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Admission Pathway to a Staffordshire Short Stay School/Pupil Referral Unit

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The admission pathway sets out the categories of pupils who are eligible for admission to a Staffordshire Short Stay School or Pupil Referral Unit.

If there are any concerns or queries – either general or related to individual cases, please contact the Education Inclusion Officers who will provide guidance. 

The District Inclusion Partnerships (DIPs) have been established to act as the “managers” of the school community in regard to inclusion.  Admissions to a Staffordshire Short Stay School or Pupil Referral Unit for a preventative placement would therefore be, in the majority of situations, facilitated through the DIP.    The Chair of the DIP will have ‘Power to Act’ between Partnership meetings when decisions are required urgently, i.e. placement of Looked after Children or pupils who have an Education Health and Care Plan.

Please note that any Looked After Child from another local authority who is new to the authority, the school/Pupil Referral Unit must ensure Staffordshire’s Virtual School Headteacher is notified in the first instance as well as the School Admissions and Transport Team Email admissions@staffordshire.gov.uk.

If a pupil referred for a Pupil Referral Unit placement has an Education Health and Care Plan then the SEND Assessment and Planning Service must be involved in any discussions or meetings.  Email sendreferrals@staffordshire.gov.uk.

The terms Pupil Referral Units, Alternative Provision and Short Stay Schools are used interchangably.

Who is eligible for admission to a Pupil Referral Unit?

There are 5 categories of pupils who are eligible for admission to a Pupil Referral Unit.

Main Roll of Pupil Referral Unit -

1.  Permanent Exclusion

2.  Exceptional Admissions – no catchment school identified

Dual Roll to Pupil Referral Unit -

3.  Pupil at Risk – Intervention

4.  Medical Condition

5.  Support as part of a Managed Move

How to make a placement request

All placement requests will require the completion of the relevant Pupil Referral Unit’s Admissions form and schools should ensure that the pupil’s Common Transfer File is forwarded in advance of an agreed admission date. 

Good practice would support all pupils accessing a Pupil Referral Unit placement should have an Early Help Assessment (EHA) in place

Schools and Pupil Referral Units should take into account the DIP Protocol and Good Practice Guidance when proposing pupils for placement.

No pupil should be transferred to the main roll/single registration of a Pupil Referral Unit for any other reason as those outlined above as this may constitute unlawful exclusion and the Local Authority will not provide the planned place or Element 3 (TRIG-8) funding to the Pupil Referral Unit in such circumstances.

Schools accessing dual roll/subsidiary roll placements will be charged the Element 3 top up funding in line with the High Needs Top-up Assessment Framework TRIG-8

1. Permanent exclusion - Eligibility & Mechanism for Pupils accessing a Main Roll/Single Registration placement at a PRU

1. Permanent Exclusion (PEX)

Initial Contact

Education Inclusion Officer to be  advised by excluding school of the permanent Exclusion.

Paperwork required

Excluding school to complete the Notification of Permanent Exclusion and return to inclusion@staffordshire.gov.uk

The contents of this form will provide sufficient information to support admission to the Pupil Referral Unit.

Action

  • The pupil will be discussed at the weekly Local Authority managed Alternative Provision Panel whereupon the education offer to the pupil following the Permanent Exclusion is agreed.
  • Education Inclusion Officer liaises directly with the Pupil Referral Unit Headteacher to ensure education is provided from day 6 following permanent exclusion. 
  • For KS3 pupils a mainstream school must be identified and this is facilitated through the Pupil Referral Unit Headteacher and District Inclusion Panel unless exceptional circumstances apply.  Additional funding is available to support pupils transferring from a Pupil Referral Unit roll to a new mainstream school
  • For KS4 pupils a mainstream placement may be sought for pupils who are deemed able to achieve within a high school setting.
  • In the unlikely rare circumstances of the exclusion of a Looked After Child being considered, then the Personal Education Plan meeting must take place including the Social Worker or Virtual School from the pupil’s Home Local Authority.
  • A package funding request may be considered (please see TRIG-8 document for process) in exceptional circumstances eg siblings, perpetrators & victims on same site
  • The placement will be reviewed regularly through the Alternative Provision Panel.
  • The Pupil Referral Unit to consider the initiation of an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment request if there are unidentified SEND needs and a longer term specialist provision or if return to a mainstream school with support is required.

