A pupil referral unit in Denbighshire is celebrating becoming top of the class – the first unit in Wales to receive excellent gradings across the board in their Estyn inspection.
The Ysgol Plas Cefndy Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) which also includes Milestones in Rhyl and Stepping Stones South in Ruthin houses children from 3-18 who are experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, with 78 pupils currently on the roll. The unit aims to return pupils to mainstream education or to further education, training or employment.
Inspectors visited the unit in February and deemed standards; well-being and attitudes to learning; teaching and learning experiences; care, support and guidance and leadership and management all to be excellent and reflects “very strong, sustained performance and practice”.
The report referred to Ysgol Plas Cefndy as a “highly effective provision”.
Some of the key highlights in the report state:
- Pupils with a wide range of needs and abilities make very good progress during their time at the PRU.
- Over time, a very high percentage of pupils return and maintain placements in mainstream education.
- Curriculum activities are highly engaging and motivating and provide pupils with an exciting range of learning experiences. As a result, pupil attendance is very high.
- Staff have a deep understanding of pupils’ needs and through rigorous analysis of all data, ensure pupils receive the support and intervention they need to succeed long term. The staff have excellent partnership working relationships with a wide variety of external agencies. These partnerships contribute significantly to the progress made by pupils.
- The headteacher provides the PRU with exceptional leadership. The senior leadership team are highly effective in their roles which provides stability across the PRU. Staff are extremely motivated and strive to improve the outcomes for all pupils. Leaders have a very strong commitment to professional development opportunities for all staff at the PRU. This contributes strongly to the progress of the PRU and the overall effectiveness of the provision.
Other highlights include the significant improvement in behaviour and academic learning; the development of literacy and other skills; opportunities to develop skills and obtain qualifications; a strong and innovative curriculum is in place; excellent working relationship between the school and pupils; great working partnership with mainstream schools; excellent relationship with parents and guardians and a highlight effective and motivational leadership, supported by enthusiastic staff who support the leadership team effectively.
Estyn has requested that the school produces a case study on its work in relation to the high number of pupils who return and maintain successfully their placement in mainstream education, to be included on Estyn’s website for sharing as best practice with the rest of Wales.
Wayne Wheatley, Chair of Ysgol Plas Cefndy’s Management Committee said: “We are delighted that this report makes such positive reading. It’s an excellent reflection of the commitment and dedication of the whole community at Ysgol Plas Cefndy to provide the best possible start in life for their children and young people.
“We are proud how our pupils respond to their own challenges are given opportunities to thrive and to nurture their education, creative and social skills. This is backed up by an excellent group of teachers and support staff who provide an excellent quality education and support. This has been reflected in the Estyn report and we are really proud of the achievements of everyone associated with Plas Cefndy.
“Of course, we will not become complacent and we will address the one recommendation included in the report to improve provision through the medium of Welsh for pupils from Welsh-medium mainstream schools”.
Headteacher Nicola Wynne-Roberts said ‘ For Every Child – a chance’ is the vision the school lives by. It is this vision together with a highly dedicated and patient team that has led us to such an amazing outcome.
The full report can be found on Estyn’s website: