Pupil Referral Units...any experience of?

(48 Posts)
bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 10:56:57

Ds's school have informed me this morning that, as from September, DS will be attending.
Does anyone have any experience of PPU, what can we expect?

EightiesChick Mon 05-Jul-10 11:08:14

I don't have any experience of them as a parent but I temped at one as a secretary once and was very impressed. The kids got much better ratios of pupil-teacher attention which seemed to be helping lots. The equipment in terms of PCs etc was pretty old though, but that would be a lesser issue for me. I'm sure others will have more informed comments to make.

mummytime Mon 05-Jul-10 11:10:32

Which year is DS in? They are normally called "Short stay schools" now. Have you had lots of contact with the school about your DS up until now?
I would contact parent parnership and find out more.

They can be fab, but they are a short term and expensive measure.

I haven't heard of them being used with primary students though.

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 11:11:12

I teach at a PRU- secondary though.

Was there anything in particular you're worried about? can I ask why your DS has been placed there?

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 11:12:01

Every LEA should have a primary PRU/Short stay provision.

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 11:30:58

DS is 8 and his behaviour has got to point where school say he is just too much...disruptive, aggressive, etc.
Sounds like these places aren't as bad as I was expecting, though.

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 11:40:49

Have they permanently excluded him, banana?

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 11:46:34

No, they say he will spend some days at school and some at PR unit

mummytime Mon 05-Jul-10 11:50:19

It could be for the best, as the PRU staff may well be able to get to the bottom of his bad behaviour, and help him with it. Good luck!

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 11:55:30

Sorry to keep asking so many questions...

Is that a permanent set up, or are they looking to move him to the PRU full time eventually? They need to be very clear with you about this.

Which days/how much time will he spend there? Are they the same days each week?

It sounds like it could be a really good idea if the PRU placement is to work on his behaviour and support him to be reintegrated into mainstream- if this is the case, then they need to agree a timescale (one term perhaps) to review the status quo. Force the issue on this; an ad hoc arrangement does nobody any favours, least of all your DS.

It may help if you contact the school and ask them to arrange for you to visit the PRU.

cornsilk5793 Mon 05-Jul-10 11:57:17

which LEA do you work in Tethersend? First initial.

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 11:58:58


tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 11:59:15

and F.

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 12:02:29

This is a temp measure in order to see if he improves

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 12:04:30

Have they given you a date for review?

Criteria for improvement?

I am slightly worried, because if they haven't let you know these things, then it means they have not let your DS know these things- which will seriously impede his progress.

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 12:05:49

Ds knows about PRU and school say it could be for as little as 3 months.

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 12:07:53

When will they review his progress?

Should be having a meeting after half a term max.

Litchick Mon 05-Jul-10 12:08:49

My expereince of PRUs is that the teachers are highly motivated and committed. The resources are great.
Many pupils fair better than in main stream.
However the pupils are there for a reason and of course things can get hairy.

OrmRenewed Mon 05-Jul-10 12:09:30

DS#1's school has one of it;s own. It seems pretty good actually. Pupils get lots of attention and it's a calm environment.

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 12:12:33

What does HIARY mean exactly...please not all out fighting?

Debs75 Mon 05-Jul-10 12:19:47

My friends son has spent a fair amount of time in PRU's and off school. dfrom her experience the PRU was great, less pupils more supervision. Her DS settled really well and did so good he was sent back to mainstream. Unfortunately that is where the big problems started.
At the PRU he was treated fairly, he didn't backchat as much and they really sttrived to understand him as a person and to help him work through his anger issues.
As for hairy we noticed that at mainstream ds was one of the worst behaved but at the PRU he was not. Some of the kids could be prone to violent outbursts but they were much bettrer equipped to deal with it. You may find that when he is confronted with a level of beahviour worse then his it shocks him.

Litchick Mon 05-Jul-10 12:21:36

I have witnessed some difficult stuff, including fighting.
However, it is not like that all the time. In fact it is incredibly calm because the teachers are appropriately trained.

I used to rep children in the care system and many were in PRUs. Given the huge issues these children faced, I think the PRUs dealt with them extemely effectively - not just containmnet, an actual education.

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 12:56:29

I would echo everything Litchick says- staff are better trained to deal with challenging behaviour, have the space to listen to children more and are able to circumnavigate confrontation.

However, you need to remember that there are some very damaged children in PRUs along with ones who have challenging behaviour alone.

