Admissions to our Alternative Provision and Specialist places are managed through the Local Authority Specialist Admissions Process.

Reasons for Referral

Where a young person is struggling to access their learning in a mainstream school because of their complex social, emotional or mental health needs, their very poor attendance, or they are at risk of permanent exclusion from the school, the parents/ carers and school can agree to make a referral for an alternative provision placement for placement at The Albany.

Students who have an EHCP with a primary need of SEMH may also be referred to our Specialist SEMH Groups in the same way if it is deemed that mainstream education is not the best education pathway for them currently and they would benefit from longer-term specialist support for their learning in a specialist environment.

Local Authority Admissions Process

The Albany has 46 Alternative Provision spaces and 16 SEMH Specialist Group places.  These places are all allocated through the Local Authority’s Specialist Admissions Process, using the Inclusion Service Referral Form, which can be found on Suffolk InfoLink via the link above, sending the form and supporting documentation to

It is essential that SEND Family Services staff are involved in discussions about any referrals made.  All referrals for our specialist group will also need to be accompanied by an up to date Annual Review report, which has been discussed with the SEND Family Services team.

Referrals can be made at any point throughout the year. Once received, applications (from schools or Family Services Teams) will first be considered at the LA’s Specialist Education Panel (SEP), which meets weekly, to ensure that they are appropriate referrals and that the applying school has taken other appropriate steps to support the young person prior to requesting a referral. If the referral is considered appropriate, we are then asked to consider whether we have capacity to meet the young person’s needs, responding directly to the LA within 5 (AP placements) or 15 (SEMH placements) working days.

There is also a recognition of the need to enable some in year applications to comply with the SEND Code of Practice.

  • The SEND Family Services teams will continue to consult where a specific school has been named by the parent as parental preference in Section I of an EHC Plan
  • Consultation will require a response on suitability and compatibility with the efficient education of others
  • The decision whether to name a school in a plan sits with the local authority having considered the response of the school, and will be agreed at the weekly Specialist Education Panel (SEP).

Process of Admission (once a place has been agreed)

Once a place is agreed, The Albany works with the young person, the parents/carers and their current school to enable a smooth transition to The Albany.  This includes:

  • A meeting with the young person and their parents/ carers to introduce The Albany and discuss what we can offer.  This is often at home.
  • A pathway meeting including The Albany, mainstream school, student and parents/ carers to agree the needs and pathway through The Albany, including transition steps in and out of The Albany.
  • A visit to The Albany to meet Albany staff and students, identify transport needs and make option choices where appropriate for our vocational placements.
  • A week within our assessment hub (afternoons only) to provide a detailed assessment of need to ensure the learning offer meets the individual needs of each young person.
  • A gradual induction timetable, supporting the young person to access their learning at The Albany at a pace that suits them, including familiarisation with travel to and from The Albany and their vocational placements.

At all times we work in partnership with the young person and their parents/carers to ensure that each young person is given the best opportunity to thrive at The Albany, enabling them to believe in themselves, engage in their learning and achieve well.


Family Services – Suffolk Info Link

Albany Induction Policy

Inclusion Service Referral Form

County Inclusion Support Service

Suffolk County Council SEND Report