Alternative Provision (AP)


The aim of the Aspire Academy Alternative Provision (AP) is to ensure the continued education of children and young people in KS1,2,3 and 4 in a supportive and nurturing education environment. It caters for pupils who, because of exclusion or other reasons would not otherwise receive a suitable full time education.

In addition to providing education, the aim of the service is support pupils to address any emotional and behavioural difficulties which affect their development and to help them develop emotional resilience. We are developing access to a range of behaviour support, counselling and therapeutic interventions to address these difficulties.

Our aim is to reintegrate all children and young people into mainstream education where ever possible. We will either directly provide the education and support service, or  put suitable arrangements in place where alternative or off site packages are required to best meet a pupil’s needs.


The Aspire Academy AP will be child and young person centred and outcome focused. We are commissioned to achieve the following outcomes for pupils in receipt of the service:

  • Pupils are highly motivated and engaging in their education, increasingly enjoying learning with confidence in their academic ability.
  • Pupils regularly attending school
  • Pupils have emotional resilience and improved behaviour.
  • Pupils make good progress and achieve stretching academic and vocational attainment targets
  • Pupils are able to access mainstream education settings and / or successfully progress to education, training and employment at 16.
  • Parents are supported and positively engaged with the AP service and their child’s education

Client group and eligibility criteria

The Aspire Academy AP will cater for pupils who, because of exclusion or other reasons would not otherwise receive a suitable full time education. This will include:

  • Pupils who are unable to sustain a mainstream school place because of unmet needs in relation to their Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) and disaffection, who meet the Fair Access criteria and eligibility criteria in appendix 1).
  • From the 6th day of permanent exclusion or fixed term exclusion from school (or first day for children in care).
  • Pupils at risk of disengaging from mainstream education and / or being excluded from school.
  • Where pupils require additional support during negotiated transfers between mainstream schools.
  • Or otherwise require alternative education provision to meet their educational entitlement. For instance a Child in Care with no school place, or a child /young person moving into the community, for instance because of a family move, from a custodial sentence or similar circumstances.

Geographical area covered by the service

Bath and North East Somerset. Children in the Care of Bath and North East Somerset if they reside outside the local authority but within commuting distance. The AP will provide education and support for 23 pupils at any one time.

Referrals and access to the Alternative Provision

  1. Referrals to the Aspire Academy AP can be made by schools, the local authority or Behaviour and Attendance Panels. This will include:
    1. Referrals  made under the Fair Access Protocol for Children with Challenging Behaviour in instances where a child has not been placed on a school roll within 5 school days to ensure they have access to full time education whilst the situation is being resolved
    2. Referrals made under the Managed Move protocol for Children with Challenging Behaviour, for instance, where a child is being placed under the policy and additional support is required to help them achieve a successful transition into their new school.
    3. Any child in care referred by the Virtual School head teacher. Schools also may refer children in care but this must be agreed in advance with the Virtual School Head Teacher. (Responsibility for the completion and review of PEPs remains with the referring school unless otherwise agreed with the Virtual Head).
  1. Referrals will be made to the Aspire Academy AP on the basis of a casual admission form including additional information through a completed CAF/ Early Help Offer assessment (unless there is a statutory assessment already in place) , along with any other relevant information. These should be completed by the referring school or Behaviour and Attendance panel and reviewed and updated as appropriate by the AP service.
  1. Where a referral is made for an Alternative Provision placement, an initial response will be made within 48 hours of receiving the referral, confirming receipt, timescales and next steps regards the referral. A full response will be provided within 5 school days as to whether the child or young person can be placed/accepted with reasons if not.
  1. All children and young people who are referred and meet the eligibility criteria for the service will be placed or supported (providing there is a place is available). Pupils will only be refused an educational placement in highly exceptional circumstances.  Where this is likely to be the case, the reasons will be clearly explained to the referring organisation and the local authority (contract manager) notified and provided with the completed risk assessment used to inform the decision. The AP will convene a meeting with the local authority (contract manager and Head of Education Outcomes), home school and relevant professionals to take place within 10 days of the referral. The purpose of this meeting is to agree a strategy for the child/young person in order to secure a full time education place.
  1. The Aspire Academy AP will fully participate and comply with the Fair Access protocol for Children with Challenging Behaviour in terms of referrals and placement requests.

Assessment, personalised support and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and reviews

Once a child or young person has been placed/accepted by the service, they are allocated a named key worker. The key worker will have a lead role in coordinating the support and education package and acting as a key contact, providing support and guidance for the pupil.

