Plans to Merge Sunderland PRU Schools Receive Backing

The Link School

Plans to merge Sunderland’s three Pupil Referral Units and to inject £1.4m to regenerate a former school building at Springwell Dene in Sunderland as a new home for the amalgamated school have received the backing of councillors.

From September 2019 The Key Stage 1 PRU, The Link School: Tudor Grove and The Link School Pallion will be known as The Link School Sunderland. The amalgamated school will cater for children aged 5 to 14 studying at Key Stages 1 to 3.

The Link School Sunderland provides alternative provision meeting the needs of pupils not attending mainstream school. It will continue to operate from two sites. Children and young people aged between 14 and 16 studying at Key Stage 4 will remain at the current location in Pallion. From September 2019 Young people aged 5 to 14 studying at Key Stages 1 to 3 will access provision from the newly refurbished Springwell Dene School site.

The move to the Springwell site will increase PRU capacity in Sunderland with an additional 70 places.

Sunderland Link School provision is rated Good by Ofsted with inspectors praising good progress from starting points, improving attendance, good behaviour and pupils taking pride in their work and increasing in confidence.

Experienced Link School Headteacher, Donna Walker, who previously led the KS2, KS3 and KS4 provision will lead across both the Springwell and Pallion schools.

The refurbished facilities at the Springwell Dene site will include a new £250,000 ICT infrastructure, music recording studio, refurbished arts and ceramics studio, upgrades to every classroom, refurbished sports and dining halls, a dedicated Key Stage 1 zone and the creation of an outdoor classroom activity area.

Councillor Louise Farthing, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s good to see new life being given to this school site and I’m confident pupils will benefit from the variety of new facilities.”

Jill Colbert, Chief Executive at Together for Children, said: “The Springwell site offers a much improved standard of accommodation for our Link School staff and pupils and I commend all involved in bringing this plan to realisation.”

Fiona Brown, Executive Director of Neighbourhoods at Sunderland City Council, said: “This project will benefit communities, families and residents and improve our alternative provision in Sunderland.”

Together for Children, which manages children’s services in partnership with Sunderland City Council is also working with schools across Sunderland to implement strategies to reduce the level of school exclusions including liaising with schools to further increase understanding around pupil’s additional learning needs.


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