Alternative provision: curriculum requirements and examples

Alternative provision (AP) settings, including pupil referral units (PRUs), aren't required to follow the National Curriculum, but they do have to provide a good alternative curriculum. Find out what this includes, and see examples of curriculum offers from PRUs and AP academies.

Last reviewed on 21 March 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 6367
  1. You don't need to teach the National Curriculum
  2. Provide a 'broad and balanced' curriculum
  3. See how AP settings approach their curriculum

You don't need to teach the National Curriculum

But, you need to provide good alternative provision which:

  • Appropriately meets pupils' personal, social and academic needs
  • Enables them to achieve good educational attainment on par with their mainstream peers
  • Improves pupil motivation, self-confidence, attendance, and engagement with education
  • Provides clearly defined objectives, including the next steps following the alternative provision placement

You should offer challenging teaching in:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • IT 

You should also give pupils the opportunity to take appropriate qualifications.

This is set out in paragraphs 30 and 39 of the DfE's statutory guidance on alternative provision

Provide a 'broad and balanced' curriculum

For PRUs, a DfE representative explained that this should include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Computing
  • Careers guidance

For AP academies, the DfE's model funding agreement specifies:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science

See how AP settings