I think the best way to put your mind at rest is to visit the PRU- the school should be able to arrange this for you; I am surprised they have not done this already TBH.

tethersend Mon 05-Jul-10 13:00:36

Oh, and cornsilk- why?

retiredgoth2 Mon 05-Jul-10 13:27:15


I will admit to having experience of a PRU. My feral urchin has ever been feisty, but this became uncontrollable after his mum, the lovely (if fearsome) Mrs Goth dropped dead. After a period of exclusions from mulitiple schools on his part, and denial, self-flagellation, and avoidance on my part, I finally allowed him to attend a PRU.

It was the right move. The PRU had small classes, motivated teachers with near one to one attention. He began to learn again. Yes many of the other kids were from horrifically deprived, neglectful and/or abusive families.

But many were actually quite nice. And several seemed to love to spend time, a lot of time, at Goth Towers. I wondered what awaited them at home.

But be warned. When I moved (at Xmas) into a different authority I went to see their equivalent provision. It was astonishingly poor, effectively an extension of the criminal justice system. I refused. He has since attended a fantastic village school, with his own TA (he has a fully funded statement, the PRU sorted that for us), and is moving on to a highly academic and high perfoming state secondary in September.

I am proud of him, and grateful to the PRU and the rural primary.

So be aware of the following points.

1. The PRU is a staging post. He will either return to mainstream education from there, or be channelled into EBD provision with a statement. You must decide which is best. I shudder at long term EBD provision (0.5% of kids there achieve 5 GCSEs. Oh yes) but it is better than repeatedly failing in mainstream.

2. Fight for a statement unless your DS's problems improve rapidly. Use it to get one to one help to facilitate mainstream return. REMEMBER mainstrean education is your child's right, unless he is posing a danger to others.

3. PRU and EBD provisions vary. Like all schools do. You are his parent, you still have a choice. Yes, be guided by the advice education professionals give, but look at the provision first. Talk to the people. Decide.

4. What has the Ed Psych said? Have ASD/ADHD/ODD or similar been ruled out?

Good luck! I am happy to be of any further aid, just ask.

Littlefish Mon 05-Jul-10 19:35:32

Very informative post RetiredGoth.

From a teacher's point of view, I have taught a child who spent part of the year at our PRU.

I work in a fully inclusive school, which is well known (and appreciated by our LEA Behaviour Support Team) for its positive behaviour management strategies.

We have close links with our local PRU and always have at least one pupil there. The child I worked with spent about 3 months at the PRU and then returned to school full time. He definitely benefitted from the provision there and is doing well back at school.

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 20:03:18

Thanks for all the great input and advice...very complicated subject, but will keep positive about DS's situation for his benefit

RollaCoasta Mon 05-Jul-10 20:17:09

Two of our part-time PRU attenders react entirely differently to the small, select groups. One, as an attention-seeker, is like a little angel in his 1:3 groups; the other, an attention-avoider, is many times worse than he is at school!

IMHO the small groups, better resources, time-out rooms, etc provide an 'unrealistic' setting for part of the week. We then expect the children to come back to a class of 30, having missed much of the week's work, and be able to cope. This must be difficult for them.

I have found outreach from the PRU to be more effective, where teachers and PRU can work together in a homogenous setting.

If, however, the child is putting other children or the teacher in any danger, or has more serious needs, then of course s/he needs the extra intense help several days per week.

bananalover Mon 05-Jul-10 20:22:17

God, now I really have got a spinning head...too many angles and choices.
Should I just refuse PRU point blank if part time does not work well?

cornsilk5793 Tue 06-Jul-10 09:21:50

Ask first how it is expected to work. It might be okay
Tethersend don't really want to say!

DD3 has been attending a PRU for the past 9 months. I cannot praise it enough. The staff know how to deal with things so much better. DD is respected as a person and she has responded really well in so many ways.
I was so impressed with it that I am now on their management committee (equivelent of governing body)

I now have the pleasure of having a very mature, well rounded, calm 16 year old DD thanks to the PRU.

DD's placement was not due to her being disruptive, but she (and I) have witnessed some very disruptive/aggressive behaviour there and it ahs always been handled so well and the students respond so much better to staff who react in a calm way.

