wrote: “I want to thank all of you for the friendly welcome that you. gave me.
“I was impressed by your sensible attitudes and good behaviour in lessons.
“The unit provides a good quality of education where the staff take good care of you.
“You are clearly aware of the importance of managing your own behaviour successfully and the benefits that staying healthy can bring.
“You take pride in your achievements and appreciate the efforts that staff make to ensure learning is interesting.”
Councillor Cath Hill, the council’s portfolio holder for Children’s Services, said: “This is a really positive report and testament to the excellent team we have at the Pupil Referral Unit.
“It’s so important that the right support is provided at the right time to ensure that all of our children reach their maximum potential,”
l Mail view: Page 8