Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)

What is New River College (NRC) PRU

New River College is the main Alternative Educational Provision for children and young people in Islington who, for a range of reasons, a mainstream school setting is not felt to be appropriate. ‘PRU’ stands for Pupil Referral Unit.

NRC offers education from Primary to Secondary aged students and is based over three sites:

• New River College Primary PRU (Cloudesley Square), for pupils of primary age (5-11 years)
• New River College Secondary PRU (Lough Road), for pupils in Key Stage 3 and 4 (11-17 years)
• New River College Medical PRU for pupils with significant medical or mental health needs

Why is CAMHS in New River College

We have established a specialist CAMHS team in the PRU settings to make the service more accessible to these young people and their families.
 Having dedicated CAMHS clinicians who spend a significant amount of time in the schools has the following benefits:

• It helps the pupils get to know the clinicians in their school setting
• Parents and carers can access the help in the school setting
• It means the clinicians can easily observe the young people in the school context, day to day, and understand their needs
• It helps the clinicians develop more useful insights about how to support both the pupils, and the staff teaching them

Our small team is made up of clinical psychologists, child and adolescent psychotherapists and a clinical nurse specialist.

Why children and families come to see us

Young people who come to NRC arrive for different reasons, but may have struggled with the pace of the work, keeping to the rules about behaviour, or the size of classes or year groups in mainstream school. Some may have found their previous school environment overwhelming or emotionally distressing. Some young people arriving at NRC can feel they have been ‘singled out’ or treated unfairly in the past and that they have not been understood in previous schools.

Coming to NRC can be an opportunity to move forward, get some support with things that have been difficult and find different ways of doing things. CAMHS is often a part of this process.
There are lots of different reasons why pupils at NRC and their parents or carers see someone from the CAMHS in PRU team. Some examples of the kind of things we try and help children, young people (and their families) with include:

• Depression, low mood or feeling ‘flat’
• Low self-esteem
• Anxieties, worries or panic attacks
• Angry feelings or outbursts of anger
• Difficulties with learning
• Problems paying attention or concentrating
• Finding it hard to keep to rules or boundaries
• Family relationship difficulties
• Problems getting on with other young people or adults
• Hurting or upsetting other people
• Behaving in dangerous or ‘risky’ ways
• Being upset about difficult things that have happened in the past
Some of the reasons parents and carers ask for our help include:

• Wanting to understand their child or young person’s behaviour
• Finding out how best to support them at home and school
• Strengthening the relationship with their child or young person and improving family relationships
• Talking through their own worries which might be affecting their child or young person
• Getting help with talking to and communicating with other professionals and service

How we can help

Our specialist team offers help to young people and their families in a variety of ways. As the team are based in the PRU sites, you will have the opportunity to meet a member of the team very early on, as part of the induction process to NRC.

If you or the PRU staff feel that some focused work with CAMHS might be helpful, we would begin with an initial assessment, to get some ideas about:

• How the difficulties might have come about
• Whether some treatment or further assessment would be appropriate

Based on the assessment, the following types of help might be offered:

• Individual therapy with the child/young person
• Parent-child therapy
• Family therapy
• Parenting support and strategies
• Group work/social skills
• Psychiatric consultations/medication support
• Further specialist assessments and screening for Autism Spectrum Condition, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other conditions
• Cognitive assessments
• State of mind assessments
Support offered to New River College staff:

• Staff consultations and individual case discussions
• Training around understanding and managing behaviour
• Support with applications for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
• Attendance at Team around the Child (TAC) and Team Around the School (TAS) Meetings
• Help with individual pupil Transition Plans
Our specialist team also participate regularly in professional network meetings, to share their understanding of how the child or young person is doing, what their needs are, and how they can most appropriately be supported.

How to get in touch

If you have questions or would like to hear more about the CAMHS in PRU team, please do get in touch. The best way to contact us is via the Head of Centre at your child’s NRC school.

If you are starting at NRC or your child is, a CAMHS introduction meeting will be scheduled as part of your induction, so please take this opportunity to meet with and discuss any concerns with the CAMHS clinician.

If your child is already at NRC and you would like to meet with one of us, please ask the Head of Centre to put us in touch.

Last updated31 Aug 2023
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