Interesting reportin the Ely Standard about a proposal for a free school in Ely that it is believed could act as a better and cheaper alternative to a Pupil Referral Unit. The new school would be children unsuited for mainstream schooling and offer a highly personalised curriculum for each child. It would allow for earlier intervention than takes place at present. It would be available for "Key stage 2" children (those aged between seven and 11).

City of Ely College principal Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, who is involved in the proposal says:

“These are some of our most vulnerable young people. For a number of different emotional or behavioural reasons, they just do not get on in mainstream school. They need something else, something very specific to their individual needs.

“Until recently, when we’ve identified that a child requires an alternative means of education but does not have a statement of special needs, we have been able to access local authority support and, if needed, refer the student to the PRU. But as cuts to public services have begun to take effect, these services have been gradually rolled back, leaving these young people in environments which are clearly not right for them.

“This does them no good, but it is also damaging to the other students whose education can be disrupted and slowed down.”

The school would be run by 7KS.

The report adds:

Local mainstream schools will refer students to the school when they identify a specific need, as is currently the case with the authority provision. The Bridge will, however, offer a more cost effective,
innovative, and tailored solution, which will be carefully negotiated with the referring school, the student and their parents to ensure the best outcomes for each individual. It will also offer the service to primary schools for KS2 students, something they have not previously had access to.

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