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Alternative Provision – Onsite

Setting up CPD and resources for new onsite Alternative Provision (AP) for both Primary and Secondary schools for children who were identified as at risk of exclusion.  Schools developed a range of in house AP approaches to provide wrap-around support for their pupils.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, School Teachers, Trusts

Aimed at

KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4


Empowering Young People, Inclusion and SEND, Mental Health and Wellbeing


CPD, Place Based, Whole School

Why was the project needed?

Between 2018 and 2020, the Norwich Opportunity Area team worked with a number of external providers to offer funded offsite Alternative Provision for both primary and secondary age pupils who had been identified as being at risk of exclusion.  This provision was offered for 1 day a week for a 6 week period but outcomes for children undertaking this short-term provision varied.

The cost was not sustainable in the long-term and feedback from schools suggested that removing pupils from class and from their peer group from both a practical and emotional stance was challenging.  It was also disruptive to their flow of learning.

The pandemic increased the number of pupils with identified SEMH needs and it was felt that Alternative Provision placed within schools that made use of the schools’ wider wrap-around support would be beneficial.

What happened and what was the impact?

The NOA organised an introductory online workshop for schools interested in setting up AP in their schools.  This was split between primary and secondary with outside speakers sharing examples of their already established provisions from both within the area and from other areas in the country.

An application process, incorporating the Theory of Change model was created and schools were invited, with support if required, to apply for funding for their provision.  Impartial moderation panels considered the applications, providing useful feedback for unsuccessful schools in order that a decision, where practical, could be deferred.

12 new AP approaches at primary phase were established across 15 primary schools in Norwich and 4 secondary schools developed new approaches to in house AP.

What did and didn't work?

The introductory sessions for interested schools worked well with positive feedback in relation to hearing from schools who already had provision and being available for Q’s & A’s.  Attendance, due to COVID was not as high as expected, even though the session was online, as staff were covering for absences.  This did mean that some schools initially missed out.  The solution was to provide more provide more rounds of funding and where appropriate to do so, offer  one to one visits by the NOA Project Manager to help with applications and ensure that all relevant information and the TOC was completed.

How did you measure success?

A reduction in behaviour incidents in schools was key and reflected within the stage reports received from schools.  The setup of onsite Alternative Provision in schools has provided additional CPD for school staff, equipping them with the expertise needed for them to be run confidently with staff equipped with the necessary skills in approaches that are new to them.

Schools (and the local authority where this is relevant) will experience a reduction in expense such as using an external AP provider to support at risk students and associated transport costs.

Schools report that classroom learning is less disrupted and there is a reduced need for 1:1 supervision in the classroom.


Ingredients For Success

A school lead for the project who has some dedicated time to complete a funding application and who will oversee the project to completion and evaluate impact.

Schools should have one point of contact to approach for help in completing a funding application and general advice and guidance for a first-time successful bid.   In the absence of an adviser, it would be recommended that a school project lead receive training in bid applications.

Encourage collaboration between schools to share expertise and resources and joint bids where sharing of facilities and resources is practical.

Consider sustainability of the project and incorporate the provision into school plans, revisiting regularly to identify continuous CPD so that the provision becomes integrated in to school fully and it is not an add-on but part of their offer to the school community.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

A number of the projects have been fully implemented and embedded within the school provision.

Some projects are still a work in progress.

How is the Project Sustainable

CPD for staff is integral to the project’s sustainability.

Majority of resources are sustainable.

The projects has become part of the general offer from the school and is not an “add-on” or temporary measure to meet current demand.

What are the Long Term Impacts

Children have their immediate needs met in order to make them learner-ready and assisted to be the best they can be.

Behaviours that previously lead to exclusions are challenged within an appropriate environment and by skilled staff.

Reduction in school exclusions

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Development of therapeutic and vocational student support alternative provision – City Academy Norwich

At City Academy Norwich (CAN) we acknowledge that the mainstream environment is one that some students find particularly difficult and high-quality alternative provision (AP) is essential to addressing these difficulties.

Zones of Regulation - Magdalen Gates Primary School

Accelerated Learning Unit (ALU) - Norwich Secondary School

Development of Alternative Provision - Colman Federation

Champions and contacts


Norwich Opportunity Area Team
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