Policy paper

Improving alternative provision

This report outlines alternative provision and pupil referral units in England and makes recommendations to improve this sector.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Improving alternative provision


The Ofsted survey of alternative provision (AP) in June 2011 highlighted some serious concerns, which have been confirmed in the research for this review. This report is critical of the commissioning role played by many schools, PRUs, AP and LAs, but most of all it is critical of a flawed system that fails to provide suitable education and proper accountability for some of the most vulnerable children in the country.

The report describes the current situation and makes recommendations to improve this important, but often ignored, sector. It also describes some examples of practice which are described here, and from which others can learn.

Visit the main DfE website for more information.


  • Introduction
  • Expectations for AP
  • The quality assurance of AP
  • The exclusions trial
  • The commissioning of AP
  • The cost of AP
  • The inspection of AP
  • Pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • Closing remarks
  • Summary of recommendations
Published 8 March 2012