Alternative Provision Schools
Too little status and attention has been given to those who work with vulnerable pupils. Working with the most vulnerable pupils should be seen as the pinnacle of the profession. But while some parts of the school system have seen investment in recruitment support, professional training and research, this has not been the case for AP schools (Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provision academies):
AP schools face even harder recruitment challenges than mainstream. The proportion of unqualified teachers in AP is rising. And over the past five years, senior leadership vacancies have doubled. More teachers should see working in AP as a high status career choice.
The outcomes nationally for destinations and core qualifications for AP learners is poor: 1 in 2 pupils are not in education, employment or training, six months after their GCSEs and only 2% gain a good pass in English and maths. Yet many AP schools buck these trends, with effective practice. Some are thinking differently about therapeutic support and work with parents; others are designing innovative curricula matched to the local labour market; still others are creating schemes of learning which see pupils make radical progress over a short time. Nationally, there are too few mechanisms to share the very best practice around the system.
82% of PRUs and AP academies are Good and better. But analysis of Ofsted reports points to a pattern in school improvement priorities: raising expectations in teaching and learning, improving assessment for learning, data monitoring and assessment. As the Ofsted framework changes from 2020, there will be increasing scrutiny on curriculum planning, matched to the needs of learners. More teaching and learning expertise is required in the AP sector.
The Difference aims to raise the status and expertise of those working with vulnerable learners: in AP, and in mainstream.
Partnership: Hiring a Difference Leader
The Difference Leaders programme is designed to add value to AP schools through:
Improving pupil outcomes
Expert classroom teaching for your students from an exceptional mainstream practitioner
School improvement projects bespoke to your school development plan led, implemented and evaluated by your Difference Leader. This will include replicating interventions with a track-record of success including:
Curriculum planning to support progression to employment
Family coaching models to improve attendance, wellbeing and pupil self-regulation
Contextual safeguarding best practice to improve pupil wellbeing, safety and referrals
Building school capacity
Teaching & Learning whole staff CPD on the latest mainstream practice in assessment and GCSE specifications to aid reintegration and improved quality of teaching and learning
Whole staff CPD on wellbeing, safeguarding and learning - cascaded from the Difference Leaders curriculum - tailored to your school, delivered and evaluated by your Difference leader.
From Year 2 of the programme, reflective practice/supervision for school staff, developed, delivered and evaluated by your Difference Leader according to the needs of your school.
ITT support for unqualified staff (if specifically requested as part of partnership)
Raising the status of Alternative Provision
Sharing of your school’s best practice across The Difference’s AP community. Including the opportunity to both present at and take staff to The Difference’s national teacher development conference sharing national best practice.
Awareness of your school’s best practice amongst policymakers, press and philanthropists. The Difference will continue to celebrate excellent AP through its work with the media, which could include visits from journalists and philanthropists to your setting.
Learn more about partnership, click below and fill in our Expression of Interest form.