Where a child of compulsory school age would not receive suitable education because of illness, exclusion or any other reason, local authorities have a duty to provide suitable ‘alternative provision’ (AP). Although the AP provider understands the reason for the child’s placement, as does the responsible local authority, nationally very little is known about these AP placements and the children who need them. This is fundamental to understanding the effectiveness of the AP system to better target policy interventions and improve the quality of education provided to these children.
The AP census collects details of children in local authority commissioned AP in settings other than state place funded schools. As such, there was no need to consult directly with schools about these changes. These changes have been informed by research into the AP sector involving input from a sample of local authorities and AP providers and were also considered by sector representatives via the Star Chamber Scrutiny Board (SCSB) process.