Teacher pointing at board in a primary school class.

Refreshed strategy aims to improve outcomes for children and young people

A revised strategy that aims to improve outcomes for children who are unable to attend mainstream school or at risk of exclusion has been approved by councillors.

State funded alternative provision in Lancashire is provided by settings that are referred to as either pupil referral units or short stay schools.

Local authorities are required to make state funded alternative provision available for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness, or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education.

Alternative provision should also be made available to provide education arranged by schools for suspended pupils and for pupils directed by schools to off-site provision to improve their behaviour.

In March 2023, the Department for Education published the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, in response to the public consultation on the SEND Green Paper; Right Support, Right Place, Right Time consultation.

Lancashire County Council's Alternative Provision Strategy 2020 to 2024 has been reviewed in light of these developments, and has been guided by feedback from key stakeholders, including young people and practitioners working across education, health and care services.

The refreshed strategy builds on the previous version and focuses on de-escalating the need for higher cost provision both inside and outside of county and to keep children within, or closer to their home communities and schools. This, in turn, should improve outcomes for children and their families and increase effectiveness of the use of funding received from the government.

On Thursday, 7 September, Lancashire County Council's cabinet will be asked to consider and comment on the new Alternative Provision Strategy 2023 to 2026.

County Councillor Jayne Rear, cabinet member for Education and Skills, said: "Our Alternative Provision Strategy aims to ensure all children and young people access quality learning from childhood through to adulthood in the right place, at the right time.

"Our outreach first approach means we can tailor our support, whether that is providing targeted support in mainstream schools or arranging placements to help children and young people to develop the skills and confidence they need to continue learning and thriving in our county.

"We hope that the Alternative Provision Strategy helps us to realise our vision; that children and young people achieve their full potential in education, learning and future employment."

To read more visit: Council - Agenda for Cabinet on Thursday, 7th September, 2023, 2.00 pm (lancashire.gov.uk) and go to item 17.