Direction off-site for the improvement of behaviour

This page outlines the power a school has to direct a pupil off-site to receive alternative educational provision in order to improve their behaviour. 


Section 29A Education Act 2002 is the relevant legislation in this area and this states the following: 

“The governing body of a maintained school in England may require any registered pupil to attend at any place outside the school premises for the purpose of receiving educational provision which is intended to improve the behaviour of the pupil.”

The legislation above does reference maintained schools and not academies. However, academies do have the power to direct pupils off-site for the improvement of behaviour if their funding agreement and/or articles of association make clear that they comply with the above legislation. 

It is important to note that the pupil does remain on the school roll of the transferring school during the prescribed period that the pupil is attending the off-site provision. The transferring school must accept the pupil back once the prescribed period has elapsed. 

When might it be necessary to use this power? 

The objective of this particular power to direct a pupil off-site is to improve the pupil’s behaviour and therefore it will often be used when a pupil is at risk of permanent exclusion. It should not be used because the transferring school is unable to meet the pupil’s educational needs, medical needs, special educational needs etc. 

What are the responsibilities of the transferring school? 

The power under section 29A Education Act 2002 is further defined by the Education (Educational Provision for Improving Behaviour) Regulations 2010. The regulations outline the procedure that must be followed when directing a pupil off-site for the improvement of behaviour under Section 29A Education Act 2002.

The regulations outline that the school must:

Give the prescribed persons (parents of the child, the child (if over 18) and the Local Authority if the child has an EHCP) a notice in writing of the proposed direction off site containing the information prescribed below:

  • The address at which the educational provision is to be provided for the pupil;
  • Particulars identifying the person to whom the pupil should report on first attending that address for the purposes of receiving the educational provision;
  • The number of days for which the requirement is to be imposed;
  • The reasons for, and objectives of, imposing the requirement; and
  • In relation to the educational provision where two sessions per day are provided, the times at which the morning session commences, the afternoon session ends and the break between them commences and ends or where a single session per day is provided, the times at which the session commences and ends.

The notice must be given as soon as practicable after the determination has been made to direct the child off site and not less than two school days before the first day at which the child is expected to attend the new educational establishment.

Keep under review the alternative placement by holding a review meeting examining how effective the alternative placement is proving to be in meeting its aim, whether it should continue and considering any views of those that have attended the review meeting or submitted their views in writing. 

Not later than six days before the date of any review meeting give a written invitation to the prescribed persons above, the alternative educational establishment and the Head Teacher of your school requesting them to attend the review meeting or to submit in writing before the date of the meeting their views on the alternative placement.

Give written notification of any decision to continue the alternative placement and the reasons for continuing it to the parties directly above not later than six days after the date of the review meeting.

It could be considered an unlawful use of this provision if the school fails to adhere to the regulations above. There is a thin line between a lawful use of this provision and an unlawful exclusion. 

Is parental consent required? 

Parental consent is not required in order for a school to direct a pupil off-site under this provision. However, it should be a collaborative process so far as is reasonably practicable.