Bridges Care and Education opens two new schools

  • 26th October 2023

Downing-backed Bridges Care and Education (BCE), a provider of specialist education and care, has opened two new independent specialist education day schools in Plymouth and Yelverton in Devon.

Chapel Bridge School in Plymouth city centre is a site that once formed part of the Royal Naval Hospital and has a capacity for up to 100 pupils, while Heather Bridge School in Yelverton has capacity for up to 60 pupils.

All children attending the schools will have an Educational Health Care Plan and be provided additional support applicable to the needs of the individual student and BCE stated it is working closely with local placing officers and commissioners.

BCE, which trades as Spaghetti Bridge, now operates seven schools in the UK and has partnered with Downing since BCE’s inception in 2020. In October last year, Downing invested £12.5 million to fund the acquisition of the sites, as well as their refurbishment into schools for children with a range of learning needs, including social, emotional and mental health difficulties, autistic spectrum conditions including Asperger’s syndrome and associated challenging needs.

BCE’s chief executive Dan Alipaz said: “Opening two new SEND schools in the Plymouth and Devon area is a significant milestone for our organisation and a crucial development for the education sector in this region. These schools will not only provide much-needed specialised education and support to children with diverse needs but also contribute to the overall growth and well-being of the Plymouth community.

“For BCE, it demonstrates our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and quality education. We are proud to play a pivotal role in not only expanding educational opportunities for children with special needs, but also to provide new and innovative educational models that give children the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for a rapidly changing 21st century.”

Torsten Mack, investment director at Downing, added: “The completion of the new schools in Plymouth and Yelverton marks the latest stage in the growth of BCE and strengthens its position as one of the leading providers of specialist education in southern England. It also signals a further development in our relationship together. The management teams’ focus on high-quality outcomes and their track record of opening and filling schools underlines the success of their approach.

“As a responsible investor, Downing is proud to be supporting BCE and making a difference in helping them to meet the growing need for SEND schools.”

BCE’s other schools are in Paignton, Taunton, Yeovil and Cricklade. An eighth school is due to be completed soon.

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