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RAND Europe

NFER National Foundation for Educational Research

The IntegratED Programme

Key findings and lessons learned from a multi-year evaluation


Alternative provision settings are places that provide education for children who cannot attend a mainstream school for some or all of the time. Over 35,000 pupils attended alternative provision in 2021/22.1

Pupils who are permanently excluded (around 6,500 in 2021/2022) and suspended (over 578,000 in 2021/2022) are more likely to have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)2, more likely to be socio-economically disadvantaged3 and to be from certain ethnic groups.4

Exclusion and attending alternative provision have long-term negative effects, exacerbating inequality and social exclusion through unemployment5 and lower attainment.6

The need to improve the support and systems for these children and young people was recognised in the Government’s 2022 SEND Review.7

The Porticus IntegratED Programme aims to reduce preventable exclusion from school and improve the quality of alternative provision.

IntegratED Partners

Between 2019 and 2023, Phase 1 of the IntegratED Programme supported the work of around 20 organisations (IntegratED Partners) to deliver activities at the school, local and national level.

Programmatic working

IntegratED had a 'programmatic' approach to funding – bringing together organisations working on different aspects of the same problems, encouraging them collaborate.

Whole child development

The Programme promoted an approach to education which moves beyond the acquisition of academic knowledge to include cognitive, physical, psychological, ethical, social and emotional well-being and development.

Phase 2

Between 2024 and 2026 Phase 2 of IntegratED will support fewer Partners aiming to embed the key activities and programmatic assets developed in Phase 1 and ensure their continuation after 2026.

What did the Program achieve?

Program activities

National policy level

IntegratED partners engaged directly with national level policy and decisionmakers to raise awareness about alternative provision and exclusions and share evidence.

Local level

Partners worked to increase awareness of multi academy trusts (MATs) and local authorities about practices and policies that improved AP and reduced preventable exclusion.

School and classroom level

Partners delivered initiatives that aimed to improve teachers’ understanding of pupils’ holistic needs and schools’ ability to meet those needs.

IntegratED Partners' contributions and achievements

  • The roll-out of training and support to staff and professionals.
  • The creation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Exclusion and Alternative Provision in 2021.
  • The creation, and adoption by local authorities and MATs, of an Alternative Provision Quality Toolkit.
  • The impact of IntegratED Partners’ responses to the Government’s 2022 SEND Review.
  • The piloting of a system-wide approach to reducing preventable exclusions in a number of local authorities.
  • IntegratED Annual Reports

Pandemic challenges

The pandemic posed particular challenges for IntegratED Partners delivering in-school interventions.

Porticus supported Partners and encouraged flexibility and adaptation in response to COVID-19.

However, the Programme worked with fewer schools than intended.

Some Partners were able to implement initiatives aimed at improving teachers’ understanding.

Changes in practice at a whole-school level appeared limited within the timeframe of the evaluation.

Progammatic working in IntegratED: achievements and lessons for future funders and programmes

IntegratED supported a growing ecosystem of organisations, from different parts of the sector, working on issues related to exclusion and alternative provision. Some Partners felt that IntegratED’s primary achievement had been bringing diverse organisations together in this way.

By addressing issues of alternative provision and exclusion from many different angles, IntegratED successfully took a ‘programmatic’ approach. IntegratED supported activities at classroom, local and national levels. The Programme engaged a broad range of Partners with different kinds of knowledge and different capabilities. This diversity meant that Partners could work in complementary ways.

IntegratED Partners interacted, shared information and supported each other. Partners reported benefiting from sharing learning and expertise through programmatic working. For some Partners, IntegratED led to the development of supportive relationships with peer organisations.

IntegratED proactively engaged with organisations not funded under the Programme. This formed a broader IntegratED community. Over the course of the Programme, Porticus increasingly built relationships with a community of funders who might invest in similar goals, aiming to support philanthropic investment in the area.

Recommendations for other funders wishing to adopt a programmatic approach

1. When Building and planning a programme:

Reflect on the way that programme goals are framed – are they measurable? How best should assumptions or potential evidence gaps be acknowledged?

Identify who will undertake coordination activities within the programme, when these will happen and what they will involve. Set out how and why these activities are expected to facilitate programmatic working.

Take account of interest in and capacity to undertake partnership working when selecting partners.

Articulate explicitly how the activities of each partner will contribute to the programme goals, and secure partners’ support for this.

2. During a programme:

Ensure that partners have shared expectations of what programmatic working involves.

Allocate time at the outset of a programme for partners to interact and understand each other’s activities. Actively facilitate purposeful partner interactions at key points throughout the programme.

Support partners to understand how they might benefit from programmatic working, and allocate resources to partners for collaboration.

Ask partners to report on the contributions they make towards the programme goals, in addition to progress on the planned outputs of their individual projects.

1 Department for Education (2023) Schools, pupils and their characteristics Academic year 2021/22. As of 14 August 2023:

2 Department for Education (2023) Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England Academic year 2021/22. As of 14 August 2023:

3 The 2021/22 data show rates of permanent exclusion and suspensions were higher among pupils eligible for free school meals. Department for Education (2023) Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England Academic year 2021/22. As of 14 August 2023:

4 The 2021/22 data show Gypsy/Roma pupils had the highest rates of permanent exclusions and suspensions, Traveller of Irish Heritage pupils had the second highest rate of permanent exclusions and suspensions, and pupils with White and Black Caribbean ethnicity had the third highest rate of permanent exclusions and suspensions. Department for Education (2023) Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England Academic year 2021/22. As of 14 August 2023:

5 Madia et al. (2022) Long-term labour market and economic consequences of school exclusions in England: Evidence from two counterfactual approaches British Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 801–816.

6 FFT Education Datalab (2022) Long-term outcomes of pupils who experience alternative provision. As of 11 August 2023:

7 Department for Education (2022) SEND Review: Right Support Right Place Right Time. As of 11 August 2023:

Evaluation of the IntegratED Programme was conducted by two research organisations, undertaking separate but closely coordinated studies. NFER evaluated the work of the seven IntegratED Partners delivering school-based initiatives and pilots. RAND Europe undertook a Programme-level evaluation of IntegratED.

This document is adapted from Evaluation of the IntegratED Programme – aiming to reduce preventable exclusion and improve the quality of alternative provision by Emma Disley, Natalie Picken, Lillian Flemons, Emily Hutton (RAND Europe) and Kerry Martin, Eleanor Bradley, Megan Lucas, Caroline Sharp (NFER), RR-A2896-1, 2023 (available at To view this infographic online, visit

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Supported by Porticus

RAND Europe 2023

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This research was supported by Porticus and conducted by RAND Europe.

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