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Alternatives to mainstream education

The majority of children with special educational needs will have their needs met in their local mainstream school. However, for some children this is not possible or appropriate, and so other arrangements are sometimes made.

Some other types of educational provision that might be considered are:

Elective Home Education (EHE)

Where a parent chooses not to send their child to school, but assumes full responsibility for making sure they receive a full-time education, this is called Elective Home Education or EHE.

You can find out general information about EHE here: All you need to know about home-schooling and elective home education | Gov.uk or read information specific to Suffolk here: Elective Home Education | Suffolk Local Offer


Specialist Provision (SP)

If it is identified that a mainstream school is no longer able to meet the needs of a child, then placement in a specialist provision may be considered. This could be at one of Suffolk’s special schools, a specialist unit attached to a mainstream school or, in some instances, receiving their education within an Independent setting. You can read more about this here: Specialist Education in Suffolk.


Alternative Provision (AP)

There may be some situations where a child is experiencing a temporary barrier to being able to access mainstream learning, and it is agreed that they would benefit from attendance at a setting to support them through this period of challenge. In this situation a child may be referred to an Alternative Provision. You can read more about this here: Alternative Provision


Education Other Than At School (EOTAS)

If attendance at a school or college is agreed to be inappropriate for a child or young person, the Local Authority may arrange for them to receive educational provision either at home, or within an external setting that is not a registered educational setting. This is called Education Other Than At School (EOTAS). Under a formal EOTAS arrangement, the child or young person does not attend a ‘traditional’ educational setting, but instead receives their education and special educational provision either at home via provision such as the Alternative Tuition Service, or within an external setting that is not a registered educational setting, such as those listed on our Alternative Provision page.




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