In its document Creating Opportunity for All, published today, the government says that new alternative-provision (AP) free schools work best when they are designed as part of a local network of schools, and created to meet a supply in areas of need.
It states: “We will build on the existing free schools programme and this learning of what is effective for AP free schools by launching a joint special and AP free school wave in the summer of 2018.”
The DfE has also said that it will launch a £4 million innovation fund to improve outcomes for pupils who attend AP settings. This fund will run from 2018 to 2020.
And the document refers to plans to “review our expectations for the educational standard in AP settings”. This will include a review of the use of unregistered settings, to consider whether any action is needed.
The document states: “It is our ambition that the AP innovation fund will deepen the evidence base on how to improve outcomes for children in AP.”
Improving the quality of alternative provision
In addition, the government has said that it will consider the role that teaching schools can play in improving alternative provision.
It proposes working with existing AP teaching schools, to better understand the role that AP and mainstream teaching schools could play in improving the quality of AP.
And it will open an AP strand of the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. The new funding will be used to “support high-quality professional development for teachers and school leaders in the areas and schools in England that need it most”, the document states.
AP schools will also be given access to the Strategic School Improvement Fund.