Alternative Provision (AP): Alternative Curriculum Pathways and Reintegration Support

Some children in Surrey, particularly those at risk of exclusion and those missing education, may need extra support to access education or education delivered in a different way.

This support is usually provided for a short specific period before a child is reintegrated to school.

Alternative education is education outside school, for pupils who do not attend mainstream school for reasons such as exclusion, behaviour issues, school refusal, short- or long-term illnesses.

(Alternative Provision Guidance for local authorities, as well as headteachers and governing bodies of settings providing alternative provision.)

Department for Education (DfE), 2013

Surrey Alternative Curriculum Pathways and Reintegration Support Strategy (PDF) was first published in 2021 and after collaboration with education professionals and students was revised in July 2023.

It sets out Surrey County Council's ambitions and strategy for Alternative Provision within the county, including the benchmarks that will be used to evaluate AP in Surrey within a national context.

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Strategy and Ambitions for Alternative Provision (AP) in Surrey

Surrey County Council's ambition and key principles for Alternative Provision (AP)

  • Increase the number of children and young people supported in mainstream provision, reducing the need for off-site provision
  • Continue to reduce the number of exclusions from and within schools (both fixed term and permanent)
  • Increase the number of pupils successfully reintegrated into mainstream provision
  • Reduce the rising number of young people receiving independent tuition
  • Monitor and improve the educational and wellbeing outcomes of children and young people who use AP
  • Increase the number of young people who are on a pathway to Further Education
  • Improve commissioning of independent providers
  • Gain a better understanding of AP pupils needs and outcomes and apply consistency of opportunity across the county

You can also refer to the Alternative Provision Guidance from the UK government Department for Education. This describes the statutory duties of Local Authorities to provide suitable education for children of compulsory school age who cannot attend school.

Alternative provision

In Surrey, alternative education is provided through:

  • Access to Education (A2E)
  • Surrey Online School (SOS)
  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and Alternative Provision (AP) Academies
  • Hospital Education
  • Independent Alternative Provision

Access to education (A2E)

Access to Education (A2E) provides a flexible, short-term, education service. It is for children and young people who cannot attend school through exceptional circumstances. This could include medical reasons and permanent exclusions.

A2E offers a service made up of teaching, emotional, behavioural and social development work, mentoring and access to a virtual learning environment.

Referrals to A2E can come from the following:

  • The Schools Admission Team
  • The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Team
  • The Area Case Review and Area Action Group (ACRAG)

All students in A2E have access to the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) online resources and communication tools in a safe online environment.

Surrey Online School

Surrey Online School provides a range of traded, flexible, education solutions from Key Stage1 to Key Stage 4 as well as EAL (English as Additional Language) to a range of pupils across the county.

Subjects are offered at GCSE and A Level and can be available for up to 25 hours a week where needed.

It is offered to a wide range of pupils including:

  • Access to Education (A2E) users
  • Hospital schools
  • Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • Looked after Children (LAC)
  • PRUs/AP Academies
  • Secondary and primary schools
  • Elective home education (EHE) and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community
  • Emotionally based school non-attenders (EBSNA)
  • Expectant mothers
  • Those at risk of permanent exclusion

Referrals to this service can only be made by a school or organisation. To find out more, visit the Surrey Online School website.

Surrey schools can log in to the Surrey Education Services Hub to access referral forms and request provision.

Pupil Referral Units (PRUS) and Alternative Provision (AP) Academies

These are educational settings specifically providing education for children who are excluded from school, not well enough to attend school, or otherwise unable to attend a mainstream or special maintained school.

They offer full-time and part-time placements, as well as outreach services. Surrey has five educational PRUs/AP Academies.

Referrals for on-site intervention and outreach provision from Educational PRUs/AP Academies can only be made through Surrey County Council's Inclusion Service or direct from Schools. Applications direct from parents/carers are not accepted.

Further information about referrals and admissions can be found on each PRUs/AP
Academies websites:

Referral information for Medical PRUs

The Surrey Teaching Centre

The Surrey Teaching Centre provides education for children with acquired brain injury (ABI) or neuro disability. Pupils admitted to Surrey Teaching Centre are all on placement with The Children's Trust.

Referrals from The Children's Trust are for rehabilitation or step-down placements or where there is capacity. Applications to Surrey Teaching Centre cannot be made directly to the school. For more information, see the Surrey Teaching Centre Admissions Protocol (PDF).

St Peter's Centre

St Peter's Centre provides education for children unable to attend mainstream school for medical reasons.

Schools can directly refer for on-site intervention or for outreach provision. Referrals can also be made through Surrey's Inclusion Service.

The Hope Service

The Hope Service is a multi-agency service for young people aged 11 to 18 with complex mental health, emotional, social and behavioural needs.

Referrals can only be made by Social Workers from Assessment, Child in Need, Child Protection and Care Proceeding, and Looked After Children's Teams. For more information, please see the Hope Service website referrals page.

Hospital Education

Hospital education is provided for young people with a Surrey postcode who are sent to hospital for treatment of their mental health under a section of the Mental Health Act 1983.

For these children/young people, the LA (Local Authorities) has specific duties to provide this education. This does not include Hospital Schools which are special schools.

Services that support Alternative Provision

Inclusion Outreach Service

Established to help mainstream schools to meet the needs of primary and secondary age children with learning and additions needs.

The service, commissioned by Surrey County Council, is based in four schools across the county. Referrals must come from the child's school.

Further information and how to make a referral can be found on each team's website (below).

Autism Outreach for Schools

Established to build skills of mainstream staff and suggest strategies for schools to help students meets their potential.

The service, commissioned by Surrey County Council, is based at specialist schools across the county. Referrals must come from the child's school.

Further information and how to make a referral can be found on our local offer website Autism Outreach for Schools.

Alternative Provision transport

Used primarily for getting students to PRUs/AP Academies but occasionally other alternative provision too.

This does include Hospital Education for young people with a Surrey postcode, for whom we have specific duties because they have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act to a hospital. This does not include Hospital Schools which are special schools.

Where a child has an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP) in place provision may be through Education other than at school (EOTAS).

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