A full and comprehensive assessment will be undertaken and an IEP developed jointly with the pupil, their parents or carers and the home school. This will be completed within 10 school days. The IEP will be tailored to meet the individual pupil’s needs, matching provision closely to each pupil’s interests and aspirations.

Assessments may consist of:

  • Vernon’s Spelling Test;
  • NfER Group Reading Analysis (sentence completion and context comprehension);
  • BKSB eLearning and assessments for Maths, English and ICT;
  • Devereux behaviour indicator tool.

Developing the IEP will provide an opportunity to listen to the child or young person, identify their strengths and aspirations, look at their needs holistically and start to build a positive and trusting relationship in order to engage them in education.  It will also ensure the specific personal, social and academic needs of pupils are properly identified in order to help them to overcome any barriers to learning and attainment. For children in care this plan will be the Personal Education Plan (PEP).  The plan will have clear outcomes and objectives for meeting needs and attainment goals with clear timeframes and arrangements for monitoring progress. It will capture the baseline position of a pupil’s educational and behavioural positions to enable progress to be monitored. Plans will be linked to other relevant plans or activities as appropriate

Pupils will be in receipt of full time education within 5 school days of being accepted / placed within the service

Progress against outcomes in the plans will be frequently monitored with regular reviews (every 2 weeks for students on long placements). All key stakeholders involved in the reviews (the pupil, their parents/carers, home school and others as appropriate) will be involved and informed via termly reports.  Where a pupils needs change the IEPs will be updated, particularly where an onward referral is made for additional support for a pupil or the family.

Behaviour support, counselling and therapeutic interventions

We will provide additional support interventions to help pupils address any social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.  This can either be delivered by the Aspire Academy or commissioned externally. This may take many forms depending on the needs and approach which bests suit the pupil. This may include a range of interventions such as talking or art therapies, group work, counselling, psychology support, mentoring or coaching.

Where a child or young person has complex needs, it may be appropriate to modify or suspend their full time curriculum for a period of time, so they can start to address any attachment /emotional issues. This will be through the receipt of therapeutic support services to help them to re-engage in full-time education. It will be based in the Aspire Academy AP centre away from the home school

Types of alternative education placements

The Aspire Academy AP will aims to deliver a good quality suitable full time education and support package in an appropriate environment. The delivery will aim to minimise disruption to a child or young person’s education, where possible picking up where the child was in the curriculum to enable them to carry on making progress. We expect the home school to provide work for the student to ensure they do not fall too far behind in their work.

Individual learning packages or placements which are subcontracted in part or full will be quality assured by the Aspire Academy.

Long term full-time individual learning placements for young people at KS4

If schools can’t place a student at Norton Radstock College or Bath College, we will deliver flexible 1 or 2 year packages, emphasising vocational learning, with opportunities to achieve GCSEs or functional English, maths and ICT. Schools may also refer, through the AP service, students to the Step Up Step Out programme which is delivered at Bath College. Young people can stay either one or two years and will be coached to obtain a set of qualifications, which would prepare them successfully for post 16 further education, employment or training.

Flexible short term early intervention learning and support placements

  1. Flexible short-term early intervention learning support packages are typically 6-12 weeks in length for children at KS1, 2, 3 and 4.  These will support children and young people who require additional support and education outside a mainstream school for a fixed period of time. This will include any pupils excluded at day 6 for the period of exclusion, or if permanently excluded until a school place is identified through the panel. The aim is to secure access into mainstream school and prevent permanent exclusion either through reintegration into the existing school or transition into a new school.
  1. The short term early intervention learning and support package will be agreed with the home school and this will include the objectives to achieve during the placement and plans for review and reintegration.


Where there is an objective to return the child to school, there will be an agreement with the school on how to assess when the pupil is ready to return. The service will plan an appropriate package to support the reintegration process with the school, the pupil and the carers and agree with the school when the child or young person is ready to return. 

The pupil will be well prepared and supported throughout the reintegration process which will be stepped and carefully managed with regular reviews to ensure the child is settled before reintegration support ceases.

Curriculum and Accreditation of Learning

The Aspire AP will provide access to a broad range of high-quality provision and a balanced curriculum.   All Individual Learning Packages will be of high-quality and provide a suitable curriculum designed to meet the needs of the individual child or young person. All potential opportunities for accreditation will be identified within the IEP and agreed with the home school and parents/carers.

