Referrals & Enquiries

Referral & Enquiry Procedure

See the process whereby a child’s admission to the Mulberry Bush School takes place by clicking here: Flowchart of the Process of a child’s admission. The document follows the progress from initial enquiry, through the referral stage and up to the point of admission. On the admission date there will be a ‘Getting to Know You Meeting’ attended by the child, their carers and the lead professional. We would then begin our assessment and expect the LA to liaise with us to arrange reviews.

Placement Request

Please download and complete the Placement Request Form
It may be useful to keep this document to hand as an easy reference tool if you are referring a child to the school.

We hope that the flow chart and notes are helpful, but if you wish to talk at any stage, please call Angus Burnett on 01865 300202 ext 228 or 07775 441730

The information we will need from you:

We suggest at the beginning of an enquiry/referral that people send:

  • Statement of SEN/EHCP plan
  • Chronology
  • Any relevant professional reports

At the early stages of a referral it is useful to get an overall picture of the child. The documents forwarded by the Local Authority (or any other referrer) should be able to help us decide on the appropriateness of the child’s referral to the Mulberry Bush. The sooner we are able to do this then either – the referral can proceed efficiently with the confidence that the child will be suitably placed or, we can let you know that the child may make better use of a different provision and, where possible, make recommendations. The documentation will also allow us to define indicators and contra-indicators for progress.

We do not expect you to send us all the information you have. We find that the most useful documents are usually:

  • Statement of Educational needs – the most recent copy with any amendments.
  • Chronology
  • Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist, Psychologist or Educational Psychologist reports –
    these are especially useful if they are recommending residential provision and provide
    the reasons for this. It can also be useful if they are also favourable to other forms of intervention. These papers provide insight into the child’s way of thinking.
  • Recent school reports.


At an early stage, we would expect the Local Authority to support the child’s parents or carers to visit the school in order to understand where their child may be placed. This will give the parents/carers the opportunity to have a thorough look around classrooms and residential areas as well as meeting staff to ask questions. It is hoped that this will allay some of the anxieties they may have and support the referral and admission. During the time that the child is in the classroom and house, the accompanying adults can either go off site and explore the local area or stay and talk to staff. If they are not already familiar with the school then the Local Authority will make arrangements to visit at around the same time as the parents/carers. Once a child has been referred , they may visit and during the time that they are in the classroom and house, the accompanying adults can either go off site and explore the local area or stay and talk to staff. These visits are as follows:

  • Preliminary visit – Lee Wright, our Director, visits the child at home to talk about the school and make an informal initial assessment of how the child will fit into the school; how they relate to people, how they might present themselves once at the school and how they will fit in with the child group.
  • First visit – two to two and a half hours. This visit will start at around 11.00 am and allows the child to meet a few people before having an experience of the classroom and lunch in Rainbow House. Usually, one of the children who sit on the School Council will help to show the child around and answer questions about the school.
  • There can be further visits including an overnight visit if this is thought to be useful and viable.


Admission will be at 11.00 am on an agreed date, unless pre-negotiated. On the day of admission there will be a ‘Getting to Know You’ meeting chaired by one of the Rainbow House Managers. This meeting provides a handover of the child into the care of the school and although it covers very formal ground, it is intended to take place in a relaxed atmosphere and help the child feel as much at ease as possible at such a big juncture in their lives. Travel arrangements Children’s travel to and from the Mulberry Bush for holidays/ weekends The children’s placing authorities are responsible for the transport of the children to and from the school.

  • Children being collected should be picked up from the School between 9.30 and 11 am.
  • Children should return to School between 2.30 and 5.00 pm.

Working Together

It is expected that the Children’s Services Departments will maintain a strong working relationship with School staff throughout the child’s placement in order to provide continuity for the child, a professional link with the home locality, and to ensure that any problems which may arise can be sorted out as quickly and smoothly as possible. We have a Referrals and Partnerships Manager – Angus Burnett, who oversees this communication at the Mulberry Bush from the initial enquiry through to referral and arrival. Whilst the child is at the school, the Therapies and Networks Team and the child’s treatment team will be working closely with the Local Authority and family. The child’s placement is reviewed by the School at least twice a year at Internal Case Conference meetings (ICCs) as well as at other meetings involving relevant School staff. Information from these internal meetings will be made available at Annual Education Reviews (AER) and Looked After Children (LAC) Reviews via the school’s Integrated Treatment Plan. AERs of children with a Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are arranged with the referring authority and are usually combined with the statutory six monthly LAC Reviews arranged with Social Services Departments. It is expected that placing authorities will provide transport or travel warrants for parents and/or carers attending such reviews at the School. If it is felt desirable or necessary, other network meetings will take place between reviews. For children in care to a Local Authority it is expected that a member of the School staff working with the child will be invited to attend case conferences or planning meetings. When setting dates for such meetings it is helpful if the Local Authority ensures that they are arranged for days and times when it is possible for staff from the School to attend. For the same logic, it is important that school staff are given adequate notice of any meetings. We very much hope that School staff who work closely with the child will be involved in the discussions and decision-making about a child’s future or about the child’s interests within the family. The School very much wishes to contribute to the planning for prospective foster placements and to be involved in the introductions and transitions to such a placement. It is also expected that the Head Teacher, Household Manager and Therapies and Networks Team member will be closely involved in issues concerning the timing and type of future education and care planned for a child about to leave the School. Plans for a child’s visit to a prospective new school should be made with the Head Teacher who, if appropriate, will arrange for a member of staff to accompany the child on such a visit. Some children spend a day a week in their prospective new school during their last term at the Mulberry Bush School. (See also below for transport arrangements.) It is our experience that children make more progress when they experience all those involved in their care working in strong co-operation.

The Mulberry Bush School


Our aim is to reintegrate all children placed with us into an appropriate family and school