Has anyone had any success getting a LEA to fund a private school?

(54 Posts)
LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sat 20-Oct-12 16:44:32

Ds (13) is incredibly bright but has sensory issues and some social skills problems, which mean it's very difficult for him to work in a noisy/bright classroom. He's also a bully magnet due to this social skills problems. Moderate to loud noises/bangs are magnified, and he finds them painful and very distressing. He's also possibly dyspraxic. He's pretty much always been privately educated because the class sizes are small.

He's been in his secondary school for over 2 years, and was awarded a bursary when he started as I was forced to give up my job due to ill health. I was told this week that it was awarded in error, and there is no money for the bursary to continue. I have to now either pay the full fees myself, or move him. I do work, but I am unable to work full time and cover the fees, so we're stuck. I can't move him into a state school as he just wouldn't cope. Is there anyway that I can get help from the LEA? I know it's a long shot, and am prepared for the worst. He doesn't have a statement.

Thank you.

Fluffanstuff Sun 21-Oct-12 10:28:19

I agree ... every LEA has different systems their probably the only ones that can make it clear. Best of luck.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 10:35:39

Fluff The trip was a Geography trip to London docklands, and they basically walked around this area of London. He was told that he could take his scooter, but they decided that it would have been unwise. The last Geography trip they went on was to the peak district, and he ended up walking back to the coach halfway through the day as he was in too much pain to continue. They did start off accommodating his needs, but it's tapered off. I was about to make an appointment with his personal tutor. There are no TA's, any issues that arise are sorted out by his tutor. I don't think they will wait 18 months for the fees, they want this terms before Christmas or for me to move him. I'm so angry. I do agree about home educating, he needs to be around people and have the appropriate support.

Keep The school GP referred him last year to the community paediatrician where we used to live. She said that she didn't think he had aspergers, and referred him to a physio/OT for assessment. Unfortunately, by the time the appointment came through we'd moved (it took months), and they wouldn't see him as we were out of the area. I had to go to the new GP, who referred us to a new paediatrician.

IIjkk There is no other school which is small enough. It's not perfect, but he is getting support from his personal tutor and they all know him, so are more tolerant of his differences. He really can't cope with noise, he gets a headache and becomes very distressed as it's painful. It would be incredibly unfair to put him in this situation as he will cry, making the other children laugh at him.

Using I'll give them a call. There's a few charities that I've found online, so will look into these further first.

joanofarchitrave Sun 21-Oct-12 11:20:08

I'd agree that home education would not be anyone's first choice for your son, but in the circumstances I would put it above a school that is wrong for him. I personally think bullying does far more damage to a person's character and social skills than time on their own. When you go into a workplace you do so as an adult - quite different.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 11:24:28

My plan is to try and get the fees for his current school, if not I'll try the other private school if they have funding, if not I'll home ed. I work from home anyway, so if I'm ever in the position where I can return him I will. I've found a couple of charities that I can approach in the meantime.

It's going to have to get easier at some point, hasn't it? sad

joanofarchitrave Sun 21-Oct-12 11:51:58

I think it's got easier already - you've got a plan smile

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 11:58:14

I've been working on one since I found out. If there's a problem, you try and solve it. I'm trying to pick up some extra work, I don't think I can earn 7K between now and Christmas though. I'm very angry at the school about this though, they shouldn't put any family in this position.

joanofarchitrave Sun 21-Oct-12 12:12:55

Is there anyone else at the school who would offer lifts? You could pay back in other ways maybe - babysitting? That would be one bit of the costs out.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 12:21:37

The bus is £14 a week for both of us, so it's not overly expensive to get him there now. There's only 1 boy who lives here, it's a very small school. Ds doesn't know him though and he uses public transport.

joanofarchitrave Sun 21-Oct-12 12:28:25

It's quite expensive if you have £16 a week after the fees are paid... Does the boy use the same bus? Could they go together - they would soon get to know each other?

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 12:31:21

It would cost ds £14 a week to use the bus alone. He gets quite anxious, and falls into the road quite a bit so he rarely goes out alone. He really does need DLA, but he was refused as he 'can walk' (even though he finds walking very painful).

joanofarchitrave Sun 21-Oct-12 12:51:00

That's crap re the DLA - I would agree that having another go on that is worth it - bastards. Anyone would think they really don't want to award it...

I see re the transport. Really hope the school change their stance.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 12:55:35

He can't fasten tight buttons and has only just been able to use a knife. He can't always open bottle tops as they are usually on too tight. The kettle is too heavy, as is his school bag (so I carry it to and from school but he still gets a sore back). Walking is the most problem though as it's so painful.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 21-Oct-12 13:25:49

IS DS on school action or action +, does he have an IEP? The LEA will assume that all mainstream schools are able to meet the needs of DC without a statement. They will pass you on to Admissions - without a statement the same rules apply as to everyone else.

It is not the norm for LEAs to fund DC in independent specialist schools and the extent to which this happens will depend upon the extent of maintained settings there are in each borough and the needs of the individual child (and how long and hard you are prepared to fight). However LEAs do fund DC to attend in specific circumstances.

I think time may be your worse enemy as DS is already in year 9 and you would need to gather evidence quickly - which unfortunately may mean paying for independent assessments and reports (eg EP, SALT, OT, Developmental Paed etc).

