This post has been prompted by a visit to our PRU from my lovely tweep friend @cherrylkd. Sometimes you don’t realise what you’ve got until you see it through the eyes of an unbiased person and this is what happened to me recently.
Our kids come from a range of backgrounds but the common denominator is that their mainstream schools struggle to manage their needs. Some are on dual placement for two terms or more, others are permanent exclusions. The perm exes are more straightforward; they have been rejected and they are ours. The dual placements are more problematic; ostensibly their schools want them back but the reality is often different.
This is the background to Cherryl’s visit and I couldn’t wait for her to see our school and give her opinion. On the morning of her visit she was given a warm welcome by our staff and I was so proud of the wonderful individuals who make up our PRU and how they
convey their enthusiasm for their jobs. It made me realise anew why I love my job and my fab colleagues and head teacher.
We went on a tour of the school once the children had arrived and it was interesting to see their reactions to a visitor; our nurture group were very chatty and responded really well, asking questions and giving opinions. The little ones also responded well ; the older ones were much more guarded which is true to form for them- there are some difficult characters in that group!
However, we did see the older ones in a new light when they were playing ‘blind football’ as part of our sports week link to paralympics; they were relaxed and showing a great team spirit! At that time we were also being visited by PCSOs who joined in the game and the response from our kids was great!
Since the visit Cherryl and I have discussed what she felt and she acknowledges the difficulties associated with getting attached to our children, saying she would ‘be in a pickle’. She said she could ‘feel the caring’ despite my concerns that we are an assessment centre rather than a long term school. After the visit two of our older children absconded, giving staff and police the slip, but returned a little later on. It is hard for outsiders to know why this happened and what relationships are being tested but we have to realise we are not the answer to all problems. Sometimes we need to acknowledge that there will be others who need to take up cudgels on behalf of our pupils and will succeed where we cannot. However we will always strive to support our kids despite their worst intentions and we will continue to love them. This is why we do our jobs and why we will never give up on children that everyone else has.