Alternative education provision

In the Department for Education publication  Alternative Education, Statutory guidance for local authorities the definition of alternative provision is:

  • 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
  • pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour

Any organisation can provide alternative and off-site provision including private, voluntary, community or charity sectors. Home education, education provided out of school hours or out of school hours youth work can't provide alternative and off-site provision.

Our Live Well directory includes provision which may be arranged by those with responsibility for pupils that meet the above criteria but also provision that is offered to extend the curriculum offered to pupils and requires teaching away from a school.

By using alternative provision, programmes of learning can be designed to meet the needs and interests of the individual and increase the likelihood of their educational success and continued engagement with learning. In Cheshire East, alternative provision will usually be accredited programmes or courses which will result in or contribute to the achievement of a recognised qualification.

Alternative provision usually makes up part of a learner’s curriculum but may, in some cases, make up their entire curriculum. Where this is considered necessary the commissioning agent should ensure that the provider is registered as a school if required and that the pupil is receiving their full curriculum entitlement appropriate to the type of school.

Quality checks

The Skills and Growth Company logo

All the providers we list have undergone an initial quality assurance process and have the Skills and Growth Company logo next to their entry.

This process included a Health and Safety Providers (HASP) visit, which is used to determine that the provider can provide a safe, healthy and supportive environment for a learner. A copy of the HASP report can be given to any school that is considering a provider’s services.

It does not replace the responsibility of the school to carry out their own checks prior to placing any learner with a provider.

Commissioning alternative provision

The  Quality Assurance – Expectations of providers and commissioning schools working with Cheshire East pupils (PDF, 278KB) document should be considered in the decision making process of deciding what alternative provision to commission. In all instances schools should:

  • evaluate the quality of teaching and learning at the alternative provision they use and the impact of this on pupils’ progress towards the qualifications they are studying at their placements
  • evaluate the academic, personal and social progress being made by all pupils who attend alternative provision, ensuring that the targets set for academic progress are suitably challenging
  • visit the provision regularly to carry out quality assurance checks
  • consider ways to track and evaluate the impact of alternative provision on pupils’ employability skills
  • ensure that governors understand the progress made by pupils who attend alternative provision so they can ensure that decisions made about value for money are well informed

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