If part-time placement is not going to work, maybe a shorter time there full-time would be better and then a gradual re-intergration when things have improved.
I would suggest contacting the PRU staff. I found them a million times more approachable and understanding than mainstream staff. <<sorry to all teachers on here!!!>>

bellavita Tue 06-Jul-10 09:52:52

I work in a secondary school and we have a unit like this. It seems to work well and some of the children are attending mainstream lessons now.

oysterbar Tue 06-Jul-10 10:42:47

My son is in a PRU for 3 days a week and attends his ms primary for 2 days. He has ASD and it's not the appropriate environment for him.

It has improved his behaviour as the classes are very small (5-10 pupils) and the teacher can differentiate the lessons according to his interests/obsessions. But he needs an autism-specific education and this is a way for the LA to avoid providing this for him.

Most other pupils do have social issues which have affected their behaviour, which means that modelling behaviour is a problem.

I would recommend that you read this guidance document (aimed at LAs) on PRUs so that you're aware of how things ought to be done. It should be a short-term solution and there ought to be regular meetings to arrange reintegration. Ours has been frustratingly disorganised about doing this and my son has been in the PRU for a year now.

Also, you need to be aware of the differences between PRUs and schools - the management structure is different, they don't need to follow the NC (there's a focus on literacy and numeracy at ours - very little else) and how staff are hired (staff have left very suddenly which is far from ideal for an ASD child).

There are positive aspects - the smaller groups was far better than a crowded classroom for my son and the staff could engage with him better because they could get to know each pupil. But do be aware that it should be a short-term placement and you need support/strategies that will continue through to his mainstream placement.

bananalover Tue 06-Jul-10 11:14:47

I can't help worrying about one thing really.
My DS is causing disruption in the class and being aggressive at breaktimes. From what the teachers say, he is only one in his class acting so badly.
But, if he is in a PRU class with, I assume, all the other pupils there having same behavioural issues, surely they will all just cause mayhem toghether? Won't they ALL be acting up and disrupting each other?
Don't really see how this can help them, putting them all in one room together.

Littlefish Tue 06-Jul-10 11:23:44

Staff at the PRU are highly trained. There is a high staff/pupil ratio. Many of the issues which may be causing stress and therefore reaction in school, may be aleviated (sp?) by the change in circumstances and direct behaviour work at the PRU.

ReasonableDoubt Tue 06-Jul-10 11:31:56

I have a huge problem with PRUs (and this is not an attack on the staff who work at them - many of whom I'm sure are amazing - or an attack on anyone who's child attends a PRU - I'm sure in some cases they can be good for a child).

I just think they are the LEAs way of shunting all the kids they don't know what to do with into one place, neatly kept away from everyone else. I have strongly resisted my child being placed in one. His behaviour is extremely challenging - partly due to his Asperger's, partly due to stress caused by the way the schools have dealt poorly with his SEN - andit has been suggested that he attend a BIP and (eventually) a PRU several times by LEA.

What I would want to know, as a parent, is: what is the route after PRU? What is the longer term strategy for my child? A few months in a PRU isn't going to magically make a child's issues disappear. So what are the LEA proposing happens later on down the line?

I only have experience of working with YPs in PRUs at secondary level, and I have to say in the areas I have worked (all London), there is one main royte out of PRU and that is into YOI. I would be interested to see if stats back this up.

I am not scare mongering. Honestly. I have no real experience of PRUs at primary level, so I am not saying they are all dreadful, but I struggle to understand the whole concept, really...

Littlefish Tue 06-Jul-10 11:54:32

When children return to our school after a placement at the PRU, the PRU teacher, the class teacher, parents, TA and senco work on a transition plan, to include the stategies which have worked well for that child. Classroom management strategies and school expectations are also examined to see which of them might have been contributing to behaviour difficulties in the first place.

The support from the PRU is then on-going for as long as required.

I can see what you're saying Reasonable Doubt about your concerns of children being shunted into one place. I can only say that in the case of my school, those pupils are absolutely still considered part of our school, and will be supported to return to the school at an appropriate time.

