A PUPIL referral unit in Rhyl has been named top of the class.

Ysgol Plas Cefndy Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) is the first unit in Wales to receive excellent gradings across the board in their Estyn inspection.

The unit, which also includes Milestones in Rhyl and Stepping Stones South in Ruthin, houses children from 3-18 who are experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, with 78 pupils currently on the roll.

The unit aims to return pupils to mainstream education or to further education, training or employment.

Estyn inspectors judged the following areas as excellent: Standards; Wellbeing and attitudes to learning; Teaching and learning experiences; Care, support and guidance and leadership and management.

The report stated: "The PRU provides a warm and caring environment. Nearly all pupils are polite and demonstrate high levels of respect for one another, staff and visitors to the PRU.

"Curriculum activities are highly engaging and motivating and provide pupils with an exciting range of learning experiences.

"Staff have a deep understanding of pupils’ needs and through rigorous analysis of all data, ensure pupils receive the support and intervention they need to succeed long term.

"The headteacher provides the PRU with exceptional leadership. taff are extremely motivated and strive to improve the outcomes for all pupils."

Nicola Wynne-Roberts, headteacher, said: "This is an incredible achievement for any PRU in England and Wales.

"As headteacher, I cannot tell you how proud I am of our achievement.

"In the last two years, not a single excellent grade has been given to any PRU in Wales. To have five 'excellent' grades in a mainstream inspection is an amazing achievement, in a PRU it us beyond amazing, almost unbelievable.

"Anyone who knows about PRUs knows how challenging the work can be.

"It is down to hard work, a strong team, dedication and patience that we have achieved such an incredible outcome, reflecting our vision that we really do give every child a chance."

Wayne Wheatley, chair of Ysgol Plas Cefndy's management committee, said: “We are delighted that this report makes such positive reading. It’s an excellent reflection of the commitment and dedication of the whole community at Ysgol Plas Cefndy to provide the best possible start in life for their children and young people.

"We are proud how our pupils respond to their own challenges are given opportunities to thrive and to nurture their education, creative and social skills. This is backed up by an excellent group of teachers and support staff who provide an excellent quality education and support. This has been reflected in the Estyn report and we are really proud of the achievements of everyone associated with Plas Cefndy."

Inspectors recommended the unit improved provisions for education through the medium of Welsh, for pupils from Welsh-medium mainstream schools.

Estyn has requested that the school produces a case study on its work in relation to the high number of pupils who return and maintain successfully their placement in mainstream education, to be included on Estyn’s website for sharing as best practice with the rest of Wales.