Alternative Provision Academies are a specific type of free school.
They cater principally for children of compulsory school age on short term placements who are disengaged from mainstream education. They may also cater for 16 to 19 year olds. Children of compulsory school age can be referred to alternative provision free schools by local authorities, other schools and academies (‘commissioners’).
The funding for AP free schools is on a different basis to mainstream academies – they receive £8k per pre-16 place from the EFA and negotiate top-up funding levels with the commissioners of pupil places. Students aged 16 to 19 can either be referred by commissioners or apply to the free school directly, where 16 to 19 funding arrangements will apply.