How alternative provision is funded

Find out how pupil referral units (PRUs), alternative provision (AP) academies and free schools are funded from the 'high needs block'.

Last reviewed on 22 August 2023See updates
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  1. AP is funded from the 'high needs block' 
  2. Core funding ('place funding')
  3. Top-up funding 
  4. Commissioned AP services 
  5. Teachers' pay additional grant for 2023-24
  6. Transport funding 

AP is funded from the 'high needs block' 

The government provides local authorities (LAs) with high needs funding through the 'high needs block' of the dedicated schools grant (DSG), which LAs will pass on to individual institutions according to conditions of the grant. Some institutions receive the funding directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

This funding supports:

  • Alternative provision (AP) for pupils who can't receive their education in mainstream or special schools – AP institutions get their core funding (called 'place funding') and top-up funding from this block (read more about this below)
  • Provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) 

See section 1.3 of this ESFA guidance.

Core funding ('place funding')

You won't receive AP place funding for post-16 pupils unless they also have SEN –