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

Accredited Learning

In addition to GCSEs and Functional Skills exams, Spaghetti Bridge students are offered a number of accredited occupational qualifications. These include NCFE Enterprise Skills, Business and Enterprise, and Occupational Studies for the Workplace qualifications and AQA Project Qualifications

Preparation for and Pathways to Adulthood

The unique nature of Enterprise Learning, with its focus on real-world learning, community activities, Industry Experts, Driving Questions, the experience of work-environments, and a project-oriented curriculum, means that students are prepared for life beyond school throughout their time at a Spaghetti Bridge school. All students are also provided with Independent Advice and Guidance throughout their Spaghetti Bridge journey.

However, as they approach the time of their transition to a post school destination, it is important that our students’ curriculum begins to focus more on deciding and preparation for a specific post-school destination through our “Pathways to Adulthood” programme. While each student’s wider curriculum continues, the Pathways to Adulthood programme focuses on students’ development of specific skills and knowledge in the areas of Continuing Education and Employment and Independent Living. At this stage, each student also has a transition plan that details the steps needed to successfully transition to their life after leaving school.

PSHE, SMSC, RSE and FBV

The Spaghetti Bridge Three Phase curriculum and our Relational Approach ensures that PSHE, SMSC, RSE, and FBV are integrated throughout each student’s curriculum in an individualised and student-centred manner. In addition, we have developed a yearly PSHE and RSE curriculum, consisting of termly and weekly themes, a bespoke target cache, and group and individual sessions.

In order to ensure that our students develop their cultural capital, each school has a cultural calendar which links PSHE and SMSC themes to events and activities in their community.

Mathematics

Mathematics is about so much more than simply getting the answer right. Instead, we believe that mathematics can facilitate a new perspective on the world and foster creative and analytical thinking, a growth mindset, and confidence in one’s ability to learn. Therefore, our mathematics curriculum contains three areas: mathematical content, mathematical thinking, and mathematical mindset.

Mathematical content consists of the twelve areas of learning that form the conceptual structure of a mathematics curriculum.

Mathematical mindset is about how students relate to mathematics, are resilient in the face of mathematical challenges, view themselves as capable of mathematics, and see mathematics in a positive light.

Mathematical thinking is the way in which students use logic, reason, and divergent thinking to solve mathematical problems and how they apply their mathematical learning across the wider curriculum.

Spaghetti Bridge schools deliver mathematics both as part of Enterprise Projects and through discrete mathematics sessions. We believe in teaching mathematics across the curriculum as a key part of all subjects.

Spaghetti Bridge schools do not follow the National Curriculum in literacy, but instead have adapted this curriculum into our Mathematics Pillar, which allows us to assess, plan, scaffold and sequence each student’s individualised curriculum.

All students have the opportunity to pursue accredited mathematics outcomes, including GCSE and Functional Skills exams.

Spaghetti Bridge has developed our approach to mathematics through collaboration with the Jurassic Maths Hub.

Literacy

At Spaghetti Bridge, we want our students to have a love of reading, the ability to understand and manage information, and communicate effectively. Our literacy curriculum contains content in five distinct areas: comprehension, word recognition, speaking and listening, spelling, punctuation and grammar, and writing. These content areas are supported by a vibrant reading culture and the fostering of a learning mindset.  Literacy is delivered throughout the curriculum, is embedded in Enterprise Projects and is integrated into all subject areas.

Each student has an individualised Reading Plan linked to their relationship to reading.

Our literacy programme is supported by a comprehensive phonics programme based on the Ruth Miskin Trust Fresh Start programme. For students on a phonics programme, their phonics is delivered through a bespoke curriculum, which may consist of 1:1 sessions or be integrated into their wider learning.

Each school has a termly reading curriculum that is linked to the wider curriculum map with links to the PSHE curriculum and the Driving Question for the term.

The Spaghetti Bridge literacy curriculum provides opportunities for accredited learning, including GCSE and Functional Skills exams.

