Northumberland pupil referral unit (PRU)

Northumberland pupil referral unit (PRU) helps children whose behaviour at school causes problems for themselves and the school community.

Northumberland pupil referral unit (PRU) helps children whose behaviour at school causes problems for themselves and the school community.

Children who come to the PRU have experienced problems caused by their behaviour at school. These problems have probably affected their learning, their ability to get the most out of school and have often caused difficulties with other children.

  • offer children a chance to change
  • help pupils to find a way back into long-term education
  • help schools to support children when they come back
The PRU is not an alternative to school, a way for schools to get rid of ‘difficult’ pupils or a punishment for bad behaviour. Schools have often used up all options and may be considering permanent exclusion. Some pupils have been permanently excluded from school when they arrive.

While the PRU doesn’t tolerate any kind of violence or bullying, staff understand many children deal with problems by ‘acting out.’ A child may find it better to disturb lessons through constant low-level disruption than to show themselves up by not being able to do the work in lessons.

Schools are aware of this too and often put a lot of effort and ingenuity into supporting children with behaviour problems. However, they don’t have the time or scope to work as flexibly or intensively as the PRU can.
We don’t believe any child chooses to be constantly in trouble at school. We aim to make pupils, parents and school a key part of what we do.

Placements at the PRU are normally for 12 working weeks, during which we:
  • ask schools to describe the main problems and what needs to change to improve things
  • try to get to know children and their parents as quickly as possible
  • observe each pupil during lessons and non-teaching times
  • try to see things from the child’s point of view
  • set targets for improvement, which we share and discuss with the child throughout the placement
  • trial different methods to help pupils to achieve targets
  • attempt to reward efforts the child makes to look at their behaviour and to react in better ways
  • keep records of what we do and our observations
  • build up a profile of each child
  • aim to understand why certain behaviour happens, the times when it’s likely to happen and what can be done to make things better
  • share our ideas with pupils, parents and schools
  • use the improvement targets in review meetings to decide whether the child is ready to go back into school
At the end of the placement, we pass on all the information to the school in a report, which they should use to help support the child upon their return. Sometimes the report can help the school get extra help or resources.
If you have any questions email:

Emma Blackburn