1st choice of state when no statement

(8 Posts)
happyfrogger Mon 20-Jan-14 16:41:37

We are starting to research both state and independent schools for DD
(21m) and DS (4m) in Surrey.

DD has a moderate hearing loss in both ears since birth. We have
fantastic NHS & LEA support with a speech therapist and teacher of the
deaf. She tracks well as per her hearing peers and at this point there
is no evident delay to her speech & language. She wears hearing aids.

She may or may not get a Statement. Furthermore, statements are in
flux and may be structured differently in a couple of years.

My question is whether anyone with a school aged child who has a
similar sensory loss and hasn't got a statement because they are
considered to be 'coping well enough' can tell me there experience
with getting into preferred state schools. Does it make any difference
at all? (she gets DLA). We would want to make a case for a school
with all the usual proven results (ie the hugely popular ones) but
also in her case smaller class sizes, low ceilings, well soundproofed
rooms all make a dramatic difference. Are we further up the priority
list if we are not in catchment?

Our teacher of the deaf can't give me any information so in just
trying to get a feel for anecdotal experiences at this point. This
influences out choice of state vs independent and consequently where
we move to!

TIA.

happyfrogger Mon 20-Jan-14 16:42:03

Also posting in sen

prh47bridge Mon 20-Jan-14 17:11:52

It will only make a difference if the school has an admissions category for special medical needs or similar and you are able to justify (with expert evidence) that her hearing loss means she needs to go to the school in question. There is no automatic increased priority for children with disabilities.

mummytime Belgium Mon 20-Jan-14 17:23:06

The son of a friend of mine went through mainstream schools in Surrey, he is deaf (after Meningitus), he has done very well. His Primary has large classes (over 30 for KS2) but teacher's use microphones and the classrooms were designed for low noise etc.
There is one primary that I believe has a unit for those with hearing problems, it does great work, although isn't one of the most sought after schools.
I really think you need to go and visit and talk to the schools. For KS2 you would have pretty reasonable grounds for appeal.

tiggytape Mon 20-Jan-14 18:34:53

Does it make any difference at all? (she gets DLA). We would want to make a case for a school with all the usual proven results (ie the hugely popular ones) but also in her case smaller class sizes, low ceilings, well soundproofed rooms all make a dramatic difference. Are we further up the prioritylist if we are not in catchment?

As prh says, without a statement you have no automatic priority. It is only is the school chooses to have a "social and medical" criteria. Most but not all schools choose to have this.

You will not get priority to a school just because it gets good results. The only priority you would get (if the school has the social and medical criteria) is for a school that meets her needs best.
If for example you lived near a school with a specialist unit supporting hearing loss but an awful Ofsted, you wouldn't easily be able to make a case for going to a school further away with great results and low ceilings. It depends on which school you are asking for, if they have medical criteria and how much evidence you can provide not of her disability but of how well the school caters for this as opposed to all other local schools.

geogteach Mon 20-Jan-14 19:08:41

Hi i'm in Surrey and have deaf DS1. He had no statement in primary and by the time he got one in year 6 secondary places had already been allocated, so statements have had no influence on his school allocation. I would think most schools should be able to cope with a child with a moderate loss, to be honest we didn't consider deafness when choosing a primary school (we didn't know he was deaf). DS started primary with a severe high frequency loss and his hearing continued to deteriorate, he only got a statement in year 6 to prepare for transfer as in his case this coincided with another period of loss that resulted in cochlear implantation.
In primary he used a radio aid and had support from a teacher of the deaf visiting a couple of times a term, and a TA who did some speech work with him a couple of times a week. To be honest he achieved well (top groups) I think he benefited from being at a local school with his peers and this was probably more important from benefits he may have gained from smaller classes or low ceilings.
Fell free to ask if you have any more specific questions.

happyfrogger Mon 20-Jan-14 20:39:28

Thanks everyone, this is helpful information.

Geogteach - I certainly agree that the right environment is often the local / peers, she's currently in a brilliant nursery which is mainstream and noisier than I'd like, but I like the staff, attitudes, style and willingness to consider her needs every day in a fun and exciting environment over a sterile school where she'll lack the social interaction which is equally important. No doubt it will be a delicate trade off!

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the information. I'll see if I can approach the state schools in the area to understand their experience if any with children with hearing impairments.

cory Tue 21-Jan-14 09:40:21

Find the state school with the most experience and the best physical environment.

Then get your dd's doctor to write a letter specifying exactly what her needs are: the type of environment, type of support etc (tell the doctor the kind of thing you need; they tend to have very limited experience of education and naively believe that all SN will be catered for). Attach this to application.

Slightly different experience, but we got dd into oversubscribed secondary because we were able to show that this school was the only one that could reasonably meet her needs (mobility impairment and chronic pain). She has never been statemented and LEA spokeswoman told us they do not statement for physical disabilities. What helped was having an exhaustive knowledge of all the local alternatives, what they could and could not do, and have a doctor's letter that exactly matched the requirements we said the chosen school alone could meet.

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