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Academy21 was established in 2011, since then we have provided an alternative education path to 1000’s of young people.

We work closely with the schools and local authorities who retain our services on behalf of their pupils. If Academy21 has been suggested to you for your child, or if your child is already studying with us, you may have some questions about Academy21, and how our provision works.

If you don’t find the answers you are looking for below, please contact a member of our support team on [email protected]  and we will be able confirm if Academy21 currently works with your Local Authority.

Frequently asked questions about Academy21:

What is Academy21?

Academy21 is the UK’s leading supplier of online alternative provision.  With over 12 years’ experience we are the largest provider of live, interactive, online alternative provision lessons in the UK.

What is alternative provision?

Alternative provision is best described as a place that provides education for children who can’t go to a mainstream school for a variety of reasons including illness, or behavioural issues.

Is Academy21 accredited?

Yes. Academy21 is accredited by the Department for Education under the Online Education Accreditation Scheme (OEAS). The OEAS inspection is a robust process examining all aspects of effective provision through interviews, lesson observation, record-keeping reviews, focus groups, scrutiny exercises and evidence reviews. There are 92 standards assessed across 8 categories. These cover everything from student safeguarding to the quality of teaching and curriculum, as well as school leadership. You can learn more and read our inspection report here.

How much does Academy21 cost?

All costs are covered by the commissioning school or local authority. Academy21 is a provision that is subscribed to by Schools and Local Authorities, costs will vary depending on the number of subjects a young person studies and the length of time they plan to attend.  Academy21 is not a provision that can be subscribed to by parents directly.

What does Academy21 offer?

We offer live, online classes delivered by subject specialist teachers who teach lessons via our online classroom to small groups of learners who will be logging in from all over the country. The classroom is easy to use and provides the opportunity for each pupil to manage their own level of interaction with their teacher, peers, lesson activities and content. Students benefit from tailored timetables, homework activities and tutorial sessions.

Are all Academy21’s classes online?

Yes, all lessons are delivered in line with each student’s personalised timetable through our online classroom (40 mins per day per subject) which can be accessed via their student hub which also stores all their lesson resources which are accessible 24/7.


How many students are in each class?

We keep our classes sizes small with a maximum of 15 learners in each class.

What ages and Key Stages does Academy21 teach?

We offer provision for children aged 13-16 in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (years 9 to 11) and in conjunction with our sister school King’s InterHigh also provide for pupils in year’s 5 and 6 and 12 and 13 (Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 5).

What subjects does Academy21 teach?

We have a wide range of GCSE and essential skills courses, to see the full list please see our curriculum pages:

I've heard some AP providers don't use qualified teachers - Are Academy21 fully qualified teachers?

Yes. All of our online alternative provision is taught by experienced, fully qualified (FQT’s), UK-based teachers.

6 tips to make Online Alternative Provision successful for your child

Establish a routine

Encourage your child to establish a routine and schedule for completing their coursework. This can help them to stay on track and develop good time management skills.

Provide a dedicated study space

It is important to provide your child with a dedicated study space where they can focus on their coursework without distractions. This could be a quiet corner of the house or a separate room if possible.

Encourage communication

Encourage your child to communicate regularly with their teachers and peers. This can help them to feel more connected and engaged with their coursework.

Stay involved

Stay involved in your child's education and offer support and encouragement. This can help to keep them motivated and engaged with their coursework.

Be aware of technical issues

Technical issues can arise when studying online, so it's important to be aware of these and have a plan in place to address them if they occur. We offer live technical during work hours.

Encourage breaks

Encourage your child to take breaks and get some exercise or fresh air during the day. This can help to reduce stress and improve focus.

Frequently asked questions for parents:

How can Academy21 help my child?

Academy21 offer a full virtual classroom experience, providing students with flexibility, pastoral care, and educational quality needed to get them back on track.  With real focus on their progress, re-engagement with their education, improvement in their attendance levels and a drive to equip with the skills to return to mainstream education in the future.


Academy21’s function is to work in partnership with Schools and Local Authorities, supporting students who cannot attend school – it is important to note, the child will still remain ‘on roll’ at their school and it is therefore the school’s responsibility to underpin the pastoral support and arrange for examinations to be taken.

As a parent, how do I go about accessing support for my child?

Academy21 deals directly with Schools and Local Authorities who have budgets for alternative provision.

Our best advice is to speak to your contact within your child’s school which may be the SENCO or Head of Year or Behavioural Lead.

If your child has been withdrawn from their school contact your Local Education Authority and enquire about placing your child with us.  If they do not have our prospectus, please share it with them it can be viewed online or downloaded here.

What qualifications can my child work towards at Academy21?

Academy21 provides GCSEs and essential skills qualifications. We offer regular reports on the academic performance of our students to both students and schools, which include their effort, understanding, interaction, and academic performance against subject standards.

We do not enter children into exams. The school in which the student is registered is responsible for entering them for any necessary exams, receiving their examination results, and having full responsibility for their academic outcomes.

As a result, schools are encouraged to provide feedback to Academy21 on attendance, engagement, and academic performance to support further evaluation. Public exam results for students who have spent time enrolled at Academy21 are available from the schools in which they are registered while accessing alternative provision at Academy21.

Does Academy21 support A-level students?

Academy21 can commission a A-Levels through our sister school King’s Interhigh. With a broad range of A-Levels to choose from King’s Interhigh can support and empower students to follow their passions and gain a solid foundation for a variety of higher education, training, and career paths.

How do I raise a complaint?

To raise a complaint please see our Compliments, Concerns & Complaints Policy:

In this academic year (2022-23) our complaints policy has been followed but there have been no formal complaints raised.

Can my child join at any time?

Yes. A child can be placed by their School or Local Authority at any time during the academic year.

If my child starts studying online, does that mean they can’t go back to a physical, mainstream school?

No, our aim is to successfully reintegrate any student referred to us back to a mainstream setting. However, where that is not possible, we provide a report which includes suggested routes of progression for their next academic year. This is made available whether they remain with Academy21 or move onto a different setting.

Will my child have to appear on camera?

No, your child is not required to appear on camera

Will my child be able to interact with teachers or other students?

The online classroom provides the opportunity for students to interact with their teacher through the chat facility and their microphone. Students can chat one to one with their teacher without other children seeing their responses.

Breakout rooms are used to enable small groups to interact whilst working on activities such as practical’s in our science classes.

Where will my child be when studying?

Students enrolled with Acadeny21 can learn from any suitable location where they have a broadband connection and computer. This is usually from their home or school, or it could be at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), AP setting or other learning centre.

Linda talks about the impact of Academy21 on her daughter's education