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inadequate PRUs must become academies

27 June 2016

New regulations take effect today which enable the Secretary of State to force pupil referral units (PRUs) to become academies in certain situations.

The new law applies the latest provisions of the Academies Act to PRUs so that the Secretary of State has a mandatory duty to issue a PRU with an Academy Order if the PRU is inadequate according to Ofsted. The regulations also reflect other duties relating to the academy conversion process which previously only applied to school governing bodies. For example, there is now a duty on a PRU’s management committee to facilitate the conversion process where the PRU is being forced to become an academy due to its Ofsted grade.

The aim of the new legislation is to bring consistency to the academy conversion framework, ensuring that RSCs can tackle underperforming PRUs. Wider intervention measures, for example warning notices and the 'coasting' provisions, do not currently apply to PRUs. However, the Government has indicated that it intends to keep this under review and we anticipate a further focus on alternative provision performance in the future.

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