IEPs will set stretching but achievable attainment targets for children and young people. The expectation is that all children and young people follow the full national curriculum, and all children and young people in Bath and North East Somerset leave school at 16 with 5 or more GCSEs or equivalents.

The curriculum specified within an IEP will include age-appropriate PSHE and physical exercise/ activity.

Where an individual learning package is part-time or temporary, to help minimise disruption to a pupil’s education, it should complement and keep up with the pupil’s current core curriculum, timetable and qualification route. Home schools must provide the necessary work and or information for the AP service to facilitate this. If a pupil is referred to off-site provision on a part-time basis, they should attend school as usual on the days on which they are not in alternative provision.

Provision of preventative support, advice and outreach support into schools

As the specialist AP in Bath and North East Somerset, the Aspire Academy AP will provide support and guidance to secondary schools and secondary Behaviour and Attendance panels where requested. This will include support and advice with strategies and creative ways of supporting children and young people with BESD /disaffection to remain in mainstream school.

Where an Early Offer (CAF) assessment indicates that admission to Alternative Education provision for a pupil at KS3 and 4 could be prevented with a short term package of outreach support into the school, this will be provided as an alternative to admission to Alternative Provision, (outreach support for primary schools will be provided by the new Nurture Outreach service).

The AP service will be developing the outreach model in consultation with secondary schools, Behaviour and Attendance panels and the new nurture outreach service.

Transitions planning and progression at 16

The Aspire Academy AP will support young people at KS3 and 4 to consider their aspirations, strengths and progression options at post -16 into future education, employment and training, ensuring they are supported to access independent information, Advice and Guidance.

The Aspire Academy AP will support transition planning arrangements as required at post 16 to ensure smooth transitions as far as possible for young people.

For Children in Care, the Aspire Academy AP will facilitate the attendance of Connexions Personal Advisors at Personal Education Plan meetings/ Single Education and Health Care Plan meetings during Year 9 and Year 11.

Information, advice and guidance (IAG)

The AP will provide good quality information, advice and guidance to pupils aged 15 and 16 regarding education, employment or training opportunities.

Partnership working with schools and other agencies

The Aspire Academy AP participates in partnership and multi-agency working both at strategic and operational level. This will include attending Behaviour and Attendance Panels where a pupil is being considered which is of relevance to the AP, where ever possible. It will also include active participation in the development of strategies and plans about behaviour and nurture support.

The APs team has built positive relationships not only with Key Workers in the schools in which we work, but also with many agencies and other professionals.  These agencies are either already working with the children and families when they are referred to us, or we have signposted to them during our interventions.

We deal with the following agencies and professionals:

  • Children Missing Education Service (CMES)
  • Children’s Social Care Teams
  • 117
  • Youth Offending Team (YOT)
  • Connecting Families
  • Mentoring Plus
  • Off the Record
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Black Families Education Support Group
  • Virtual School for CIC
  • Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Project 28

The SAFs team in particular are in schools, on a day-to-day basis, working a lot with the Pastoral staff, but also liaising with the School Nurse, Parent Support Advisor’s (PSA’s),  Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO’s), Class Teachers, Heads of Year, Assistant and Deputy Heads and Head teachers.

Parent / Carer engagement

Parents/carers are actively encouraged to be involved in the education/support plan discussions and progress reviews. The team is in regular contact with parents/carers - often daily contact is made.

The service will also support parents/carers into specific parenting support where this is identified as a need. There will be a programme in place from January 2015 which will work with parents. SportingFamilyChange will be operating with the team to facilitate this.

Transport and other costs associated with the delivery of the Alternative Provision

The Aspire Academy will cover all the transport costs associated with the provision of the education and support for the pupils attending the AP who are on role in a B&NES school or placed by the local authority. Where transport is arranged by the AP this should be appropriate to the needs of the pupil.

The education costs which will be met by schools who will be charged the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) for the period the pupil attends the AP.

Appendix .1. Fair Access criteria and eligibility criteria

Level 1 Pupils with BESD Needs

These pupils exhibit severe and challenging behavior although there will already have been a structured and supportive behavior management programme in place (including tasks, appropriately differentiated) for at least four terms.

Severity – the behaviour is severe, completely disrupts the child’s other activities, is a disproportionate or an inappropriate response to the apparent trigger; disturbs and interrupts the whole class.
Frequency – the behavior is observed on many days and repeats itself often during the day.
Generality – the behavior occurs in many situations and contexts.

