PRUsAP was conceived to support all staff in Pupil Referral Units in England and Wales (PRUs) and registered alternative providers including AP Academies and AP Free Schools. It also supports other educational professionals who work with children who are potentially NEET or under any other form or EOTAS.
Local authorities are responsible for arranging suitable full-time education for permanently excluded pupils, and for other pupils who – because of illness or other reasons – would not receive suitable education without such provision. This applies to all children of compulsory school age resident in the local authority area, whether or not they are on the roll of a school, and whatever type of school they attend. Full-time education for excluded pupils must begin no later than the sixth day of the exclusion.
While there is no statutory requirement as to when suitable full-time education should begin for pupils placed in alternative provision for reasons other than exclusion, local authorities should ensure that such pupils are placed as quickly as possible.
Any school that is established and maintained by a local authority to enable it to discharge the above duty is known as a pupil referral unit. There is no requirement on local authorities to have or to establish a pupil referral unit, and they may discharge their duties by other means. However, only a local authority can establish a pupil referral unit; although they can only do so after exploring the possibility of opening an AP Academy. Others can establish AP Academies or AP Free Schools.
They support a wide range of school aged young people in centres outside mainstream school but often work closely in partnership with groups of schools and other agencies. These vulnerable young people include those with emerging personality disorders, severe anxiety and depression as well as other mental health and medical needs.