The commitment to putting creativity at the heart of what they do at Manchester Secondary Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) was described by the Tes Schools Awards judges as “impressive” and “extraordinary”.
The PRU ensures that the core of academic subjects it covers is enhanced and enriched by a focus on identifying and developing strengths in creativity and art, whether through sport or the arts.
Across the 26 sites served by the PRU, pupils are offered a wide range of experiences, such as outdoor education, working with artists and writers, photography, access to art spaces in the city, competitions, opportunities to take part in music recording, production and playing, and visits to the cinema and theatre.
The school has been awarded the Artsmark Platinum Award, the top creative quality standard for schools and education settings accredited by Arts Council England.
Its entry reads: “We feel that it is important to give our pupils access to new experiences and opportunities. We believe that these opportunities enhance their skills and provide vital experience for them to become active citizens of Manchester now and in the future.”
The judges were impressed by the commitment of the school to arts: Ty Goddard branded it “extraordinary”, while Vijita Patel said it was “an example of best practice”.
The lead judge of the category, Sir Kevan Collins, said he was very impressed by the entries: “I was struck by the extraordinary focus on children facing education disadvantage, and the willingness to spend personal time and energy on activities that sadly aren’t recognised in the accountability measures but are often the things that matter most.”
Of the winner, he said: “The corporate and governance commitment to the agenda is impressive and perhaps more than you typically see from those leading alternative provision. The PRU has also built great relationships and engaged with partners across the city, which is particularly important for young people who have been excluded from mainstream education.”