Experts on non-mainstream education sought by council

Monday 31 December 2018

Milton Keynes Council is asking for anyone involved or interested in ‘alternative provision education’ to share views and evidence as part of an upcoming Scrutiny Task and Finish Group.

Task and Finish Groups undertake in-depth investigations so that councillors are better able to scrutinise council or partner actions on a particular topic of local importance.  They call on the help of internal and external witnesses to provide evidence.

One group is looking into alternative provision education at primary school level.  Alternative provision educates young people who do not attend mainstream school for a variety of reasons such as school exclusion, behaviour issues, school refusal, or illness.  Instead, teaching happens in settings such as pupil referral units.

The Department for Education has found that pupils across the UK claiming free school meals are around four times more likely to receive a permanent or fixed period exclusion than those who are not eligible.  Pupils with identified special educational needs account for almost half of all exclusions.  Boys are around three times more likely to receive an exclusion than girls.

Cllr David Hopkins is Chair of the Scrutiny Task and Finish Group examining the local picture.  He said:

"Some of the most disadvantaged young people in our local community are educated through alternative provision and we want to establish whether they are receiving the best possible support in MK.

“Students in alternative provision are far less likely to achieve good exam results, find well-paid jobs or go on to further study.

“As a council dedicated to promoting social justice, we are committed to examining these issues in our inquiry and pressing Government, MK Council’s Cabinet, local schools and others to do all they can to improve educational outcomes and life chances.

“Every student, whatever their background, should be given the chance to climb the educational ladder of opportunity.

“In addition to looking at the quality of their education and the outcomes of these students, the Committee will also look at safeguarding and resources within AP, various models in the provision of AP and regulation of independent providers."

The Task and Finish Group looking at alternate provision is seeking written submissions or offers to provide evidence in person by 1 February 2019.

They are particularly interested in hearing from people on the following issues:

  • Routes into alternative provision
  • The quality of teaching in alternative provision (including pupil referral units)
  • Educational outcomes and destinations of students
  • Safety, accommodation, and provision of resources for students
  • In-school alternatives to external alternative provision
  • Regulation of independent providers


To make a submission please contact Overview and Scrutiny Officer, Elizabeth Richardson, at or by post to:

Elizabeth Richardson

Re: Alternative Provision Education in the Primary Sector

Democratic Services

Milton Keynes Council

Civic Offices

1 Saxon Gate East

Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