All maintained schools are required to teach the national curriculum. However, this requirement does not extend to academies, pupil referral units and pupils educated in contracted alternative provision. Academies are frequently established in areas of disadvantage where schools and their communities face multiple barriers to success. Pupil referral units and alternative education providers arrange education for pupils who are unable to attend mainstream or special schools for reasons such as exclusion, medical needs and awaiting a school place. However, academies, pupil referral units and alternative education providers are expected to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, tailored to meet the particular needs of their pupils.
We remain committed to ensuring that all pupils in state sector schools, including in academies and pupil referral units, receive a curriculum that fully meets their needs. Academies established after July 2007 are required to follow the national curriculum programmes of study in the core subjects of English, mathematics, science, and information and communication technology. We plan to publish guidance early next year which sets ambitious and unequivocal expectations that the vast majority of pupils in pupil referral units or other alternative provision should receive a full-time education that includes at least functional English, maths, ICT and personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE).