UPON arrival, I was warmly welcomed by the headteacher, Pete Hines, who gave me a guided tour around the school.

A pupil, whose first day it was at Perryfields Primary PRU, approached Mr Hines and told him he wanted to stay at school rather than going home. This tugged on my heartstrings, and it became clear that the school provides a friendly and homely atmosphere.

Mr Hines, who became head six years ago, said: “The real strength of the school is our reputation.

"We have consistent high-quality staff. We are all about creating aspirations and self-belief to the children to help them learn.

“It’s all about the team effort here. Having that passion about doing what’s right for a child and that belief that we can turn things around for them. Everyone is passionate about improving pupils’ lives.”

The school’s attendance rating is 94 per cent, where the national average for a PRU school is only 67 per cent.

The school strongly focuses on its Outreach Programme which aims to ensure children can succeed in mainstream schools and prevents them from being excluded. This is achieved by supporting teachers and offering them support strategies to enable children to learn too.

The school, in Glebe Close, St Johns, organises regular residential trips for the children.

Deputy head, Rob Harrison said: “This enables the children to feel engaged and it enriches the curriculum. It’s all about providing opportunities to the children that they wouldn’t usually get.”

The school offers a six-week Positive Intervention Programme (PIP) for children from mainstream schools to attend to enable them to return after the programme.

100 per cent of the pupils who attend PIP have successfully returned to a mainstream setting.

The aim of the school is to offer an environment for children to learn and develop, as well as to cultivate a sense of wonder, empathy and understanding of the world around them.

They prepare children to make a return to mainstream education or a special school.

Mum to a student, Nickie Gwynn-Newitt said: “All of the staff are caring and very understanding of Zak’s needs and have made him feel more confident that he can actually do things when he tries.”


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