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Pupil referrals for alternative provision can only be completed by a school or Local Authority. Parents/carers may view the alternative provider offering, but cannot complete a referral on behalf of a school or LA. If you wish to refer your child to an alternative provision provider, please discuss with your child's school.

Alternative provision refers to:

  • 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

Responsibility for a pupil in alternative provision

The school is responsible for the provision at any off-site setting. Schools should carefully consider whether a provider can meet the needs of their pupils, including the quality and safety of the provision.

School leaders must:

  • make appropriate checks on the registration status of the provision and be clear how that has influenced their decision to use that provider
  • conduct safeguarding checks before using the provision, and continue to monitor to ensure that the provision is a safe place for their pupils to attend
  • ensure that pupils benefit from a well-planned and sequenced, well-taught, broad and balanced curriculum
  • monitor and review the attendance and behaviour of the pupils who attend the provision as thoroughly as for pupils who are on-site
  • ensure that the provision promotes pupils' personal development
  • communicate with parents and pupil about the arrangements for alternative provision
  • secure transport where required
  • make suitable arrangements where a pupil is eligible for free school meals

Commissioning agreement with the alternative provider

A commissioning agreement should be drawn up for each pupil attending alternative provision.

The school commissioning the placement should maintain ongoing contact with the provider and pupil, with clear procedures in place to exchange information, monitor progress and provide pastoral support.

Schools must maintain a full record of all placements they make, including pupil progress, achievements and destination following the placement. This should also include the parents' and pupils' own assessment of their placement.

Communication with parents, carers and others

Parents and carers should be consulted and made aware of the reasons for the placement and its duration.

If a child has a social worker, or is looked after, children's social care and/or virtual school must be consulted and involved in a professionals' meeting in advance of a decision being made to use an alternative provider.

Monitoring attendance at alternative provision

Each pupil attending alternative provision must remain on a school roll. The school retains the ultimate duty of care wherever a pupil is being educated. Schools are legally responsible for using the correct attendance codes.

It is the school's responsibility to authorise or not authorise any unexplained absences marked by the providers.

Responsibility for the provision when a pupil has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

The school named in Section I of the EHCP retains responsibility for the delivery of provision as written in Section F of an EHCP.

Alternative Provision Directory

The alternative provision directory is a list of providers in the region that schools may consider for their pupils.

Derbyshire County Council and the Derbyshire Local Offer are not liable for any content from external providers, however, they must have attended relevant Local Authority training before inclusion in the directory.

Framework and Guidance

Read the government's guidance on alternative provision, which sets out what schools and local authorities must do to comply with the law.