What is alternative provision?
Alternative Provision (AP) refers to suitable full-time education that is arranged for a pupil from the sixth school day (or earlier) of a suspension or the sixth school day (or earlier) after the first day of a permanent exclusion. In other circumstances,
AP may refer to education arranged for pupils who are unable to attend mainstream or special school and who are not educated at home, whether for behavioural, health, or other reasons. AP includes Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), AP academies and free schools,
and hospital schools, as well as a variety of independent, registered, unregistered and further education settings.
Using Alternative Provision
The governing board must comply with the Education (Educational Provision for Improving Behaviour) Regulations 2010 and must show regard to the
Alternative Provision: Statutory guidance for local authorities, headteachers and governing bodies. Whilst the alternative provision guidance section does legally apply to maintained schools, academy trusts are also encouraged to follow this guidance.
When possible, in-school interventions or targeted support from AP schools should be used to meet a pupil’s individual needs and circumstances – whether behavioural or special educational.
Headteachers should ensure a formal process for arranging, at short notice, suitable full-time alternative education for pupils receiving suspensions over five school days is in place.
A part-time timetable should not be used to manage a pupil’s behaviour and must only be in place for the shortest time necessary. Any pastoral support programme or other agreement should have a time limit by which point the pupil is expected to attend full-time,
either at school or alternative provision. There should also be formal arrangements in place for regularly reviewing it with the pupil and their parents. In agreeing to a part-time timetable, a school has agreed to a pupil being absent from school for part
of the week or day and therefore must treat absence as authorised.
Pupil support units
A pupil support unit is a planned intervention occurring in small groups and in place of mainstream lessons. The purpose of this unit can be two-fold:
a) as a planned intervention for behavioural or pastoral reasons
b) as a final preventative measure to support pupils at risk of exclusion.
In both circumstances, the underlying ambition should be to improve behaviour and maintain learning with the goal to successfully reintegrate pupils into mainstream lessons. The approach in the unit should be aligned to the culture of the whole school and
compatible with the school’s behaviour policy.
Most pupil support units are established solely to accommodate pupils from the school in which they are located, whilst some units, often termed ‘in-school Alternative Provision (AP) units’, are established to accommodate pupils from other schools as well.
The placement of pupils from the local authority or a separate school into a unit is a form of alternative provision and those arranging and providing the placement must adhere to their legal duties, which are set out in legislation and summarised in the Alternative
Provision Statutory Guidance. When a placement is commissioned by another school, the pupils must be admitted in accordance with the ‘host’ school’s published admissions arrangements and registered as a pupil at the ‘host’ school in accordance with the Education
(Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. The pupil should remain dual registered at the referring school.
Schools should have a strategy for reintegrating pupils following removal time spent in a pupil support unit or in another setting under off-site direction or following suspension. This may involve reintegration meetings between the school, pupils, parents
and, if relevant, other agencies. Schools should consider what support is needed to help the pupil return to mainstream education and meet the expected standards of behaviour.
Monitoring and quality assurance of alternative provision placements
The Department for Education’s (DfE) statutory guidance on ‘Alternative Provision’ dated January 2013 details that, ‘Responsibility for the alternative provision used rests with the commissioner. The nature
of the intervention, its objectives and the timeline to achieve these objectives should be agreed and clearly defined'.
Where Bradford schools commission alternative provision they understand their responsibility to undertake the initial and subsequent regular checks to ensure that the provision is safe and suitable – including for each individual pupil.
To support in this Bradford schools, in conjunction with Local Authority partners, have developed a Quality Assurance template to support those using alternative provision placements in their monitoring and quality assurance duties. Quality
Assurance Checklist - Template for schools