Broadwalk is a Key Stage 3 Pupil Referral Unit with capacity for 40 pupils. All pupils have been permanently excluded from mainstream school or are at risk of such.
The pupils on respite provision are referred through the In Year Fair Access Panel which comprises of all secondary mainstream Headteachers, the LA Officer for Admissions and Exclusions, a LA Assistant Director, the Exec Head of the KS3 and KS4 PRUs and the Head of the Pupil Health Referral Unit. This panel also agrees re-integration for pupils who have been permanently excluded. The Centre is in the process of setting up a partnership intervention provision off site which will pilot early identification of vulnerable pupils and will work with the schools, children and families to prevent permanent exclusion. This pilot (PIP – Partnership Intervention Programme) will be off-site in separate accommodation.
On admission all pupils are thoroughly base-line assessed in order that the PRU has an accurate picture of their starting points. These assessments are in literacy and numeracy, the core subjects, attendance, preferred learning styles and personal, social, behaviour starting points. The PRU then creates a Provision Map with targets to ensure accelerated progress in all areas. The targets are reviewed termly, reported to parents/carers and used to inform the follow-on Map.
Progress is monitored on a lesson by lesson basis using a key performance indicator (KPI) system linked to learning objectives . Underachievers are identified and action plans drawn up to address unsatisfactory progress.
The pupils who attend the PRU are particularly vulnerable. Most have had a disrupted school life and fall below the expected learning levels for children of their age nationally. Few are performing at age–related levels. Most have significant barriers to overcome in order to close the gap. These include social deprivation, poor attendance, some undiagnosed Special Educational Needs and mental health issues, multi generational workless-ness, involvement in the Youth Justice System and are at a higher risk of drug or alcohol abuse. The PRU typically has a high percentage of pupils on Free School Meals.
The aims of the PRU are to deliver a provision that enables the pupils to make good or better progress and to improve their life chances. There is a focus on re-integration whenever appropriate and the IYFAP ensures that all pupils who make the necessary improvements are given the opportunity to move back into mainstream. The PRU will also assess those pupils who need specialist provision and will co-ordinate Formal Assessments to explore the needs of these children and how they can best be met.
In order to achieve these aims there is an ongoing drive to ensure that teaching is of the highest possible standard. All staff are set challenging targets during appraisal which are linked to the School Development Plan. Currently 100% of teaching is judged to be good or better with no inadequate. The PRU has a structured process for addressing under-performing teachers whereby staff are clear about what support they should receive and their own accountability for performance.
We have a team dedicated to the pastoral care of the pupils which includes mentors, a family liaison co-ordinator, a senior youth worker, form tutors and TAs. This team works with outside agencies to support Child Protection Plans, Child in Need/Team around the Family actions, CAFs and Looked After Children PEPs.
The PRU also supports re-integrations with a mentor who increases the likelihood of successful moves back into mainstream settings.
Challenges include the accommodation which is an ongoing issue. There is a consensus at LA level that the current site is not appropriate and there are currently feasibility studies to find a more suitable home for the PRU. In the meantime the staff do their best to ensure that the children are safe and that they have as good a learning environment as possible.
The nature of the pupils has also shifted in recent years. We are seeing more referrals for girls and the percentage of females in the PRU has risen significantly. This has necessitated more flexibility of curriculum and strategies.
School exclusions in Salford are high. This has led to the most extreme and complex children attending the PRU. The staff are meeting the challenge of such a group in imaginative ways however all our successes move on quickly so our progress has to be tracked and monitored on an individual basis. When a pupil makes huge improvements and moves on we have done a good job but once they leave they no longer contribute to our overall figures and are replaced by pupils at the beginning of their journeys. This means that we track each pupil individually and look at the percentages of pupils who make good/better progress, improve attendance etc. So for example our attendance as a whole school may stay fairly static but 100% of pupils make progress on their baseline attendance on entry. We have judged ourselves based on thorough initial assessments and individual progress on their baselines.