THERE is increasing demand for specialist schooling for those with trauma and behavioural issues since the pandemic, councillors have heard.

The headteacher of Ceredigion’s pupil referral units (PRU) said that the number of applications for a place at the facilities was increasing but places were limited due to the vulnerability and high risk of pupils.

“Whatever our capacity, we would be full,” said Carys Tisdell, at learning communities overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, June 30.

Members heard about the work carried out at the units to support young people aged 11 to 16 and ensure their education continues in difficult circumstances, with achieving GCSEs and other qualifications the aim.

Key stage two pupils are now supported in their schools following the closure of the Cribyn unit during lockdown, the committee were told.

“I’m hoping, and it’s needed, that the service grows because there are always children and young people tin need and that number has grown since the pandemic.

“Yes, we are a school, and we are a family too and that’s why we get the success that we do and the relationships we build are some of the most positive relationships they might get,” said Ms Tisdell.

There are currently eight pupils at Canolfan Aeron in Aberaeron and five at Canolfan yr Eos in Aberystwyth, with around three to six admissions pending, members heard but there are applications received daily from schools across the county.

The figures appeared low, but were limited due to the specialist needs of the children, she added.

Early intervention support in schools and the opportunities for accessing alternative curriculum courses at Cwrtnewydd and Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training (HCT)as well as apprenticeship and training is also used as another option in some circumstances.

HCT officer Mark Gleeson said:

“I believer that if we are looking at keeping our youngsters in county this is the route we should be looking at. All apprentices are employed, contributing to the economy and they all have a trade at the end of it.”

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