Appendix 2: Secondary schools and Alternative Education indicator framework

The indicators below outline of the characteristics of good practice for schools’ use of Alternative Education. These indicators are not an exhaustive list but are designed to provide an outline of the quality expected from schools in their use of Alternative Education.

Alternative Education within the school’s strategy for engaging students

Alternative Education’s place

  • The school’s use of Alternative Education is part of an overall approach which is predominantly effective at identifying and removing significant barriers to learning. The features of this system include:High quality processes for transitioning new students into the school, especially at Year 9
  • Low levels of truancy, stand-downs and suspensions and any other indicators showing low student engagement
  • Processes which identify students at risk of disengaging as early as possible;
  • Identifying and attempting to resolve the root causes for a student’s lack of engagement
  • Initiatives which work with those students who are identified to be at risk of disengaging (this could include buddy or mentor programmes, the support of teachers, guidance counsellors or Deans, involvement in extra-curricula activities, strategies with families and care-givers, careers support, interagency support)
  • Significant efforts to adapt teaching to the needs of students, such as the development of an Individual Learning Programme, Individual Education Plan and attempts to engage students on the basis of their strengths and interests
  • A clear understanding of how to teach diverse learners, including the Māori and Pacific students, boys and girls, and students with special needs
  • A curriculum, pedagogy and professional development programme which are developing high quality teaching across the school ie, teaching that is engaging and effective for diverse students
  • Alternative Education (AE) is NOT an easy option for removing a troublesome student but is used as an extension of the school’s approach to meet the individual needs of students

School decision making

  • Alternative Education (AE) is NOT an easy option for removing a troublesome student but is used as an extension of the school’s approach to meet the individual needs of students
  • Robust referral and decision making to place a student in AE including looking at other options
  • A placement in AE is part of a wider plan to re-engage the student in education or some other positive outcome (see below to judge the quality of these transitions)

Transition into and out of Alternative Education

Transition into AE

  • The AE provider should receive information from the enrolling school on: Current levels of academic achievement (including literacy and numeracy)
  • Social and behavioural profile (including involvement with specialist services such as RTLBs, GSE, specialist mental health services: CAMHS/CAFS etc)
  • Significant contact people who are able to contribute to the development of an Individual plan
  • Other relevant information e.g. current Individual Education Plan (if applicable); and
  • Reason for the referral to AE.
  • IEPs are developed with representatives from the provider and the enrolling school, IEPs should: have family or caregiver commitment;
  • include an outline of the student’s strengths and interests and how these can be used to support his or her learning within AE;
  • have clear goals for learning and development;
  • address how any barriers to learning will be addressed with the support of external agencies, this may include drug and alcohol dependency, anger management issues, learning problems
  • clearly set out the processes to be used to support students to reach their goals, including who will carry out what tasks and by when;
  • have regular review times built in;
  • be linked to a plan for the transition to a positive outcome after AE;
  • have an indication of what the young person wants to achieve in AE and what they want to achieve in the future education and/or employment.
  • There are processes in place for inducting students into the provider
  • The school and provider guide the student into AE, this includes letting the student know what is expected, welcoming the student,

Transition from AE to positive outcomes

  • The exit transition from AE is back to mainstream education, school-based training (Gateway), tertiary training or employment
  • the student’s whanau/family or caregivers are involved in the development of the exit plan and are clear on how they will support the student’s future development
  • the transition includes strategies for supporting the student to succeedthese strategies must be realistic, considered and likely to be effective
  • the exit transition includes clear roles and responsibilities for the student and those supporting the student after they leave AE
  • the exit transition involves support from external agencies as required (for instance for any ongoing health and welfare issues)
  • the exit transition is based on the progress students have made in AE

Schools and providers working in partnership


  • AE providers and schools keep a student linked to school social, sporting, pastoral care and support, and cultural activities as is appropriate
  • the enrolling school newsletters, publications, ID cards are provided to the student while at AE
  • as appropriate, the enrolling school makes links with Group Special Education and the AE provider to support the learning and progress of individual students
  • the enrolling school and AE provider work in partnership to resolve any behavioural, learning or attendance issues posed by students
  • the enrolling school and provider work with external agencies to resolve issues for students
  • personnel from the school and the provider work together to discuss student learning and progress
  • teachers from the enrolling school supporting their colleagues in AE with advice, guidance or resources (and vice versa) both academic and pastoral

Monitoring and evaluating the progress and achievement of students in AE

Monitoring academic achievement

  • student achievement information is regularly provided to the school board and leadership (for instance monthly)
  • enrolling school leadership makes visits to the providers to collect anecdotal and observational information regarding student performance
  • enrolling school representatives attend any reviews of a student’s IEPs

Monitoring social progress

  • student attendance information is provided to the enrolling school (this information needs to be timely to allow the enrolling school to respond to any issues)
  • student behaviour and engagement is reported to the enrolling school regularly and/or as is necessary

Evaluating student performance

  • The enrolling school uses achievement information to make judgements about the student’s eventual transition
  • The information on student performance is used to reconsider a student’s place in AE if required

The performance of providers

Direct evidence of performance

  • self-reviews carried out by the provider and/or evaluations undertaken by the managing school. These evaluations should include:data and analysis on student academic achievement;
  • an overview of the programme with evidence about which aspects have been effective and which have not;
  • an overview on the quality of teaching, including the qualification status of staff;
  • next steps for improving the quality of education;
  • next steps for improving the quality of support for students;
  • information which accurately portrays the financial position of the provider;
  • an overview of how the provider is performing against key policies for personnel management, health and safety etc
  • enrolling schools make visits to the providers to collect anecdotal and observational information regarding student performance and any issues affecting teaching and learning
  • informal/anecdotal reports from managing schools about the performance of providers

Indirect evidence of performance

  • effective protocols are in place to manage the relationship between enrolling and managing schools for the benefits of students
  • the enrolling school receives student evaluations and feedback;
  • the enrolling school receives information on student attendance at AE;
  • any documentation about student progress and achievement (such as plans, IEPs, reports and so on) the school receives from the providers.