Pupil Referral Unit

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In the UK, a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) (or Pupil Re-integration Unit in some Local Education Authorities) is an establishment maintained by a local authority which is specifically organised to provide education for children who are excluded, sick, or otherwise unable to attend a mainstream or special maintained school. Each LEA has a duty under section 19 of the Education Act 1996 to provide suitable education for children of compulsory school age who cannot attend school. Placing pupils in PRUs is just one of the ways in which local authorities can ensure that they can comply with this duty. PRUs are a mixture of public units and privately managed companies.

Very often such pupils are described as displaying EBD - Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, exacerbated by unsettled domestic situations, a propensity towards criminal behaviour, bullying, or (conversely) having been the victim of bullying.

There are currently over 421 PRUs in England. Between 2002 and 2003, 17,523 pupils attended PRUs at some point. Although PRUs do not have to provide a full National Curriculum, they should offer a basic curriculum which includes English, mathematics, the sciences, PSHE and ICT.

A PRU is treated the same as any other type of school, subject to the same inspections from Ofsted. Since September 2010, some PRUs are referred to as "Short Stay Schools", although the government still broadly refer to them as PRUs or Alternative Provision (APs).

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