Albany PRU

Name Albany PRU
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 18 June 2014
Address Beard Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 6SA
Phone Number 01284754065
Type Academy
Age Range 14-16
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils unknown

Information about this school

The Albany caters for students in Key Stage 4 living in the western area of Suffolk who have been excluded or who are at risk of exclusion from school due to their poor behaviour. There are more boys than girls in the unit. The purpose of the unit is to prepare students for their next steps in education and to ensure that all have a placement post-16 to continue their education or vocational training. The western area of Suffolk is large and many students travel long distances to get to the unit. Taxis are provided, through a contract managed by the local authority, for those who live too far to walk or take public transport. Even by taxi, some journeys to the unit take over an hour. While the majority of students join the unit at the start of the academic year, many join at various stages during the year. Students’ time at the unit ranges from two full academic years to less than a term. Typically all, or nearly all, students tend to come from White British backgrounds. All students are supported at school action plus or have a statement of special educational needs primarily for behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. The majority of students have additional learning difficulties in literacy, numeracy and thinking skills. The proportion of pupils for whom the pupil referral unit receives the pupil premium, which is additional government funding for children in the care of the local authority and pupils known to be eligible for free school meals, is high. Over half the pupils are eligible for a free school meal. The unit uses a number of providers for vocational training and courses to students. These include the Zone for Learning in Thetford, West Suffolk College, The Green Light Trust and Nacro, the crime reduction charity. The unit had an Ofsted monitoring visit in March 2013 following the full inspection in November 2012.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. The unit nurtures students, and supports them and their families, extremely well. Consequently, students become more enthusiastic about learning and most improve their behaviour and attendance considerably. Students receive excellent training and input to help them develop work place skills. This enables them and their parents to both see and, in time, to secure a positive future for them. Students make particularly good progress in mathematics and science. Overall, they achieve well and all move onto relevant and appropriate further education courses or training. Parents and students all agree that the staff look after students well and keep them safe. Parents are full of praise at how the unit helps their children to turn their lives around. Teaching and learning are typically good and enable students to make good progress. Support staff and teachers work very well in partnership with one another to the benefit of students’ learning. Outdoor and adventure activities, such as sailing, help students to widen their experiences and to learn how to become more self-confident and adventurous. The headteacher is ambitious for the unit to become the best that it can. She is well supported by her deputy and the management committee in achieving challenging targets. Senior leaders are highly focused on improving the unit and enabling students to achieve the best that they can. They have secured good improvements since the last inspection. The local authority has provided good support for improvement and for teaching and learning. It is not yet an outstanding school because : Students do not always develop their writing skills to a high enough level, especially the more able. The quality of marking is inconsistent. It does not always provide students with clear guidance as to what they need to do to improve their work. Some ongoing issues beyond the control of the unit’s leaders make it difficult for them to tackle the behaviour and attendance issues of every student without more support from the local authority.