A PUPIL referral unit has been highlighted for its practice by inspectors.

Ysgol Plas Cefndy has been spotlighted for its 'best practice' by Estyn.

The referral unit, for pupils experiencing social emotional and behavioural difficulties, operates across three sites.

The main site at Ysgol Plas Cefndy in Rhyl houses foundation phase to key stage 4. The Ruthin site houses the Stepping Stones provision for pupils in the primary phase and an additional site in Rhyl houses the Milestones provision for a group of key stage three and four pupils who present with high levels of anxiety.

An Estyn report published states: “Before a pupil is considered for a PRU placement there is an agreed graduated response, which schools follow to try to keep pupils in mainstream school. The PRU supports this response through the outreach services it provides. Members of the team work alongside schools, providing crisis intervention, group and one-to-one sessions, advice to staff and bespoke training.

“By the time a pupil is referred for placement, the PRU will already know them. staff will have an understanding of the pupil’s barriers to learning and will be able to tailor the curriculum to help them overcome these barriers and make a successful return to school, or college for those in Year 11.

“Pupils in the primary department spend half-days in the PRU and half-days in school. This approach is key to ensuring that pupils still have a sense of belonging to their mainstream school and this has been a significant factor in the success of the programme over many years."

The report goes on to say 'reintegration is carefully considered during Pupil Centred Planning reviews, where specific aspects of the timetable are considered.

"Post-placement, the team continues to support the pupil in a sensitive and agreed way, be it short term in the classroom, sessional support or just checking in with the pupil during the week," it added.

"The outreach team is at the heart of the PRU. It provides flexibility and quick response when a pupil is in crisis and has become the most effective provision for pupils to make reintegration a success. It also allows the PRU to make the best choice for individual pupils, when identifying which member of the team will continue to be their contact on return to mainstream."

Staff will be attending the Estyn excellence awards this month, said to be the first time for any PRU in Wales.