When a child is at risk of permanent exclusion, or would benefit from support outside of the school setting, schools can commission Alternative Provision (AP).
Alternative Provision includes educational establishments which are not mainstream, academy, special or private/independent schools.
Pupil Referral Units and Medical Needs/Tuition Services are considered alternative provision.
Schools and the local authority also use Further Education Colleges and Sixth Form Centres for alternative provision for 14 – 16 year olds.
Although legislation (Alternative Provision, Statutory guidance for local authorities January 2013) does not apply to Academies, they are able to arrange off site provision under their general powers set out in the Academy Trust’s Articles of Association regulations and guidance.
- What can be expected from Alternative Provision
- Power of schools to direct a student off-site
- The review process
- Further information
Students in alternative provision should receive the same amount of education as they would receive in a maintained school, unless it is not appropriate, for example for a student with a medical condition.
Alternative provision must meet the needs of students and enable them to achieve ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ educational attainment level with their mainstream peers, while the needs which require intervention are addressed.
The length of time a student spends in alternative provision will depend on what best supports the students’ needs and potential educational attainment.
Any child or young person placed by a school in alternative education provision, either full or part time, remains the responsibility of the school, retains their place on the roll of that school and is dual registered (registered at both the school and AP).
The school remains responsible for the monitoring and tracking of attainment, attendance, behaviour and safeguarding of their students placed in alternative provision.
Governing bodies of maintained schools have the power to direct a student off-site for education to improve his or her behaviour.
This is not a permanent exclusion. Under this power the student would have a right to return to school once the targets for improved behaviour have been met.
The guidance indicates that ‘where possible, parents should be engaged in the decision taken by the school to direct a student off-site’. This is different from a situation where a school is consulting with child and family about prospective permanent placement in alternative provision. However, it is good practice for a school to seek agreement with the child and family.
The child, parents and all professionals involved must be clear why, when, where, and how the placement will be reviewed.
Reviews should be frequent enough to provide assurance that the off-site education is achieving its objectives and that the student is benefiting from it.
Alternative provision used for this purpose must undergo the same rigorous quality assurance processes as those implemented for longer term placement.
Parents and the local authority can request in writing, that the governing body review the placement. When this happens, governing bodies must comply with the request as soon as reasonably practicable, unless there has already been a review in the previous 10 weeks.
Tel: 020 8489 3873 or 020 8489 5086
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