Plans for new pupil referral unit in Walsall

A new pupil referral unit could be built in Walsall.

The news comes after Ofsted inspectors said parents had refused to send their children to The New Leaf Centre in Pelsall Lane, Rushall, over safety concerns, while staff feared working there due to pupils' poor behaviour, in a report last year.

Walsall Council has been planning to move the current unit for some time and has looked at alternative property options and is now seeking to invest in a new building at the former Educational Support Centre at Field Road, Bloxwich and an adjacent property, the former Pinfold Centre in Field Close.

Councillor Chris Towe, Portfolio Holder for Education and Skills said: “Ofsted’s inspection in April 2018, and monitoring visit in June 2019, confirmed what we already knew, and had been working to resolve for some time, that the buildings at the current New Leaf facility were simply not fit for purpose.

“Although the Ofsted rating of Inadequate means that the PRU will now have to become an academy, this will take up to two years for that to happen.

“In the intervening period it would be very wrong for us not to continue to take steps to seek to invest in our vulnerable young people, to ensure they have a facility that gives them every opportunity to learn and thrive.

“Pupil referral units have very specific design requirements in order to cater properly for the needs of the students. By building a purpose built facility, we aim to create the best possible learning environment.”

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