Some Pupil Referral Units Are More Successful Than Others
: what do key stakeholders think makes the difference?

  • April Kitchener

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The key research issue of this thesis is what professional key stakeholders perceive as the factors that result in some Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) being more successful than others. This is a qualitative study of data which was collected between 2006 and 2009 using chaos and complexity theory as a theoretical framework.

    In establishing what a successful PRU is, the study identified two types of PRU provision:
    - Primary and Key StageS PRUs: staff work to reintegrate students into mainstream schools after a period of intervention.
    - Key Stage4 PRUs: integration into college or work placement is seen as being more appropriate routes for older students. In addition KS4 PRU provision was perceived more as a 'long-term' provision to provide continuity and stability during the examination period.

    The study provides a brief overview of early educational provision before looking at the introduction and development of PRUs in England and Wales. The study analyses responses by Estyn and Ofsted HMI teams to quality and standards within PRUs and goes on to present key stakeholder perceptions of PRUs. Factors that impact on the quality of a PRU are then identified and discussed with the main element being identified as the characteristics of the PRU head teacher.

    Finally the study suggests a new model of leadership and management qualities that contribute to a successful PRU.
    Date of AwardSept 2009
    Original languageEnglish


    • Mainstreaming in education
    • Special education

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