Strengthening protections in unregistered alternative provision

Closes 5 Jul 2024


The Government’s 2022 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Review Green Paper, delivered through its SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, committed to strengthening the protections for, and improving the outcomes of, children in unregistered alternative provision. This included a Call for Evidence to better understand the use of unregistered alternative provision by local authorities and schools.

Responses to the Call for Evidence have helped to shape this consultation. We are now seeking views on proposals to limit the amount of time that children can spend in unregistered settings. These proposals are aligned with the Improvement Plan principle that alternative provision should be used as an intervention, not a destination, to complement the education provided in mainstream and special schools. We also propose that all unregistered alternative providers would be subject to new, proportionate quality assurance frameworks, underpinned by national standards. We believe that, if implemented, this approach would help to protect those that this diverse sector supports and educates.

This consultation is not designed to cover all unregistered provision for children and young people, but to focus on the part of the sector where the need for quality assurance is most pronounced: unregistered alternative providers that offer education to children of compulsory school age[1].



Footnotes and Related information

[1] The Department for Education’s statutory guidance defines alternative provision as education arranged by local authorities for pupils of compulsory school age who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education; education arranged by schools for pupils on a fixed period exclusion (known as suspension); and pupils being directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour.