Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Children was in Ipswich this week. I joined her for a visit to Parkside Pupil Referral Unit. This PRU takes 32 children who refuse to go to school - this might be because of fear of school or large groups of people and often the children have multiple problems. Most of the children are in Year 10 and 11, although Parkside now takes Year 9 pupils with the aim of returning them to mainstream schooling for their GCSE years.
The school takes an innovative, flexible approach and includes work based placements as well as traditional schooling. They have good facilities for computing, science, art and cookery. We were treated to a loud drumming session just before we left, so I can report first hand that they have good music facilities too!
Parkside has an excellent record in helping difficult kids go on to achieve their potential in future life. Hopefully it will go from strength to strength.