Alternative Provision

Alternative provision (AP) is a term which describes all educational provision outside of mainstream and special needs schools.

Finding alternative provision

The Education Access Alternative Provision Directory has a list of alternative education settings.

These settings have at least met the minimum standards set by Essex County Council.

Using the directory

Schools, academies, specialist providers and specialist teams are expected to find alternative education for children and young people who could be:

  • at risk of exclusion from school
  • excluded from school on a fixed term basis
  • at risk of disengaging from mainstream or specialist education
  • require additional support during a negotiated transfer between schools
  • unable to attend school due to physical or emotional health
  • otherwise require alternative education provision to meet their educational entitlement
  • students with an Education, Health and Care plan
  • looked after child with no school place
  • children who are not on a school roll


Any child or young person placed in alternative education provision either full or part time, remains on the roll of that school.  The responsibility for delivering the full time education and all other duties in respect to the child remains with the school.

The commissioning school remains responsible for monitoring and tracking the progress of individual children.  They must also make sure  that the provision is of good quality, value for money and meets the needs of the child.

If you have questions about alternative provision, please discuss these with the school that your child is attending in the first instance.

More information

Read the statutory guidance for headteachers, local authorities and governing bodies on GOV.UK.