Frequently Asked Questions

We want to make choosing the right school a little easier and regularly receive queries around the same topics. In order to assist as many families as possible we include our most frequently asked questions here. 

The Children and Families Act 2014 is a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that focuses on improving services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), as well as their families. One significant aspect of the Children and Families Act is the introduction of Education, Health, and Care Plans (EHCPs), which replaced the previous system of Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) in England and Wales.

An EHCP is a legal document that outlines the support a child or young person with SEND needs in order to achieve their educational goals. It is a comprehensive plan that covers not only educational needs but also health and social care needs. EHCPs are designed to be person-centered and involve input from the child or young person, their parents or carers, educational professionals, health professionals, and social care professionals.

The EHCP process involves assessment, planning, and review stages:

  • Assessment: This involves gathering information about the child or young person’s needs and consulting with relevant professionals and stakeholders.
  • Planning: Based on the assessment, an EHCP is drafted, outlining the child or young person’s needs, desired outcomes, and the support required to achieve those outcomes. This plan is developed collaboratively with input from all relevant parties.
  • Review: EHCPs are reviewed annually to ensure that they remain relevant and appropriate to the child or young person’s needs. The review process provides an opportunity to assess progress, make any necessary adjustments to the plan, and set new goals for the future.

The introduction of EHCPs under the Children and Families Act aims to provide a more holistic and integrated approach to supporting children and young people with SEND, ensuring that their educational, health, and social care needs are effectively met.

An annual review of an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) is a statutory process conducted review the progress and effectiveness of the support outlined in the EHCP for a child or young person with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The purpose of the annual review is to ensure that the EHCP remains relevant, appropriate, and effective in meeting the child or young person’s needs.

During the annual review process, various stakeholders, including parents or carers, educational professionals, health professionals, social care professionals, and the child or young person themselves (where appropriate), come together to review the EHCP. The key components of an annual review typically include:

  • Reviewing progress: The review assesses the progress made by the child or young person towards the outcomes and objectives outlined in the EHCP. This involves considering academic progress, social development, and any other relevant areas.
  • Evaluating support provision: The effectiveness of the support and services provided to the child or young person is evaluated. This includes reviewing the support from educational, health, and social care professionals, as well as any additional support or accommodations.
  • Identifying changes: Any changes in the child or young person’s circumstances or needs are identified and considered. This may include changes in health conditions, progress in learning, or changes in personal circumstances.
  • Setting new goals: Based on the review of progress and assessment of needs, new goals and outcomes may be set for the upcoming year. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Updating the EHCP: Following the review process, the EHCP may be updated to reflect any changes in the child or young person’s needs, goals, or support provision. This may involve amending the plan or adding new provisions.
  • Involving stakeholders: Throughout the annual review process, it is essential to involve all relevant stakeholders, including parents or carers, educational professionals, health professionals, social care professionals, and the child or young person themselves, ensuring that their views and perspectives are considered.

The annual review of an EHCP plays a crucial role in ensuring that children and young people with SEND receive the appropriate support and services to help them achieve their full potential. It provides an opportunity to monitor progress, address any concerns, and make necessary adjustments to support plans.

Most schools are controlled by the Government in some way, i.e. maintained schools which are controlled by LAs or Academies which are controlled by the Secretary of State. These comprise the majority of schools and other settings in England.

However there are also many schools which are not so controlled and which are broadly referred to as independent schools. It is worth understanding the different types, as these schools often have provision available for children and young people with SEN.

Spaghetti Bridge schools are inspected by Ofsted and all of our schools are rated good or better and we are supported by Local Authorities with our safeguarding responsibilities.

Families still have a right to state preference for placement based on section 9 of the Education Act.

Spaghetti Bridge also have in place rhythms of continued quality assurance to ensure that best practice is maintained and reviewed.

Parents or young people have a right to request the settings (maintained, specialist, section 41)  set out in section 38(3) CAFA 2014.

However, this does not mean that you cannot ask for and argue for a place at an independent setting which is not on that list.

Where parents are making representations for an independent setting, the LA must have regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure (section 9 Education Act 1996).

 If a young person is requesting an independent school or college, the LA should consider this as part of their duty to consider the young person’s views, wishes and feelings (section 19 CAFA 2014).

The difference is this: when a parent or young person requests a section 38(3) school or college, the LA must comply with the request unless the limited exceptions outlined above apply. If the LA refuses to name the parent or young person’s choice, the onus is on the LA to prove why it is not possible.