2. Exceptional Admissions - Eligibility & Mechanism for Pupils accessing a Main Roll/Single Registration placement at a PRU

2.    Exceptional Admissions – no catchment school identified 

Initial Contact

The usual protocol should be that all children are placed on the roll of their catchment area school in order to access a preventative placement at a Pupil Referral Unit.

Where no school has been identified the Education Welfare Worker, Education Inclusion Officer, Social Worker, Virtual School Headteacher/Co-ordinators, Principal Admissions Officer or the Children Missing Education Officer may identify pupils in exceptional circumstances for Pupil Referral Unit placement but the usual protocol should be that children are placed on the roll of their catchment area school in order to access provision at the Pupil Referral Unit.

All exceptional admissions will be agreed at the Alternative Provision Panel.

Paperwork required

The relevant Pupil Referral Unit's Admission Form must be completed by the agreed lead officer.

Actions

  • If Looked After Child then the Personal Education Plan must take place including the Social Worker or Virtual School from the pupil’s Home Local Authority
  • If appropriate a multi-agency meeting must include the catchment mainstream school representative, Education Inclusion Officer and Pupil Referral Unit to establish school placement.
  • A package funding request may be considered in exceptional circumstances eg siblings, perpetrators & victims on same site.
  • The placement will be reviewed regularly through the Alternative Provision Panel.

 

3. Pupil at Risk - Eligibility & Mechanism for Pupils accessing a Dual Roll/Current Subsidiary placement at a PRU

3. Pupil at Risk – Intervention Placement

Pupils causing concern where their education placement is at risk and an intervention placement is sought for a short term.

Initial Contact

Schools raise pupils at risk of exclusion through their District Inclusion Panel and linking with their Education Inclusion Officer.  Schools can also discuss the pupil directly with the Pupil Referral Unit.

If the pupil is a Looked After Child then notification to the Virtual School is required in line with statutory guidance promoting the education of Looked After Children pupils.

NB. Looked After Children should not wait for the District Inclusion Panel where this may put delay into the system.

Paperwork required

Pupil’s home school to lead on the completion of the Early Help Assessment alongside the District Inclusion Panel (DIP) referral form which has to be sent to the Chair of DIP 7 days before the DIP meeting or, if necessary, at the Pupil Referral Unit discretion with Chair agreed. 

For Looked After Children pupils the home school to convene a Personal Education Plan. 

For Education Health and Care Plan pupils, an early annual review should be considered.

Action

  • PRU intervention agreed at District Inclusion Panel taking into account the prioritisation of vulnerable pupils.
  • Pupil is recorded on the District Inclusion Panel database  
  • Pupil Referral Unit liaises directly with pupil’s home school regarding admission
  • Success Criteria for targets will milestone meetings between school and Pupil Referral Unit to share progress
  • At end of agreed intervention, the pupil should return to full-time attendance at their home school or named school. 
  • The Pupil Referral Unit may support a managed move to a new school
  • Pupil Referral Unit will be responsible in charging pupil’s home school for the agreed dual roll placement in accordance with the agreed rates.

4. Medical Condition - Eligibility & Mechanism for Pupils accessing a Dual Roll/Current Subsidiary placement at a PRU

4.  Medical Condition

Initial Contact

Best practice in Staffordshire is that mainstream schools manage most cases independently without the need of Pupil Referral Unit intervention.

The pupil’s home school to liaise directly with the Pupil Referral Unit Headteacher and inform the Educarion Inclusion Officer Education Welfare Worker.

If the pupil is a Looked After Child then notification to the Virtual School is required in line with statutory guidance promoting the education of Looked After Children pupils.

Paperwork required 

Pupil's home school to lead on the completion of the Early Help Assessment and ensure pupil is included on the District Inclusion Panel Database through referral to the District Inclusion Panel.

