Suffolk Local Offer

Alternative provision

Alternative Provision (AP) settings are places that provide education for children who can't currently attend their school.

The difference between Specialist and Alternative Education:

Specialist Education refers to places within special schools, or specialist units attached to mainstream schools. They are permanent places (unless the child or young person's needs change significantly).

Alternative Education is usually intended to be a temporary placement; to address a child or young person's barriers to education and successfully prepare them for reintegration to school.

The Government definition of 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;
  • Pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour.

Alternative Provision may be an option for pupils who are:

  • At risk of being permanently excluded;
  • Permanently excluded and in need of a placement until their new school begins;
  • In need of targeted and specific support and early intervention;
  • Struggling to have their needs met in their current setting.

Alternative Provision provides these pupils with another temporary education setting that suits their current needs, with:

  • Early and short-term intervention to support them in their school (or in placements between schools and AP);
  • Education in the local community;
  • Pupil-centred interventions to help pupils engage in an appropriate curriculum that includes core subjects;
  • Flexible support, according to need and which considers the child's family context;
  • Opportunities for pupils to develop positive relationships, build resilience and emotional wellbeing;
  • A range of approaches, strategies, and skills to enable pupils to reintegrate back into mainstream school as soon as possible.

Within Suffolk, the types of alternative provision are:

  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)
  • Alternative Provision Academies (APAs), and
  • Alternative Providers (non-school based)