WORCESTERSHIRE County Council has agreed to commission and consider different ways to provide alternative education throughout the county.

Alternative education is for children and young people of school age who for reasons of illness or exclusion do not access education through their mainstream school.

Due to recent changes in national policy, local authorities will become a commissioner for any alternative education provision that may be necessary instead of managing short stay schools.

The county council cabinet welcomed the proposed establishment of the ContinU Plus Academy, an alternative provision free school in Wyre Forest.

The proposed free school will be run by ContinU Trust, a charitable trust comprising of the seven high schools of Wyre Forest and Hagley and Kidderminster College, as well as trustees from Barnardos and the universities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

The county council is also proposing to seek permission from the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to cease alternative education currently provided by Forest Oak and The Coach House short stay schools, both in Kidderminster, from September 2013.

Conservative councillor Jane Potter, cabinet member for education and skills, said: "The corporate plan sets out the direction of travel for the county council as a commissioning organisation and at the heart of this new approach is how services can be transformed to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people.

“We are particularly looking to schools to form local partnerships to provide for pupils they might otherwise exclude as the best outcome for children is to keep them included in mainstream education wherever possible."