Schools’ Forum Alternative Provision Review

1.    Purpose of report

To Update Reading Schools Forum on the progress to date following the Report “Alternative Provision-case for change” presented to Forum on 8th October 2020.

2.    Summary

Following the Schools Forum Meeting in October 2020 it was proposed that a review in the use of Alternative Provision across Reading Schools and Services within Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) should be completed. This review should be led by schools and supported by the Commissioning, Contracts and Procurement Team (CCP).  Mandy Wilton, Head of Cranbury College was nominated and agreed to lead this review.

3.    Project Scope

For the scope of this project the focus will be on placements of children and young people in Alternative Provisions via pupil referral units, mainstream schools or BFfC services. It will also include off site provisions and other non-school based provisions including online learning and home tuition.

These provisions will either be funded directly from the High Needs Block of the Designated School Grant or directly from schools. The age focus will be Key Stages 1-4 it is expected most provisions being in Key Stage 3 and 4.

4. Project Objectives

To develop a clear agreement and understanding of what constitutes Alternative Provision across all Stakeholders

  1. The legal status of Registered Providers
  2. The use of Offsite Activities and clear roles and responsibilities about usage
  3. Home/ Individual tuition services used costings, quality and effectiveness
  4. Online Tuition services used costings, quality and effectiveness

To audit use of Alternative Provision and off-site Provision

  1. funded by the High Needs Block
  2. Used by Reading Schools
  3. Have clear data on the number of Children and Young People accessing Alternative Provision for all or part of their education

To have clear transparent costings of Placements across all Alternative Provision Providers and other provisions used to include those named on Education, Health and Care Plans as Education, other than at School (EOTAS) by BFfC

To develop a central directory of BFfC Approved Alternative Providers where information is provided and held centrally electronically.

With colleagues to have a clear agreement of what constitutes “Quality” Provision and identifying Provisions where the Outcomes for Children and Young People are Good or better where providers are not subject to Ofsted Inspections

Develop effective Commissioning of Alterative Provision and explore the benefits of the use of a Dynamic Purchasing Framework to be used by BFfC and Schools to allow more cost-effective purchasing

To have clear commissioning arrangements for:

  1. Home tuition
  2. On line learning
  3. Outdoor Activities

To develop clear Governance arrangements for procuring and placing Children and Young People in Alternative Provision and other non-school provisions.

5. Expected Benefits

  • Establishment of a preferred providers framework where basic vetting has been completed by BFfC Commissioning and Procurement Team. These checks to include safeguarding requirement and relevant Health and Safety Checks.
  • Clear information of types of Provisions purchased across the area and better intelligence on effectiveness and outcomes for Children and Young People
  • More effective commissioning arrangements in the first instance around Home Tuition and On-Line Learning.
  • Clear data set established on numbers of Children and Young accessing Alternative Provision, and weekly hours and length of time they are accessing the provisions and outcomes. Furthermore, effective Commissioning arrangements to be established when data of usage of AP’s is complete.
  • Contracts in place for all Alternative Provision and Non-school based provisions procured by BFfC
  • Potential cost savings and efficiencies related to the above
  • All Alternative Provision purchased from BFfC procured from the Framework. Spot purchase to only occur in exceptional circumstances following an agreed decision-making process.

6. Areas Out of Scope

This project will focus on Children and Young People Key Stages 1-4 with most focus on Key Stage 3 and 4. Post 16 and 19 Alternative Provision Placements will be considered but additional groups may be required to take this further with different membership. This will be discussed at the Steering Group.

This Project may highlight broader SEND Sufficiency needs within this sector which may need further development work.

7. Project Approach

A Project Steering Group has been identified. Membership will be;

  • Chair- Executive Head of Cranbury College
  • 2 x Secondary Heads
  • Secondary SENDCO
  • Primary Head
  • Primary SENDCO
  • Post 16 Representative
  • Manager of SEND Team
  • SEND and Education Commissioner.
  • Pupil and School Services Manager
  • Performance and data team

The Steering Groups inaugural meeting will be on the 9th December 2020

Following this meeting it will be identified when and how different stake holders will be included. Stake holders are identified as Children and Young People, Parent and Carers others to be identified in the first steering group.

8. Risks and Interdependencies


Due to the dependence on schools for information there may be some slippage due to the immediate pressures of COVID. This is mitigated by using electronic/virtual communications wherever possible.

A Risk Register will be established and maintained by the Steering Group.


At this stage the interdependencies have been highlighted as;

  • Statutory Integrated Assessment Process
  • Provision in Part I of EHCP’s
  • EHCP Annual Reviews
  • Statutory Timescales
  • Sufficiency of Alternative Provisions and other Services

9. Recommendations

That the Schools Forum note the progress to date with the Alternative Provision Review

That the progress of this review is reported back to Schools Forum in Early Spring Term 2021

Last updated on 19/02/2021