How Ofsted inspects alternative provision

Learn how Ofsted inspects pupil referral units (PRUs) and alternative provision (AP) academies. Also find information covering inspection of off-site units and residential provision.

Last reviewed on 27 September 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 12798
  1. AP settings are inspected like other schools
  2. Ofsted recognises that AP settings differ from other schools
  3. How Ofsted evaluates 'quality of education' in AP settings
  4. How Ofsted evaluates 'behaviour and attitudes' in AP settings
  5. How Ofsted inspects residential provision

This article refers to the inspection by Ofsted of pupil referral units (PRUs) and alternative provision (AP) academies.

If you're in a mainstream school and want to find out how you will be inspected for your AP choices, read our article on alternative provision: how to choose and work with providers.

AP settings are inspected like other schools

AP settings are inspected by Ofsted under the School Inspection Handbook in the same way as school settings, and the grade descriptors set out throughout the handbook also apply. 

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As with all school settings, you might receive an urgent inspection if Ofsted:

  • Has concerns about pupil or staff safety
  • Believes there has been a serious breakdown in leadership and management, or a decline in standards

Usually carried out by 1 inspector

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