From education to employment

Alternative provision: year 11 transition funding

This guidance sets out the financial support available to:

alternative provision (AP) schools
colleges offering alternative provision

This funding is:

in response to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
intended to fund additional transition support provided by AP settings for year 11 pupils from May 2021 to the end of February 2022

Purpose of the fund

The AP cohort, a significant proportion of whom are in year 11, are already vulnerable and at greater risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET) than their peers. These risks have increased since schools closed for most pupils and without substantial transition support, many of the current year 11s in AP are at heightened risk this year of becoming NEET. Becoming NEET limits life chances and engagement in education is a protective factor from a range of harms. Bespoke, needs-based interventions are needed to support these year 11 pupils transition to post-16 provision successfully.

Many of these students will attract some disadvantage funding when they are in the 16 to 19 phase. It is up to post-16 providers how they use this funding to support disadvantaged students, and we know some use it to help retain students.

We encourage the APs to engage with the further education sector to help ensure ex-AP pupils sustain their post-16 destinations and avoid becoming NEET.

We also strongly encourage AP settings to work with commissioners, whether local authorities or schools, and other local organisations including the voluntary and community sector, to put in place effective intervention packages. This is particularly pertinent to local authorities’ social care teams given pupils in AP are 12 times more likely to have a social worker than their mainstream peers. Interventions should draw on evidence-based practice wherever possible and be based on pupils’ individual needs, matched with the best locally available provision.

This funding is in response to the continued disruption to education for some pupils due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you can spend it on

We are asking school and college leaders to:

identify the most effective and best value solution or solutions available locally to support their year 11 cohort in successfully transitioning into post-16 settings
continue to work with those young people to ensure they are settled and maintain their placements

We expect AP settings who used this funding in the last academic year to monitor the effectiveness of previous interventions and new activities with the aim of selecting activities that have maximum impact.

This could include:

backfilling a staff member as a ‘transition specialist’ to organise activities and act as a mentor or advocate for year 11 pupils over the summer or during the autumn term
extending the contract of existing ‘transition coaches’ or appointing new ones
engaging third sector organisations to provide engagement or reengagement activities, attendance support or expand existing transition programmes
providing some level of on-site support for the most at-risk pupils during the autumn term and preparing them for January entry into further education

Case studies on post-16 transition features some best practice examples of transition support for year 11 students in AP.

Schools and colleges can fund activities tailored to an individual pupil or can pull together the funding into a package that supports wider groups of year 11s.

If you are a small AP, or have a small year 11 cohort, this funding allows you to work collaboratively with other local APs.

This funding is not for:

extending or re-opening school
providing additional school places or high needs funding
driving lessons
leavers’ assemblies
transport for pupils
sports day trophies

APs wishing to keep pupils on roll would need to negotiate this separately with commissioners.

If you’re planning an intervention that is very different from those in our guidance, email [email protected] to discuss eligibility.


Funding will only be available to the following settings with a year 11 AP cohort (sole or dual-registered):

pupil referral units (PRUs)
alternative provision academies and free schools
further education colleges offering alternative provision – these providers will need to pre-apply to access this funding
registered independent schools offering alternative provision – these providers will need to pre-apply to access this funding
hospital schools, including those that are PRUs, AP or special academies, foundation or community special schools, and those registered as independent schools

Funding is not available to:

special schools – unless they operate as a hospital school
charities – including those known as unregistered AP – that provide activities for pupils who are in AP settings – contact local APs to see how you could engage with their transition work
mainstream schools

The following settings do not need to pre-apply:


AP academy

AP free schools
hospital schools

Where a pupil is registered at a mainstream school and 2 AP institutions, only the AP setting where the pupil spends most of their time is eligible for funding (up to £750).

What you’ll get

We will provide AP settings with up to £750 for each year 11 pupil on their school or college roll, to support these young people to transition into sustained post-16 destinations and to avoid becoming NEET.

You can use this funding from now until the end of February 2022 depending on individuals’ needs.

Funding will be allocated to cover actual costs of activities undertaken up to £750 per-year-11 student limits. Both sole-registered and dual-registered students will attract the full £750 per-pupil funding. We will cover the costs actually incurred, up to the limits, when putting in place additional intervention packages to mitigate the increased risks of year 11 pupils unsuccessfully transitioning to post-16 provision.

You cannot take new pupils onto your roll to access transition support. This funding is only for existing year 11s in an AP setting as of 21 May 2021.

Accessing the funding

We are asking schools and colleges to make the necessary payments from their existing budgets and record these in line with local finance policies.

We are making changes to the way schools and colleges submit a claim. We are no longer asking schools and colleges to return individual claim forms to the AP Transition Fund mailbox.

We will now be using a digital claim form to simplify and speed up the payment process. The digital claim form will be available in early 2022 and will need to be completed by 28 February 2022.

Although we are no longer asking for as much detail on the digital form, we do ask that you keep a record of the following for auditing and evaluation purposes:

a detailed record of additional activities undertaken
the unique pupil numbers (UPNs) and registration status of pupils taking part in these activities

FE colleges and independent schools

If you are an independent school or FE college, to assess eligibility for the funding, you’ll need to raise an expression of interest (EOI).

Email [email protected] with:

your eligible cohort
their registration status

You’ll also need to send us letters from the commissioner of each AP place confirming:

number of pupils
their registration status
that they’re attending due to expulsion, health needs or new arrival – or they’ve been directed off-site by a school to improve their behaviour

EOIs and commissioner letters should be sent to [email protected] by 25 June 2021.

Funding is not guaranteed and will be based on eligible claims made retrospectively.

Pooling funding with other APs

You can pool funding with other APs to create shared activities. Each school will need to claim for funding separately and each individual claim must not exceed the funding limits determined by the cohort.


Payments will be made to reimburse providers for the per-pupil costs they apply for up to the limits, in March or April 2022.

Payment will be provided for any eligible intervention or interventions and payment will not depend on the outcomes of the intervention or interventions.

You must submit a claim form for assessment to be eligible to receive payment.

Conditions of funding

Funding can only be spent by schools and colleges to support their existing year 11 cohort transition and remain successfully engaged in quality post-16 destinations.

Where they need to, AP providers will be eligible to claim up to the per-pupil limits.

Schools and colleges will need to provide assurance that costs are legitimate additional costs incurred within the parameters of this funding by taking necessary measures.

Before submitting your claim, your headteacher or school business manager should consider:

how you’ll keep records of all expenditure relating to the AP transition fund – as is usual with all spend, these records will be necessary for local audit arrangements
your financial duties when submitting your claim, including signing your name against any claim
how you’ll show this income and the related expenditure when reporting your accounts
how you’ll demonstrate you adjusted interventions to have increased impact (if you made use of this funding last academic year)

This funding is being provided under section 14 to 16 of the Education Act 2002. We reserve the right to audit the expenditure and will not provide funding for claims which have not been made in accordance with the guidance, in order to protect public spending.

We will use the data you submit as part of your claim along with census data to:

track claims
monitor the effectiveness of this fund

For the purposes of this fund, we are meeting Article 6(1)(e) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can find out more about how we treat personal information in the personal information charter.


Please send any enquiries to [email protected].

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