Alternative provision for all ages

We believe all children and young people, including those in alternative provision settings, deserve a high quality education and the chance to fulfil their potential.

Please see our directories above to view providers of part time or full time alternative provision, tutoring, complementary provision or view all services in our alternative provision category.  Use the filters to search by district and age.  You can also search by provider type, such as those providers who have been successful in registering as an alternative education provider on SCC’s Dynamic Purchasing Scheme, or other providers. 

Providers who have registered on our Alternative Provision Framework/Dynamic Purchasing System have an "AP DPS" image next to their listing.  These are our current providers.

Successful providers on our Alternative Provision DPS have to ensure compliance against a number of categories but also successfully answer three quality questions relating to their previous experience, engagement methods and monitoring and evaluation methods.

Please note education providers must ensure when commissioning alternative provision for their children and young people they must comply with the Department for Education's statutory guidance on Alternative Provision.   In addition, education providers must ensure they have robust arrangements in place to monitor and quality assure when placing pupils direct with any alternative provider, including those who are a provider on the Alternative Provision DPS.

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What is alternative provision?

Alternative provision provides education for pupils who are excluded, sick, or otherwise unable to attend a mainstream or specialist setting.  It is for children of compulsory school age unless the person has an Education Health and Care Plan and then it is up to age 25. 

Who is it aimed at?

The vast majority of children and young people attend a school or college to receive their education.  Some children and young people may benefit from receiving some, or all, of their education and support in ‘off site’ settings.  This is delivered away from their school or within the home.

Alternative Provision is generally considered to be a short-term, interim measure. It aims to support children and young people return to their full-time school place. In exceptional circumstances this can be a longer-term offer.

Who organises it?

In the first instance, please speak to your school setting who can organise directly, if you are on their school roll.

In some circumstances, the County Council is responsible for making these arrangements on behalf of the children or young person and/or their school. This includes when a child or young person has been permanently excluded from education or where specialist services have discharged responsibility to arrange suitable and complementary alternative provision for vulnerable groups of young people, such as those who are:

We will commission appropriate provision for children and young people through the alternative provision framework/Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).

Alternative education can be provided by one of our pupil referral units, other providers and tutors from the private and voluntary sectors via our Dynamic Purchasing System, or further education colleges.

Please see our directories above to view providers of part time or full time alternative provision, tutoring, complementary provision or view all services in our alternative provision category.  

Providers with the" AP DPS" logo, displayed in the top right-hand corner of their listing, have registered on our Alternative Provision Framework/Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).

Education other than at school (EOTAS) for children and young people with EHCPs

EOTAS refers to all forms of education that takes place outside of the formal school environment, including alternative provision. It is educational provision that meets the needs of children and young people who are unable to attend a mainstream or special school. 

For a small number of children with EHCPs, it may be considered that being educated other than at school would best meet their needs.   If this has been agreed, we will work with you to supply the provision set out in Section F of the EHCP. 

When a child is on EOTAS the parent is still required by law to ensure that their child attends regularly, in the same way a child at a school would.

For more information, please contact Family Practitioner Lead in the area you live .   For impartial information, advice and guidance please contact SENDIASS.


Section 61 of the Children and Families Act 2014, states that:

  • “A local authority in England may arrange for any special educational provision that it has decided is necessary for a child or young person for whom it is responsible to be made otherwise than in a school or post-16 institution or a place at which relevant early years education is provided.

  • An authority may do so only if satisfied that it would be inappropriate for the provision to be made in a school or post-16 institution or at such a place” and

  • Before doing so, the authority must consult the child’s parent or the young person”.


Can you tell me more about providers on the Staffordshire County Council alternative provision list?

Alternative Provision providers have gone through a series of quality and policy checks. These checks are done by Staffordshire County Council's commercial team and approved officers. They include how they could deliver:

  • Excellent and high quality education.
  • Outcome focused education services that meet the needs of individual pupils.

All Providers must have a current Safeguarding Policy in place.

Providers apply to Staffordshire County Council to deliver a range of services. These are known as “Lots".

More information and a description of the Alternative Provision Dynamic Purchasing Scheme lots can be found here.

Providers approved for inclusion on the Alternative Provision Dynamic Purchasing System have a “AP DPS " logo. This is placed at the top right of their entry as per image above.

Approved DPS providers also have regular quality assurance visits from Entrust once or twice a year,  depending on the numbers of children they support

Please see our directories above to view providers of:

Searches can also be made under each Lot.

It is important to check this information regularly. Providers can apply to deliver services under different lots on the AP DPS at any time. Lots for which Providers are approved can also change. The SEND Local Offer is updated regularly.  

How do I know what specific checks are undertaken for commissioned tutors?

As part of the initial compliance checks and ongoing quality assurance the Local Authority requires confirmation that all Tutors commissioned under Lot 3 have:

  • Qualified Teacher Status
  • Up to date Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check
  • Completed a minimum of Staffordshire Child Protection Level 1 training.
  • Current Safeguarding Policies which are checked by our Education Safeguarding Leads.  The Policy must be aligned with the Staffordshire Model Policy for Schools and includes safer recruitment policies.
  • Engaged in our rolling programme of quality assurance and oversight.

For Provision delivered under Lot 3 – Tutoring.   All Providers will make available, on request from the Commissioning Team, detailed information on:

  • named tutors delivering against specific Staffordshire contracts,
  • written assurance of their DBS checks, and
  • reference checks.
How do I access alternative provision?

If your child is not receiving a suitable education because of:

  • a permanent exclusion, a referral will be made to our inclusion team
  • an illness, or other reason, please discuss with your child’s home school in the first instance, who may need to contact an Education Welfare Worker.

If a pupil is not on the roll of a school, parents should contact school admissions by emailing:

Pupils attending a non-Staffordshire setting but who live in Staffordshire, should contact an Education Welfare Worker in the first instance by emailing

If your child has received a fixed period exclusion of more than five school days, your child’s school will arrange alternative provision if appropriate.

I am a provider, can I register for future tender opportunities?

Tender opportunities will be undertaken through the Authority’s e-tendering system Proactis. Suppliers should register onto the system by completing their details first, then registering their interest to this specific tender opportunity by searching under reference 1001292.   Please see our user guide for more information.

Where can I go for further information?
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