Spaghetti Bridge schools do not follow the National Curriculum in literacy, but instead have adapted this curriculum into our Literacy Pillar, which allows us to assess, plan, scaffold and sequence each student’s individualised curriculum.

Spaghetti Bridge has developed our literacy curriculum in collaboration with the Cornerstones English Hub and the Right to Read Programme.

EHCP Outcomes

Every student at Spaghetti Bridge Schools has an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) and this forms an integral part of their curriculum. Our schools take a student’s EHCP outcomes and break these down into achievable termly targets as part of each student’s Individual Learning Plan. These targets are then integrated into the student’s projects and wider curriculum and assessed on a termly basis.

A Knowledge Rich Curriculum

Children and young people today have inherited a world in which they have access to more knowledge than ever before; however, the knowledge curriculum is often delivered without context or sense of purpose. We have instead designed our knowledge-rich curriculum using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy to support students to not just gain but apply and create knowledge. Our curriculum map covers the subjects of science, human and social, creative and aesthetic, physical, and technology and design education, with termly topics in each area. The curriculum spirals every three years, ensuring that students revisit and build on prior learning through a sequence of three progressive tiers of knowledge for each topic.

This curriculum structure allows us to build individualised pathways for each student that support ambitious progress across the curriculum in line with their individual strengths and needs.

Skills and Understandings

In addition to our knowledge curriculum, our pillars also focus on skills and understandings. Skills are specific abilities that are linked to a particular subject and understandings concern the role that a specific subject plays in our world. Our skills and understandings are sequenced vertically and horizontally as part of our curriculum map and built into Enterprise Projects.

Enterprise Projects

As much as possible, our curriculum is delivered in the form of Enterprise Projects. In these projects, each student creates a piece of Beautiful Work of which they are proud. The projects are oriented around a shared Driving Question, which makes them meaningful, and are completed through Project Steps, such as brainstorming, creating models, doing field work, and presenting to the community. Projects are supported through collaboration with Industry Experts, who are professionals within a particular field and support our students to complete their Beautiful Work according to industry standards.

It is helpful to look at Enterprise Projects as the vehicle through which learning is delivered. For example, in designing and building a garden, students can learn any number of topics, such as botany, engineering, mathematics, etc. Reading is woven into projects through such steps as researching. Projects also enable students to work toward their EHCP outcomes by enabling any number of areas of learning, such as teamwork and cooperation, emotional resilience, executive functioning, and creative thinking.

Enterprise Projects give students a sense of purpose in their learning and build strong connections with their community, both within and outside the school.

The Three Phase Process

Our curriculum is structured by the Three Phase Process, which allows us to adapt each student’s programme to their current level of need and sequence all future learning.

Overcoming Barriers – students develop their sense of trust, belonging, self-image as a student, and sense of their own potential.  

21st Century Skills – each student’s curriculum broadens to focus more on the skills, knowledge and understandings that will enable them to thrive in the 21st century. 

Becoming Community Ready – the student’s curriculum prioritises more the steps that need to be taken in order to successfully transition to their life beyond school.

The Three Phases Process ensures that each student’s curriculum is individualised and ambitious and that they are supported and challenged at the appropriate level on the way to becoming themselves and changing the world.

The Three Phase Process

Our curriculum is structured by the Three Phase Process, which allows us to adapt each student’s programme to their current level of need and sequence all future learning.

Overcoming Barriers – students develop their sense of trust, belonging, self-image as a student, and sense of their own potential.  

21st Century Skills – each student’s curriculum broadens to focus more on the skills, knowledge and understandings that will enable them to thrive in the 21st century. 

Becoming Community Ready – the student’s curriculum prioritises more the steps that need to be taken in order to successfully transition to their life beyond school.

The Three Phases Process ensures that each student’s curriculum is individualised and ambitious and that they are supported and challenged at the appropriate level on the way to becoming themselves and changing the world.