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Pupil referral units - academies

30 April 2012

The Government appears likely to grant the Education Secretary powers to allow him to direct failing Pupil Referral Units (PRU’s) to convert to academy status. The option of academy conversion will also be introduced for outstanding PRU’s in September.

Gove’s powers currently are limited to directing a local authority (LA) to close a failing PRU. The Government argues that under the proposals, conversion to academy status, and removal from LA control, will give failing PRU's a chance to improve. The likely consequence being, increased competition between providers leading to improved services and increased numbers of PRU’s in any area, giving parents and schools greater choice around where best to send their child.

A recent report by government advisor, Charlie Taylor, suggests that PRU’s should only be run by a LA where the LA is “adding value”. It remains to be seen whether the changes will lead to greater autonomy, choice and competition between providers and overall improved services for vulnerable children.

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