Core criteria:- Pupils needs will include all of the elements below:
1. Exhibit severe and challenging behaviour even in the context of a structured and supportive personal and behaviour management programme which includes appropriately differentiated tasks.  Intensity and duration may be lessened by such a programme, but frequency of occurrence will be significant, i.e. 5 to 6 times per day (on average) requiring a personalised response.
2. Regularly disrupts own learning and other pupils’ learning.
3. Exhibits repeated periods of oppositional defiant behaviour.
4. Will not make appropriate approaches to peers, frequently (at least weekly) uses physical and/or verbal intimidation and aggression towards peers/adults.
5. Inability to empathise when emotionally overwhelmed/unable to accept support from peers and adults.
6. Have serious difficulty in making and sustaining constructive relationships.
7. Show limited responsibility for their own behaviour and have inconsequential behaviour, i.e. spasmodic awareness of the consequences of behaviour.
8. Show high frequency impulsivity leading to risk taking and/or are highly vulnerable to unsafe diversions and relationships.
9. Have low self-esteem and a lack of resilience. Easily affected by most low key external factors and shows a lack of control.
10. A flexible curriculum which may include changes to groupings and classroom organisation.
11. Show high frequency distractibility requiring a tightly structured learning environment and adult prompting to start and/or       complete tasks.
Level 2 Typically these pupils require frequent specific interventions on a daily basis from a range of consistent and familiar adults in order to make expected progress.  They may be frequently unable to interact appropriately with other pupils and staff due to learning, communication and/or social difficulties. Pupils must meet all the core criteria in Level 1 with the following:

Core criteria:- Pupils needs will include all of the elements below:
1. Exhibit severe and challenging behaviour even in the context of a structured and supportive behaviour management programme which includes appropriately differentiated tasks. Such a programme may lessen intensity and duration but frequency will be high.
2. Be physically and verbally threatening to peers and adults, presenting significant Health and Safety risk. Exhibit violent behaviour.
3. Show high levels of oppositional defiant behavior and refuses or unable to comply with reasonable requests.
4. Be extremely distractible and require constant adult prompting to start and continue tasks.
5. Be unable to make appropriate approaches to peers, resorting to physical and verbal intimidation/aggression and be unable to sustain positive relationships.
6. Due to the extent of the behaviours they require ongoing intervention from outside agencies on a multi-professional basis to maintain placement.
7. Significantly disrupt the learning of others to an extent that group working presents an additional challenge to the school.
8. Cannot maintain control and unable to take responsibility for own behavior. They may appear overwhelmed by their emotional needs and feelings of distress.
10.Demonstrate impulsive behaviours which put them self and others at risk.
12.Display self-harming behaviours stemming from their   emotional needs.
13.The emphasis is on structured help from a consistent group of adults to raise self-esteem, increase concentration and independence, communicate effectively and grasp social/behavioural norms.  Will require highly predictable routines in small group activities with facilities to withdraw the pupil if appropriate.

Supplementary Criteria (at least  2 elements to be met):
•    Pupils may exhibit inappropriate sexualised behaviour.
•    Pupils may require additional drug, alcohol, family support and/or detailed management plan to address challenging behaviour.
•    Pupils may have been permanently excluded, following a number of fixed term exclusions or may be subject of repeat permanent exclusion.
•    Have an extremely poor self-concept and be unable to start tasks, may self-harm, destroy work
Level 3 Pupils must meet all the core criteria in Level 2 with the following:

Core criteria:- Pupils needs will include all of the elements below:
1. Typically these pupils have complex needs which require specific 1:1 adult interventions for the vast majority of the time to facilitate behavioural needs.
2. Pupils have a record of violent behaviour including assaults on staff and students requiring detailed risk assessments.
3. Pupils have been in BESD or Special school provision before admission to AP provision
4. In additional to behaviour needs pupils will also have additional needs such as Dyslexia, Physical, Sensory, Cognitive, specific language or communication support.
5. Will require additional external specialist support to help manage the social and emotional difficulties they are facing and to maximise progress and development.
6. Assessed as a very high Health and safety risk - danger of student putting them and/or others at risk if using specialist equipment – Electrical Machines, Motor Mechanics etc
7. Due to the extent of the challenging behaviours it will be extremely unlikely that the student will return to mainstream provision. There will be a focus on equipping the student with the skills to access and be successful in post compulsory education