Right to a full-time education
Children of compulsory school age have the right to a full-time education, and reduced timetables are unlawful (unless following medical opinion that this would be in the child's best interests). However, a reduced timetable can be an effective temporary measure to support some children with complex needs. There should be a plan to support an increase to full-time, regular reviews and only with parental agreement and involvement of appropriate services.
If you are feeling pressured to accept a reduced timetable talk to school about whether there are other appropriate support options, for example...
- a CAF – a way of working with families and assessing needs
- an Inclusion Service referral - a universal referral for alternative provision and tuition; specialist placements; outreach services; and for the multi-agency assessment programme
- Referral to a health service.
- where support options in school have been exhausted, a request to the local authority to carry out an EHC needs assessment
- where an EHC plan is already in place, requesting an early review (opens PDF)
This term is used to describe the education arrangements made for excluded pupils to continue to have a suitable, full-time education whilst they are excluded from school or cannot attend school for another reason.
In some circumstances, alternative provision can be used where a child has not been excluded, including alongside mainstream or special education, where there are medical needs or for a placement to support them with their behaviour. See also our information under fixed-term exclusion.
You can contact the local authority directly with any questions or concerns relating to exclusions and alternative provision:
Take a look at this online directory of alternative provision (PDF) (via the Suffolk local offer).
Watch this UCL video explaining about entitlement to education while excluded: