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 stay there.

Last reviewed on 31 January 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 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:

  • Has good academic attainment (it should be as good as in mainstream schools, especially in English, maths and science, including IT)
  • Supports pupils with their personal, social and academic needs, and allows them to overcome barriers to attainment
  • Motivates pupils to learn, develops their self-confidence, and improves their attendance and engagement
  • Assesses pupils effectively, helping them reintegrate into mainstream education, further education, training or employment

It should also:

  • 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.

They need to confirm that the AP: