Walsall Council’s Conservative cabinet are meeting next Wednesday (23rd October 2019) to consider the future of the New Leaf Centre Pupil Referral Unit in Rushall, Walsall.

Officers are recommending that Cabinet members approve the relocation to of the Pupil Referral Unit to Bloxwich and allow the proposal to move to the next phase of design and feasibility.

The report to cabinet states that:

“The basis of the proposal is to accommodate 80 full time equivalent places for pupils that have been excluded from mainstream education.

“If the council does not provide a new PRU, the quality of provision at New Leaf will continue to be inadequate.

“Outcomes and life chances will decrease for our most vulnerable learners and the council will also be unable to fulfil its statutory duty.

“The aim of a PRU is to reduce the impact of inequalities for children and young people who have been excluded from school, through providing appropriately targeted, specialist support and intervention, to enable them to make progress in relation to education and training.

“It is of crucial importance to the council’s strategic objectives that the young people of Walsall are able to access the right provision to meet their need in order to achieve the appropriate qualifications, progressing to employment and/or training and to make a positive contribution within the borough in the future.

“A new PRU building will provide fit for purpose classroom space in line with current building design recommendations.”

Councillor Lee Jeavons, Walsall Labour’s Shadow Portfolio Holder for Education and Children’s Services and Chair of Education Scrutiny responded:

“Pupils at New Leaf often arrive in challenging circumstances. They deserve and are entitled to an education and it is up to Walsall MBC to ensure that they get the best chance of that. I support the cabinet decision to provide a new facility, it is clear that the building currently provided is not fit for purpose.”

“The report goes on to say however, that the numbers of pupils being excluded is rising, particularly amongst our primary age population. I would urge the current administration to look into this and to work with schools on why this upward trend is occurring.”

 

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