Articles on alternative education so often focus on the problems, and the issues for mainstream heads. This fills me with frustration and despair because alternative education can be a success. Well done to Cambridgeshire and Staffordshire for introducing effective changes, but many small providers have been doing good work for years against a background of negative press. For some young people, good alternative provision can save them from the academic scrapheap and keep them in education until they move on to the next stage.
There are undoubtedly young people receiving little or no education from poor providers, often part-time and unchecked, but full-time provision in an independent, Ofsted-inspected school such as ours can ensure a good outcome.
However, it is not just the permanently excluded we should focus on. It is also those caught in the twilight zone of repeat fixed-term exclusions and "managed moves" that are delayed for months. Mainstream education is not right for all children. The impact a disaffected and disruptive student can have on their school, family and community can be immense, so we have to get this right and deliver a creditable alternative. I hope these proposals achieve that.
Sandy Davies, Principal, Education Links, Stratford, London.