Earlier this week the Education Funding Agency (EFA) published an update on how pupil referral units (PRUs) can convert their status and become an alternative provision academy.
As the Agency highlighted earlier this year, the Government believes that all pupils, regardless of circumstance or setting, should have the opportunity to benefit from an excellent education, which will help them get the most out of their lives and avoid self-destructive paths such as crime, drugs or being out of work.
This means for alternative provision that education standards should be on par with mainstream schooling, and that providers should meet the needs of pupils to help them overcome any barriers to attainment.
The Government is committed to raising standards in alternative provision and believes that the varied needs of pupils and schools can be best met by giving education professionals greater autonomy.
As part of this, the Government has given PRU management committees delegated budgets and control of staffing, as outlined in the schools’ White Paper 2010 and, in part, enacted by the Education Act 2011.
This will essentially give PRUs similar autonomy over budget and staffing decisions to maintained schools, while, in addition, PRUs now also have the opportunity to take advantage of the freedoms and benefits offered by academy status. The recommendation is that most PRUs convert to academies by 2018.
PRUs that wish to convert to academy status need to register with the Department for Education by completing and submitting a registration form, which will be used by the Department to provide them with detail about the next stage of the process.
However, PRUs that apply should note that the information provided in response to the invitation to register, or in an application form, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes, primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998.