Peterborough education provider for excluded children rated ‘Inadequate’

Cllr Lynne Ayres
Cllr Lynne Ayres

The education provider for children excluded from mainstream schools has been rated ‘Inadequate’.

The Peterborough Pupil Referral Service (PPRS) was heavily criticised in a recent inspection by Ofsted and had its rating downgraded from ‘Good’, with inspectors stating the service is too stretched and wrong information is held on pupil attendance.

It was also stated that governors hold an “overgenerous view of the quality of education” because they have been given inaccurate information.

As a result Peterborough City Council, which handed over the management of the service in November 2017 to an independent governing body, is planning to take it back under its control before handing it to a different operator.

The authority said the Ofsted findings are no surprise after it had commissioned its own independent review earlier this year into services which offer support for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health problems.

Cllr Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for education, said: “When we passed responsibility for the service to the governing body we did so on the understanding that it would meet a number of government rules and regulations, including meeting standards set down by Ofsted.

“It is clear these rules and regulations are not being met to a high enough standard and, given the significance of the findings in our own review and that of Ofsted, it is essential that we take immediate action to be able to make improvements in the areas we know they are needed.”

The PPRS, which has 199 pupils, provides education for children who have been excluded from mainstream schools, are at risk of exclusion or have additional emotional, social, behavioural, medical or learning needs.

The service is run from three centres across the city.

Chair of the governing body Andy Coles, a city councillor, said: “It is disappointing that it has proved necessary for the council to take the service back into their control, but our staff are completely committed to improving the education of students in their care, and since the report findings they have worked hard to deal with the failings that Ofsted highlighted.

“I am pleased to say that many of the weaknesses have already been addressed.”