Inside A Pupil Referral Unit, A School For "Unteachable" Children

19 July 2019, 12:02 | Updated: 19 July 2019, 12:05

What happens to the children who are deemed to be "unteachable"? LBC has gained rare access to a Pupil Referral Unit, which takes on the most troubled and disruptive students who’ve been kicked out of mainstream education.

Yesterday, the crime figures were released, showing record levels of knife crime in England and Wales. It's an issue that has been linked to rising numbers of permanent school exclusions. Almost a quarter of children who said they'd carried a knife had been expelled or suspended from school.

And it's getting worse. Exclusions from schools have risen 56% in just three years.

Many of the kids kicked out of mainstream education end up in specialist schools called Pupil Referral Units, which have been described as 'fertile ground' for gang recruitment.

LBC has been granted rare access to one of these schools - the Limes College in Sutton.

It is one of 60 specialist schools in London and has 150 pupils. With a high staff-to-student ratio, their aim is to get the pupils to a position where they can go back into regular education.

They even have an in-house police officer in order to build a relationship between pupils the force.

A look inside The Limes College in Sutton
A look inside The Limes College in Sutton. Picture: LBC

The Limes is a real success story. In Pupil Research Units, just 1.8% of pupils get five GCSEs of grade C or above. But at The Limes College, it is closer to 12%.

But other PRUs have serious issues.

Corey Junior Davis was expelled from school, aged 13, and sent to a PRU. Less than a year later, he had been shot dead in a suspected gang attack in East London.

His mother Keisha Mcleod says the unit contained gang members, who were trying to gain his trust in order to use him for jobs.

She says he needed more help: "I was saying, 'Please help', and nothing occurred. I one hundred percent believe I was let down. He's not here. That says it all."