I think that success at the PRU really does depend on proper partnership working between parents, school and PRU and the school's willingness to reflect on what they do, and whether it works for all children.

slug Tue 06-Jul-10 12:32:29

I have a lot of respect for the staff at PRUs. I've taught quite a few lads who have gone to college straight out of PRUs. Without exception they have been delights to teach, calm, well spoken and thoughtful. Whatever they do to the students in there they should bottle it and sell it on, I've got nothing but admiration for them.

coopscow Thu 17-Mar-11 16:35:49

my sons adhd, diabetic, his behaviour at school is said to be the worst, he fidgets, makes noises, distracts the class, been kicked out of detention, isolation etc etc etc
We have had meeting with school, ed psych etc today n they have put into place yet another IEP we'v been told that if this doesnt work this time he will be sent to a referral unit for 12 wks or have a managed move to another school who can deal with him.
I feel a special school rather than a referral unit would better suit him. Confused

GypsyMoth Thu 17-Mar-11 16:39:00

our PRU is now not accepting new referrals from school....they have to have a managed move,which is what DD is looking at if she doesnt improove herself. cutbacks i'm told

MADABOUTTHEBOY2000 Thu 17-Mar-11 18:10:35

i was horrified when at first it was suggested to me my ds being sent to a pru when he has been dx asd its not the correct environment for him but this was dropped then weeks later i brought it up and they said oh no not appropriate environment for a ds with asd as if it had been my suggestion when it had been theirs confused

skybluepearl Fri 18-Mar-11 14:04:13

i used to work with kids attending PRU and school. The PRU was a more caring environment with lower staff ratios. The kids and staff had a very productive/positive relationship and the kids seemed more motivated to attend/achieve than they had been at school. Kids also had access to more appropriate/interesting subject areas - building/hair dressing/plastering etc. Yes the classrooms were lively at times and staff used various reward systems. Some of the kids had complex issues but were met with support/encouragement intead of hosltility/isolation/negativity. Great place for kids with ADHD.

Littlefish Fri 18-Mar-11 20:32:32

Coopscow - you might get more replies if you start your own thread. smile

missmehalia Fri 18-Mar-11 20:56:52

bananalover, I'd request a meeting with the head, SENCO and class teacher, as well as someone from the PRU to discuss all the issues. Have someone there to support you if you'd like that. Have your questions about how this will be planned, what this experience will be like for your DS, for how long/when will it be reviewed, who will your point of contact be at the PRU, will you be included at the review meeting (or, at least, your/DS's feedback), can you visit the PRU first, who will be responsible at each place for updating you and how/how regularly will that happen, etc etc. Get your questions together, including the difficult ones (not sure I'd like it altogether in your DS's shoes - not because the PRU sounds awful but I'd feel so out of it not being a f/t pupil at either.)

And huge good luck!! Used to work for a Behaviour Support Service, but quite a while ago now. Not sure how this 'continuity' would suit pupils, tbh. Don't like the potential for social exclusion/lack of continuity at both places. Ask why f/t statemented & supported attendance hasn't been offered at his mainstream school in the first place if it's all that bad, and don't let them wriggle out of a complete answer. I bet there are funding issues, but that's not your problem. I'd really be interested to know why they think this part-time PRU placement is better for him than full-time attendance at one place where his needs are appropriately addressed.

MADABOUTTHEBOY2000 Sat 19-Mar-11 18:46:51

Coopscow put your thread on SN its understandable your confused but dont want to hijack the Op's thread.
OP* you will find higer ratio's of Teachers and TAs probably about 8 or so pupils in a class and they will be better able to understand your Dc and have all the training and techics and handling policy to deal best with your DS does he have a DX? and statement i presume? whilsnt he is at the PRU id be doing my best if he has a statement to press for a SS permanently if this is what you say you feels where his needs will be better met *missmehalia is making a lot of good advice and you can ask to visit it yourself beforhand to see if YOU think its ok for him temp onlysounds like they think his behavious can be addressed in the PRU , but i cant see how when only part time as when he goes back in afternoon whatevers causing the problems is still there?

MADABOUTTHEBOY2000 Sat 19-Mar-11 18:47:12

omg so sorry how the heck did i do that lol

bionicmother Wed 13-Feb-13 16:28:18

I have son in PRU and to be honest, I want him out ASAP.
He has Aspergers and is very bright. Staff talk to him like someone with learning difficulties and he is constantly angry. His self esteem is suffering badly. I wish I knew that before. Home schooling would be the best option for him. Also they do not allow him to have any social interaction, it is like a prison!

orlakielylover Sat 16-Feb-13 14:08:02

MY experience has been that they are variable in quality, particularly in terms of quality of teaching and learning.

I've seen some that were excellent, and some that should have been shut down.

The suggested PRU should have an OfSTED - does that give you any clues as to they type of provision on offer?

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