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Alternative education provision

What is an alternative provision? 

The Department for Education's (DfE) definition of an alternative provision is as follows:

  • education arranged by local authorities for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education;
  • education arranged by schools for pupils on a fixed period exclusion;
  • and pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour.

This definition is taken from Alternative Provision Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities January 2013

However, it should be noted that this guidance pre-dates the SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 Years.  The DFE is currently reviewing alternative education provision meaning that this guidance is likely to change. 

What happens Plymouth? 

There are a number of reasons why a pupil might need alternative provision.  In Plymouth, there is a range of alternative provision in place to meet a variety of needs.  This includes outreach support for children who are unable to attend school; support within the school environment as well as short-term interventions away from the school site. 

A key principle is that any pupil considered for alternative provision should be supported by a comprehensive plan. This plan should be person-centred, multi-agency and be underpinned by the assess, plan, do and review process. 

Schools who commission alternative provision for pupils retain responsibility for the progress and safeguarding of those pupils. 

Who provides alternative education in Plymouth? 

Arranged by the local authority 

In Plymouth ACE Multi Academy Trust are commissioned to deliver alternative education provision.  ACE works closely with the Local Authority and schools to develop packages of support for pupils of primary and secondary age.  This offer includes provision for pupils who are unable to attend school because of a long-term illness or medical condition. 

Arranged by schools

Schools are able to commission provision for primary and secondary aged pupils who they are concerned about. There are a number of providers in the city who offer a range of different packages so that schools are able to develop strategies so that the pupil's place cab maintained. 

Schools are able to commission individual packages of support directly from ACE. 

The Quay Partnership are a group of Plymouth special schools who work together to provide packages of support for children both on and off the school site. 

Schools are able to commission a place at City College Plymouth from Year 9 for pupils who are finding it difficult to continue in a full-time mainstream placement. 

Can I educate my child at home? 

Yes, in some circumstances, you can educate your child at home. Read the home education policy.


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This page is part of Plymouth's Local Offer.

This page was last updated on 06 December 2019

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