Action

  • The Pupil Referral Unit can support, advise and signpost the pupil’s home school to ensure full access to education but this remains the responsibility of the pupil’s home school.
  • Pupil Referral Unit will be responsible in charging pupil’s home school for the agreed dual roll placement in accordance with the agreed rates.

5. Support as part of a Managed Move - Eligibility & Mechanism for Pupils accessing a Dual Roll/Current Subsidiary placement at a PRU

5. Support as part of a Managed Move

See District Inclusion Panel Protocol document for advice and guidance on managed moves.

Initial contact

Schools can raise pupils identified for a managed move through their District Inclusion Panel.  Agreements between schools can include support from the Pupil Referral Unit. 

Education Inclusion Officers and Education Welfare Workers to be informed.

If the pupil is a Looked After Chidl then notification to the Virtual School is required in line with statutory guidance promoting the education of Looked After Chidlren pupils.

Paperwork required

School to complete District Inclusion Panel (DIP) referral form which has to be sent to the Chair of DIP 7 days before the DIP meeting.

Action

  • Details of support required from Pupil Referral Unit, if applicable and must be included within written managed move agreement between schools and agreed at District Inclusion Panel meeting when prioritising pupils within district.
  • Please refer to District Inclusion Panel Protocol on advice and protocol regarding managed moves.
  • Pupil Referral Unit will be responsible in charging pupil’s home school for the agreed dual roll placement in accordance with the agreed rates.

Managing Disengagement from Education. Weeks 1 and 2 - Step 1 and 2

Pupil Referral Units to follow the pathway below when addressing poor attendance of pupils on their single/main roll:

Weeks 1 and 2

Step 1

Attendance Status

  • Admission
  • Full time position offered.

School led intervention

  • Initial education provision offer made.
  • Does this meet the needs of this student? Could external alternative provision package be considered for KS4 students at this point?
  • Students and parents/carers are informed that goal is to return them to mainstream provision.
  • Parental liaison - Parents are informed that 100% attendance is expectation.
  • School to ascertain which external agencies are working with the family.

Desired Outcome

  • Full time engagement in education provision.

Step 2

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised
  • Approaching 10 ‘O’ codes only Unauthorised Late ‘U’ to be addressed internally as demonstrates partial engagement.

School led intervention

  • Home Visits
  • Safe and Well, child/parent thoughts and feelings
  • Daily contact
  • Amended timetable explored or external alternative provision considered
  • Parental liaison- Parents informed that statutory action may be taken.

External support

  • Offer of support from external agencies to improve parenting capacity.
  • Contact Early Help Assessment Team in respect of available parent groups. 
  • Parental approval required by Pupil Referral Unit

Desired Outcome

  • Re-engagement leading to full time engagement.

Management Disengagement from Education. Weeks 3 to 6 - Step 3 and 4

Step 3

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised
  • 20 ‘O’ codes threshold reached within a 12-week period

School led intervention

  • Daily contact plus one home visit.
  • Safe and Well & mentoring.
  • Explanation of Statutory Action threshold
  • Revisit timetable and Alternative Provision options.
  • Revisit external support offered to parents.
  • Refer to Education Welfare Worker

External support

  • Parent invited into attendance clinic in Pupil Referral Unit which is led by the Education Welfare Worker.
  • Education Welfare Worker to consider if 20-day notice period to start and if consultation meeting is required.
  • If 20 day notice not followed education consultation to be planned for Step 5.

Desired Outcome 

  • Re-engagement leading to full time engagement.

Step 4

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised.
  • In excess of 20 ‘O’ codes reached within a 12-week period and continuing.

School led intervention

  • Daily contact plus one home visit.
  • Safe and Well & mentoring
  • Explanation of Statutory Action threshold
  • Tracking/Case study collation.

External support

  • Request support from another Pupil Referral Unit.
  • Penalty notice period on-going

Desired Outcome 

  • Re-engagement leading to full time engagement.