However, when a parent or young person asks for an independent setting as part of their ‘representations’ on the draft EHC plan, the onus is on you to prove that none of the schools the LA is offering can meet the child or young person’s needs, or that the cost of the placement will not constitute unreasonable public expenditure.

Public expenditure includes all the costs to the public purse of the placement, not just those incurred by the LA education budget. This can include social care costs, health costs and any other costs incurred by any public body.

If the parent or young person cannot show this, the LA is under no obligation to look at independent provision. It does not matter that the independent setting proposed is an excellent school and/or better suited to the child or young person’s needs than the school the LA has in mind. LAs are not bound to offer a child or young person with SEN ‘the best’ provision to meet their needs – only what is necessary to meet their needs.

In practice, the most important point to prove is not that the independent setting is better than the LA’s proposed school or college, but that the school or college offered by the LA cannot meet the child or young person’s needs.

Where a parent or young person is requesting an independent setting, they will generally need evidence from a professional as to why the independent setting is the only school or college which can meet the child or young person’s needs.

Additionally, there must be an offer of a place from the independent setting. Unlike the section 38(3) schools listed above, an LA cannot order an independent school to accept a child or young person.

The courts have considered situations in which an independent setting should be named in an EHC plan, and given examples of when a setting would be considered an unreasonable public expenditure. You’d find out about these in case law.

Where a child or young person is approaching a ‘phase transfer’ and are transferring between key phases of education. For example, nursery to reception; first school to middle school; primary school to secondary school or secondary school to post 16 education.

This may be an opportunity for your Local Authority to look at a change of schools for your child or young person.

It also may be a time that children and young people that attend a Spaghetti Bridge school may be asked for their next step and a local authority may make a change at this stage.

The deadline for EHCPs to have been reviewed, amended (where necessary), and issued for most phase transfers is 15 February. For transfers for young people from secondary school to a post-16 institution or apprenticeship, the deadline to review and make any amendments to the EHCP is 31 March

Claire Knight - Teaching Assistant

Passions

Family/grandchildren and netball

Work Passions

Seeing the students progress and achievements

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

I have had lots of years working in a nursery setting and wanted a new experience. Having a child at home with high needs I wanted to share my abilities to making a difference to other young people

Nadine Bidgway - Teacher

Passions

Playing hockey and going to the gym

Work Passions

Providing students with a fun learning experience

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Allowing children to thrive in a unique educational environment

Tracie Bond - Designated Safeguarding Lead

Passions
The Gym and binge worthy TV!
Work Passions
Working with young people to overcome barriers and make them smile.
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
Spaghetti Bridge is unique and so are we, a perfect combination!

Margot - Therapy Dog

Passions
I love long walkies and swimming in the river, but my biggest passion… cheese.
Work Passions
Being taught new tricks and being read to. Nothing better than having my tummy rubbed whilst listening to a story.
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
Because everyday is an adventure!

Dan Garbutt - Headteacher

Passions
Playing music, I play the drums and piano. One day I would like to get back to playing in a band!
Work Passions
Being creative. I am always thinking about new and better ways of doing things!
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
Challenging the status quo of the education system. I love being given the tools and the freedom to provide an innovative, sector changing approach to education in best interests of our students, to allow them to reach their full potential and to change the world.

Joe Karchud - Teacher

Passions

Guitar, singing, songwriting, recording and production. I also really enjoy the outdoors, spending quality time with my family, learning to surf, exploring different beaches, BBQing amazing food in all sorts of weathers and meeting new people.

Work Passions

My passion in work is finding alternative approaches to really making students think deeper & differently about things. Building growth mindsets, making connections, asking questions, taking it apart and seeing how/ if something works if we change up the method… Most of all, it has to be leading students on a journey to become ambitious, skilled and integral members of their community.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

I’ve worked with young people for nearly 15 years and my adventure has now led me into one of the most important parts of my career. I have found a fantastic company that is also on a mission to provide meaningful, experiential and purposeful education for kids that think so creatively and differently- that they disrupt the ideology of conventional education. Spaghetti Bridge activates staff to be ahead of the curve of what 21st Century learning should look like for neurodiverse, unique and creative students, so that our young people can aspire to lead successful lives filled with ambition, confidence and the skills to make a positive difference in the world.

Luke Curtis - Teaching Assistant

Passions

Football.

Work Passions

To give the young people the feeling of being included and wanted. To give them the best possible chance of a successful future.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

The alternative curriculum and focus and young people being community ready is a real drive to want to help in that process and be a positive influence on their future.

