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Units praised for top pupil support

Two pupil referral units (PRUs) have been praised for the "outstanding"

support and guidance they offer children whose behaviour is too challenging for mainstream schools.

Inspection agency Estyn said the PRUs in Bridgend and Pembrokeshire benefit from excellent heads who help pupils develop positive attitudes, achieve high standards and behave well.

In the key area of assessment, the inspection teams awarded grades 1 and 2, indicating good with outstanding features and no important shortcomings.

The Bridgend report detailed a high rate of reintegration into mainstream education. During two terms in 2005, 44 per cent of key stage 3 pupils reintegrated while 38 per cent took up placements at a special school.

Inspectors said the PRU at Aberkenfig, which has 55 pupils aged seven to 16, is "an effective and rapidly improving provision which meets the emotional and behavioural needs of its pupils".

Pupils attended far more frequently than they did at mainstream school and punctuality was good. "In most lessons, pupils quickly settle down and respond well to teachers' presentations, questions and practical activities," said the report.

"They increasingly become well-motivated to achieve the clearly stated lesson objectives."

At the Pembrokeshire unit in Milford Haven, most of the 31 pupils achieved, and sometimes surpassed, agreed learning targets. Behaviour was good and relationships strong.

Most pupils participated with interest and enthusiasm in lessons and had a good attitude to learning. All teachers had good up-to-date subject knowledge.

In KS1 and 2, pupils achieved good standards in all subjects except Welsh and design and technology, which both received grade 3, mainly because pupils could only attend on a part-time basis.

But the inspectors found some flaws. In Pembrokeshire, Estyn said the unit should develop a policy for the planning and development of, "bilingual, creative and key skills" across the curriculum.

It was also urged to improve the quality and consistency of marking and ensure that the curriculum for KS1 and 2 pupils complements the one used in their mainstream school.

In Bridgend there were some shortcomings in ICT skills across the curriculum. And although the head was described as "outstanding", the management structure was unwieldy.

The management committee of the Bridgend PRU said it was delighted that the inspection team noted high standards in its care for pupils. In Pembrokeshire the unit said Estyn's recommendations reflected the school's development plan.

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