Managing Disengagement from Education. Weeks 6 to 8 - Steps 5 and 6

Step 5

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised
  • In excess of 20 ‘O’ codes reached within a 12-week period and continuing

School led intervention

  • Daily contact plus one home visit.
  • Safe and Well & mentoring
  • Case consultation to consider if an Early Help or social work referral is indicated.

External support

  • Education Welfare Worker to hold Education consultation meeting to review statutory options.
  • Penalty notice period on-going

Desired Outcome

  • Re-engagement leading to full time engagement.

Step 6

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised
  • In excess of 20 ‘O’ codes reached within a 12-week period and continuing.

School led intervention

  • Daily contact plus one home visit.
  • Safe and Well & mentoring

External support

  • Penalty notice period on-going

Desired Outcome

  • Re-engagement leading to full time engagement.

Management Disengagement from Education. Weeks 9-12 - Steps 7 and 8

Step 7

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised
  • In excess of 20 ‘O’ codes reached within a 12-week period and continuing

School led intervention

  • Daily contact and one home visit.
  • Safe and Well & mentoring

External support

  • Penalty Notice period ends – Review held led by Education Welfare Worker and decision made on issue of Penalty Notice.

Desired outcome

  • Re-engagement leading to full time engagement.

Step 8

Attendance Status

  • Unauthorised
  • In excess of 20 ‘O’ codes reached within a 12-week period and continuing

School led intervention

  • Finalise Tracking/Case Study
  • Refer to Alternative Provision Panel for review of provision with presentation of case study/ tracking (see Step 4).

External support

  • Penalty Notice Active for 4 weeks following issue.  Pupil must remain on roll during this period.
  • Prosecution for non-attendance.
  • If prosecution is taking place Education Welfare Worker to bring up-date to Alternative Provision Panel.

Desired outcome

  • Re- engagement leading to full time engagement
  • All options considered, and/or additional resources required.

 

Recording Dual Registered Pupils

Enrolment Statuses and Absence Codes Enrolment Status

Enrolment Status

A pupil will generally have one of the following enrolment statuses recorded on your MIS system:

‘C’ (current - single registration at this school)

‘M’ (current main - dual registration)

‘S’ (current subsidiary - dual registration)

We would not expect any pupil to be registered under “G” (Guest).  We would also expect the Pupil Referral Unit to be clear with the mainstream school and provide guidance that the mainstream school will need to change their registration from C to M when the Pupil Referral Unit is providing an intervention placement.

The ‘Y’ code can be used to record a pupil’s absence from the Pupil Referral Unit due to transport issues.

Recording Absence Correctly for Dual Registered Pupils

To avoid the double counting of attendance and absence for pupils who are registered at more than one school (referred to as ‘dual registered’), each school will need to ensure they:

  • record the attendance and absence for the sessions the pupil is required to attend at their school
  • use code ‘D’ (dual registered at another educational establishment) to record all of the sessions that the pupil is due to attend at the other school
  • Attendance code ‘D’ is not collected in the school census as it is not counted as a possible session.   The number of ‘sessions possible’ for a dual registered pupil against the main school should exclude those when the pupil is due to attend the subsidiary school and vice versa. (source:  School census 2015 to 2016 Guide, version 1.5)

Examples

Pupil A holds a Main Dual (M) registration at a secondary school, and a Subsidiary Registration (S) at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).  The pupil attends the PRU on Fridays only.  The secondary school will therefore mark the child as absent on Fridays with a code of ’D’, and the PRU will mark the pupil as absent Monday to Thursday using the ‘D’ absence code.  Use of other absence codes in these circumstances may artificially increase percentage absence rates for your school/PRU.

Pupil B is present at an off-site educational activity that has been approved by the school.  The school record this absence as code ‘B’ (approved education activity as the pupil is being educated off site; not dual registration); DfE guidance states that by doing this the school is certifying that the education is supervised at the time to warrant the ‘B’ code, and measures have been taken to safeguard pupils eg visits from the PRU would depend upon safeguarding risks.   This code should not be used for any unsupervised educational activity or where a pupil is at home doing school work.

Further guidance around attendance published by the DfE can be found here.  

Staffordshire’s Model Attendance policy can be found on our main SCC website.