Fluffanstuff Sun 21-Oct-12 13:31:43

He really should get DLA , I know a girl that got it because of severe asthma !! She was able to walk .
Don't get me wrong I don't advocate that your child should stay somewhere where he is getting severely bullied , and yes there is a difference between being an adult and a child , but our attitudes as adults are shaped by our experiences as children. If we are not exposed to situations and taught how to cope with them as children , we won't know how to as an adult either.

I do agree that bullying can be extremely harmful in many ways , what is the schools stance on this side of things ? I feel if you decide to home school perhaps investigating local charities or groups for people in similar situations , or an activity that requires some socialisation ( I don't know what your sons interests are) For instance I know in my area the local swimming pool has a session on a Friday night for young people with SEN. Run by understanding staff and a chance for them all to enjoy some company in a non judgemental environment (the rest of the pool is closed) Perhaps a couple of things like that over the week would prove a good 'in-between' I know a young chap who went , he sounds to have similar difficulties , was really shy etc. went for a few weeks met a couple of lads his own age and got along with them now they do other things together like a trip to the cinema and one of the mums goes and sits in the row behind.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 21-Oct-12 13:32:40

With regard to the DLA there is a guide to filling in the form (dont know the web address but it is published by Cerebra) specifically designed for parents of DC with neurological disorders that has been useful to others who were initially refused for the same reason (often with no or pre-diagnosis).

Fluffanstuff Sun 21-Oct-12 13:57:08

Also just had a thought , I'm not 100% but would the citizen advice bureau be able to help with anything in terms of money / sorting benefits etc. I know their level of crappyness tends to depend on which area your in but sometimes they come good ........ on increddibly rare occasions lol .... like christmas ...... or the sighting of a flying pig ................. or even rarer a head thats good at dealing with special needs.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 14:27:16

He did have an IEP when he started as he really, really struggles with PE/writing/getting up the stairs. I've heard nothing from them, and it seems to have dripped off as he's no longer allowed to use the computer to complete his homework and is no longer sitting at the front of the class for all of his lessons. The bullying at his current school could be avoided if he was let out earlier to go to his next lesson, I think most of it is because he's caught up in the traffic and he's the perfect height for elbows (he's small). I've read on here about a CEREBRA guide or something?

The CAB is a plan. smile

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 21-Oct-12 14:47:00

Cerebra guide try this.

IEPs should be reviewed ideally each term but at least twice a year. Does your school have a SENCO? Regardless of what plans you may have for the future from what you have said the school do not seem to be doing all that they can to meet his needs. IEPs are not supposed to just fade away - SMART targets are supposed to be set to measure progress. Organise a meeting asap.

OT appointments can take a long time but it is not necessary to be referred to Comm Paed - GP can refer directly. My GP tried to fob me off - wanted CP to decide whether to refer to OT - but referral pathway is clear.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 21-Oct-12 14:50:24

If DS has considerable problems with writing he should not only be provided with a laptop but taught to touch type, allowed to use recording devices, record information in different ways etc. There should also be provision made for examinations - use of scribe etc.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 14:54:49

Thank you. They do have a 'learning support' lady, ds has met her once. He has no provisions for exams, he's very bright so works very quickly but it does make his hands sore. The more I think about it, the more I can see that they are not meeting his needs. Academically he's underperforming (whilst achieving A/A*). confused

Iceflower Sun 21-Oct-12 16:24:49

Hello LadyMary, for what it's worth, this is what I would do:

1. Go to your GP and ask for:
- a referral for a psychological assessment by CAHMS.
- a referral to an Occupational Therapist
Be prepared to give your reasons why you think ds needs the assessments.

2. Apply for a statutory assessment and get the support of the school. If the LA agrees, your ds will be assessed by an Educational Psychologist.

3. Apply for dla. Your ds should qualify for the Care component, and perhaps the Mobility albet not the High Rate. DLA is awarded based on needs, and professional diagnoses are not required though helpful.

4. Look at state schools in your area and see what support they offer.

Good luck.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 16:50:43

I've no idea of the system here, but will ask the paediatrician tomorrow if he can refer ds to an OT and a physio (for the feet). Ds deniesthat he's anxious, he also denies that he has problems with social skills as he can't see it.

If I want ds assesses by an educational psychologist I have to pay for it unless he's at a state school. Our catchment one is dire (so are most of the ones here, they are the worst performing schools in the UK).

Stress!! Thank you smile

Iceflower Sun 21-Oct-12 16:59:24

If the LA agrees to a statutory assessment, they will appoint an EP to assess your ds; you will not have to pay.

It may also be that in your LA, you may be able to self refer to the LA Educational Psychology Service - look in up on on your LA website.

LadyMaryCreepyCrawley Sun 21-Oct-12 17:01:19

Oh, that would be very helpful. What would an EP look for though? The school know he's really bright, the last paediatrician ruled out Aspergers/ASD.

Iceflower Sun 21-Oct-12 17:38:49

Look at your LA's website for details of your Educational Psychology service. This link may be helpful (found from a quick google).

www.leics.gov.uk/index/education/going_to_school/edu_psychology_service/edu_psychology_guide.htm#contents

It is worth stating though that EPs aren't able to dx ASD. They will look at a child's strengths and weaknesses and recommend strategies. An EP report is an integral part of a statutory assessment and will play a major part in deciding a school placement.

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