Children and young people educated in alternative provision (AP) are among the most vulnerable. They include pupils who have been excluded or who cannot attend mainstream school for other reasons: for example, children with behaviour issues, those who have short- or long-term illness, school phobics, teenage mothers, pregnant teenagers, or pupils without a school place.
Pupil referral units (PRUs)
PRUs are one type of AP. They are local authority establishments which provide education for children unable to attend a mainstream school. There were 393 PRUs in operation on 15 February 2013.
All PRUs have a teacher in charge, similar to a mainstream school’s headteacher. They also have a management committee, which acts like a mainstream school’s governing body. Since April 2013, PRUs have been given greater control over their budgets and staffing. They have similar freedoms to mainstream schools, AP academies and AP free schools.
AP academies and free schools
AP academies and AP free schools are not maintained by a local authority, but they also provide education for children unable to attend a mainstream school. Like mainstream academies, they have greater freedoms to meet the needs of their pupils.