Alternative provision education referral

Refer a child to the Alternative Provision Panel, what the Panel does, reviews, what to expect, school responsibilities, and a school's power to redirect a child off-site.

Schools can arrange alternative provision for a child's education when that child: 

  • is at risk of permanent exclusion 
  • would benefit from support outside the school setting 

Alternative provision can take place outside mainstream schools like academies or special schools.  

Pupil referral units and medical needs/tuition services are considered alternative provision. 

Further education colleges and sixth form centres can also be used for alternative provision for young people aged 14 to 16. 

Although legislation does not apply to academies, they can arrange alternative provision as set out in the Academy Trust’s Articles of Association regulations and guidance. 

See GOV.UK for information on alternative provision

Refer a child to the Alternative Provision Panel 

Only school professionals and local authority practitioners can make referrals to the Haringey Alternative Provision Inclusion Panel. 

Referrals must include as much information about the child as possible so the Panel can make an informed decision on how to support the child needs. 

Refer a child now 

What the panel does 

The Haringey Alternative Provision Inclusion Panel meets every Wednesday morning during term time. 

Referrals are considered before being heard at Panel. The Panel may signpost referrers to other services if appropriate. 

The panel: 

  • makes sure the student's needs are assessed and supported as early as possible and within their school setting, to keep them on an inclusive educational pathway to enable their best educational outcome 
  • gives support, recommendations and decisions for schools to access alternative provision pathways making sure this is in the child’s best interests and in accordance with statutory duties 
  • is the authority to agree access to the following provision and services: 
    • respite and reintegration provision 
    • tuition in the community – medical needs (KS 1 to 4) 
    • outreach: mainstream outreach includes primary outreach, transitions outreach and safe transitions and secondary outreach (KS 1 to 4) 
    • sixth day permanent exclusion provision (this may be retrospective and ratified) 
    • social emotional and mental health needs (KS 3 to 4) 

The review process 

The child, parents and all professionals involved must be clear why, when, where, and how the placement will be reviewed. 

Reviews should happen often enough to know the off-site education is achieving its objectives and the student is benefiting from it. 

Alternative provision used for this purpose must undergo the same rigorous quality assurance processes as those implemented for longer term placement. 

Parents and the local authority can request in writing that the governing body review the placement. The governing body must respond to the request as soon as reasonably practicable, unless a review was already done in the previous 10 weeks. 

What can be expected from alternative provision

Students in alternative provision should get the same amount of education as they would in a maintained school. Sometimes, this may not be appropriate, for example if a student has a medical condition. 

Alternative provision must meet the needs of the student. They should be able to get a ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ level of education while their intervention needs are addressed. 

The amount of time a student spends in alternative provision depends on what best supports their needs. 

Any child or young person placed by a school in alternative education provision, either full-time or part-time: 

  • remains the responsibility of the school 
  • keeps their place on the school’s roll 
  • is registered at both the school and at alternative provision 

School responsibilities

The school is responsible for the: 

  • safeguarding of their students placed in alternative provision 
  • monitoring and tracking of the student's:
    • attainment
    • attendance
    • behaviour 

Power of schools to direct a student off-site 

Governing bodies of maintained schools have the power to direct a student off-site for education to improve their behaviour. 

This is not a permanent exclusion. Under this power the student has the right to return to school once the targets for improved behaviour are met. 

The guidance says: ‘where possible, parents should be engaged in the decision taken by the school to direct a student off-site’. This is a different situation to one where a school is talking to a family about possible permanent placement in alternative provision for their child. However, it’s good practice for a school to get agreement with the child and family.