Providing students with a brighter future


Young people from Sunderland, South Tyneside and Durham deserve an education that prepares them for life and for work so that they can earn and contribute to their communities. The Beacon of Light School will operate an admissions process that supports mainstream schools and local authorities to accommodate those youngsters who are in need of alternative educational provision and who would benefit from an alternative learning placement.

The young people who attend the Beacon of Light School in the main will be dual registered and so they will remain on the roll of their host school or academy. The Beacon of Light School will work in partnership with commissioning organisations (schools, academies, local authorities) to ensure that those young people admitted to the provision can benefit through improved outcomes, re-engagement, focus and renewed aspiration as a result of a clear pathway for the future.

Carefully planned transition, curriculum continuity and appropriate re-integration will be features of admissions to the Beacon of Light School.

Whilst being its own admissions authority, the Beacon of Light School will work closely with the local authorities so that it operates in a way that is consistent with the Admissions Code and all local arrangements and protocols including Fair Access and Managed Moves.

Number of Places

Placements can be short-term, or long-term dependent on the needs of the young people. For students in Year 9, 10 and 11 the standard provision will be a 12 week full-time placement, but all will have access to longer term placements via a re-referral process at the end of each 12 weeks. When fully open in 2019 the academy will offer 80 full time equivalent places (made up of long and short-term places). In 2017/18 it will offer a maximum of 40 places, divided into 16 places at KS3 and 24 places at KS4.

Post 16 Admissions

Currently there is no post 16 provision at the Beacon of Light School.

Registration arrangements

Students remain on the roll of their commissioning school and will be dual registered at the Beacon of Light School during their time here.


Age Range and Referral Arrangements

The Beacon of Light School will cater for students in the age range 13-16 in years 9, 10 and 11. A place at the school will be at the request of the commissioner (school, academy or local authority).

Referral Processes

The Beacon of Light School will accept direct referrals from commissioners who have purchased places and will report to the local authority and headteacher/principal associations on trends and take-up of places. All placements will be reviewed at six-weekly intervals via a written report and contact with commissioners and parents. Places will be commissioned by local authorities and secondary schools/academies in the area.

Local Authority commissioners

When the commissioner is a local authority, it will be purchasing places at the school. The contract agreement will be negotiated and drawn up to provide a number of places under an agreed Service Level Agreement. The Agreement will set out the obligations of the school, the commissioning authority and the child’s host school/academy so that all parties are clear about: what will be delivered; how; when; at what price; the responsibilities of the parties to the agreement to maintain the highest level of support to the child; and what monitoring arrangements will be agreed to review the contract performance. The school will seek and welcome contractual arrangements with key local authorities proximal to the school. The contract monitoring review process will be on a six weekly basis in agreement with the commissioner. The school will collate demographic and outcome data gathered in relation to the students’ needs, attendance, academic performance and behavioural presentation in the school. This will be reviewed jointly with the local authority commissioner on an agreed schedule.

School and academy commissioners

The school will also provide similar contracting procedures for individual schools and academies.

Managing the referral process

The initial referral process will be managed directly by the Senior Leadership Team and will involve discussions with the commissioner, the young person and parents/carers. The referral process will be managed as follows:

Referral will be made by the commissioner providing the following information:

  • Completion of the Beacon of Light School Student Referral document which will capture basic information including that of the student, family and academy / school 
  • Completed learner’s profile including strengths and areas of concern
  • Copies of Behaviour Plans, IEP’s/EHC Plans and their impact and/or progress

Students supported by the school

As a guide to commissioners, the school will specialise in supporting children and young people where assessments and supporting evidence clearly demonstrates the child/young person:

  • Has one or more areas of significant concern where disaffection with mainstream education is evident (habitual school refusers, non-attendance as the result of school phobia, emotional and behavioural difficulties that have seriously impeded school attendance);
  • Where evidence suggests early intervention can have immediate impact and child/ young person is back on track (outreach/short/part time placement is deemed appropriate);
  • Where evidence suggests appropriate Behaviour Strategies and Plans are not having a positive impact and there is evidence of acceleration in the nature and/or frequency of the incidences of inappropriate behaviour;
  • Where the child/young person has a statement of Special Educational Needs or a Statutory Education, Health and Care Plan which names the AP Free School;
  • Is at risk of exclusion from mainstream academies or schools
  • Has been excluded from mainstream academies or schools and is being referred prior to PRU placement by the local authority

Assessment/induction process

Initial assessment processes will be agreed with the commissioners to ensure that they are robust, appropriate and directly related to the programme. All details will be recorded as a student referral record which will include progress in English and Maths and detail of the curriculum that will meet the need of the young person. In all instances, this will include the vocational opportunities and/or personal development that is suited to the individual young person. Targets will be agreed and this document will form the basis of the monitoring of the young person’s progress.

Where a young person has a Statement of SEN or Education, Health and Care Plan, the Beacon of Light School will ensure that the programme is consistent with the Statement or Plan and that all statutory processes are followed. There will be a stated Local Offer.


Commissioners (schools, academies and local authorities) will provide top-up funding to cover the total cost of provision. This top-up funding is based upon the student’s assessed needs and the cost of meeting those needs in the school, and will come from the local authority or school/academy that commissions the place. Prior to agreeing a referral the school will agree the level of top-up funding with the commissioner. The top up funding for each KS3 FTE place for one year will be £6,000 per place. At KS4 the top up funding for one year will be £6,500 per place. In addition to this, eligible FSM students will be costed at £10 per week for the duration of their stay at the Beacon of Light School.



For commissioners who have secured places at the Beacon of Light School, a student referral will be confirmed with the commissioner. This communication will include any additional financial requirements (FSM funding), the support to be offered, a swift start date (within 2 weeks), and a date for the initial induction meeting to take place. When the offer is discussed, if the commissioner fails to accept the place by the due date, it will be assumed that commissioner no longer wants the place and the offer will be withdrawn.

Where, because the school is full, a placement cannot be agreed with a commissioner, the commissioner should set out in writing why the placement is requested and the Principal must reply to this within 14 days. If there is no resolution at this point the Commissioner can request an immediate review from the Trustees (Governing Body) of the Beacon of Light School. Cases will then be heard by at least 3 persons unconnected to the school within 20 days of the appeal being received. A decision will be notified within 5 working days of the hearing. who will communicate their decision in a formal response to the commissioner and the Governing Body of the commissioning school or academy.

Trustees (Governing Body)

The Trustees (Governing Body) have established an Admissions Panel committee to oversee all admissions to the school to ensure that statutory responsibilities are adhered to, that agreed protocols are followed and that principles of fairness and equity are adhered to. This committee will also oversee any disputes with commissioners with regard to placements at the Beacon of Light School.


This policy will be reviewed annually and any amended policy for the following September will be published on the website before the end of the preceding September (i.e. the policy for 2018 referrals will be published in September 2017). The policy will remain on the website throughout the school year.

Equal Opportunities

The school is committed to equal opportunities and admits students across the full spectrum of academic abilities. All students have equal access to the curriculum and there is a learning support programme for students with special needs.


Any objections to this policy or its application should be raised with the school through its normal complaints process which is published in the Compaints Policy on the school’s website.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution, they are able to complain to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) at

Links to other Policies and Guidance

This policy should be read in conjunction with other policies and documentation published including:

  • SEND Policy
  • Commissioner Guidance
  • Reintegration Policy
  • Equal and Diversity Policy
  • Assessment, Recording and Reporting Policy
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Complaints Policy


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