Bob Blaker - Teacher

Passions
Being outside, hiking, exploring and experiencing.
Work Passions
Sharing practical skills and seeing students become proficient and independent in using them.
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
The ethos, the community and environment.

Danni Del Rio - Teaching Assistant 

Passions
Eating out with friends, socialising, walking my dog.
Work Passions
Helping students to be the best they can be and to achieve their goals.
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
Mainstream wasn’t for me and I like the way we think outside the mainstream box.

Chris Fitzsimmons

Passions
Sports, family and dogs.
Work Passions
Making a difference.
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
I understand why they are doing what they do and just want to be a part of it.

Natalie Locke - Teacher

Passions
Running and Yoga
Work Passions
Building relationships with the students
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
For the holistic approach to education, which focusses on the whole person, and the culture of the schools. Everyone gets on with everyone and it is a lovely place to work!

Hannah Griffin - Teacher

Passions
How honest am I supposed to be? xD
Work Passions
I love working with our young people, they have all these beautiful personalities, and it’s fantastic watching them find themselves and start to put it to good use!
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
I believed in and related too the change Spaghetti Bridge was trying to create!

Tanya Bell - Relational Support Lead 

Passions
I love cooking and eating good food and drink; attempting to play the guitar (badly!), Millwall FC and my dog, Ted!
Work Passions
I am passionate about our students, building strong relationships and seeing them become more confident, finding interests they never realised they had and engaging in education.
Why Spaghetti Bridge?
Spaghetti Bridge gives an opportunity to teach and support every student as an individual, we are not restricted to basic subjects and can explore what our students are passionate about.

Staff name and role

Passions

I love to cook, create and experiment with different flavours in the kitchen… bake off here I come!

Work Passions

Helping the young people understand the emotions they experience throughout daily life and helping them overcome barriers to learning.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?
It is unlike any other school I have ever worked in, we are given the freedom to do what is required to enable our young people to learn and access their curriculum. I love the unique relationships that are built with each and every student throughout the school and every young person is treated as an individual.

Hannah Elizabeth - Teacher

Passions

Music, Singing, Performing!

Work Passions

Unlocking young people’s musical potential!

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Creative flexibility, no wrong answers, creative expression through hands on opportunities, potential to make a big difference to a young persons future

Kevin Symons - Vocational Lead

Passions

Hiking and wild camping in the great outdoors.

Work Passions

Offering alternative learning outside of the base rooms.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Spaghetti Bridge meets with my own passions, which I can pass through to others.

Andy Coulthard - Teacher

Passions

Getting outdoors! Eating out! Good beer!

Work Passions

Helping students to achieve their full potential.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

The ethos and enthusiasm of the staff team to get the best outcomes for the students.  

Kate McCarthaigh - Curriculum Co-ordinator

Passions

Art, music, creative expression and celebration.

Work Passions

Supporting young people in discovering their passion.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Because there’s nothing more exciting than a positive rebellion.

Rachel Cottrell - Teacher 

Passions

Cooking & knitting, but not at the same time!

Work Passions

Understanding the emotions of the young people I work with and how to support them to be in this world.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Where else? It fits my philosophy perfectly!

Fiona Clark - Teacher

Passions

Anything outdoorsy and active, good food and traveling the world!

Work Passions

Incidental learning: Anything outdoorsy, outdoor education, sports sessions, Bob forest time, cooking.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

The people, the passion, the vision.

Karen Marsden - Receptionist

Passions

Family, cooking, nail technician.

Work Passions

Making a difference to our young people’s day.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

The ethos of our school is all about the students’ wellbeing, care and happiness.

Keita Shirley - Relational Support Lead

Passions
Upcycling furniture and clothes. Wild swimming.
Work Passions

Cooking with students.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Because it’s a place that adapts to allow everyone to bloom.

Daisy John - Education
Co-ordinator

Passions

Oof tricky – gardening and visiting gardens.

Work Passions

From admissions perspective, speaking to and supporting parents who are lost and struggling through systems and processes that comes with having a child with additional needs. Forming relationships with students who are overcoming so many barriers to be in education.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

Easy – it’s student led and student focussed.

Elle Goddard - Curriculum Co-ordinator

Passions

Music, netball, family and friends!

Work Passions

Spending time and getting to know all of our learners to make a difference in their lives.

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

The learners, the staff and the unique approach to education is the reason I enjoy coming to work!

Mary House - Business Manager

Passions

The gym, followed closely by eating!

Work Passions

Making Silver Bridge School the best place to be for staff and students!

Why Spaghetti Bridge?

The students. The staff.