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Pupil Referral Units

Question for Department for Education

UIN 211308, tabled on 22 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average annual per pupil cost is of a Pupil Referral Unit.

Answered on

28 January 2019

Funding for alternative provision (AP) comes from the high needs block of the dedicated schools grant and includes funding for Pupil Referral Units (PRUs).

Local authorities provide place funding of £10,000 for each AP place in a pupil referral unit from their high needs budget. In addition, top up funding is paid by the commissioner of AP and relates to additional costs above the £10,000 for each individual pupil.

The Department estimates the per pupil cost of AP (including PRUs) to be £17,000 nationally.

The Department’s data is based on actual reported spending by local authorities to the Department and is a national average.[1] This does not capture spending on AP by schools who might commission services directly.

Isos Partnership also published research in 2018, estimating the average cost of AP to be £18,000 but this may be based on different methodology from the Department’s internal analysis. Their analysis can be found here:


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