Alternative provision: how to choose and work with providers

Download our alternative provision (AP) audit to help you decide whether a provider is suitable for your pupils. Plus, find out how Ofsted inspects your AP and how you should work with the provider during your pupil's time there.

Last reviewed on 4 May 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 31003
  1. Know what good AP looks like
  2. How Ofsted inspects your AP
  3. Download our audit 
  4. Stay in regular contact while your pupil attends the AP

Know what good AP looks like

Good AP should:

  • Have good academic attainment (it should be as good as in mainstream schools, especially in English, maths, science and IT)
  • Support pupils with their personal, social and academic needs, and allow them to overcome barriers to attainment
  • Motivate pupils to learn, develop their self-confidence, and improve their attendance and engagement
  • Assess pupils effectively, helping them reintegrate into mainstream education, further education, training or employment
  • Suit your pupil's capabilities and help them take appropriate qualifications
  • Have highly skilled, trained and qualified staff to help pupils make progress
  • Work closely with outside agencies, including:
    • Social care services
    • Educational psychology services
    • Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
    • Youth offending teams
    • Drug support services

See pages 10 to 13 of the DfE's statutory guidance.

How Ofsted inspects your AP

Inspectors will check any AP that your pupils attend, to evaluate how well you take responsibility for these pupils. This is outlined in the School Inspection Handbook.

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