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make an argument for an indy school?

(53 Posts)
HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 12:11:37

How does one successfully make an argument for an indy school, for a child, 10, HFA with "evidence of dyslexia" (we'll see what the independent EP report says, should get it this week) and sensory issues and social issues and language issues and 10 hrs 1:1 per week TA ?

She is statemented, it has taken us 2 1/2 years to get that statement.

Indy school fees alone are £9765 p.a. and at the mo, the core funding per pupil in our LA is £4278, statement notwithstanding (no idea how much money 10 hrs 1:1 costs but i doubt its 5 grand) ?

How do i make this argument, knowing that they will shoot it down on money alone?

lougle Mon 17-Feb-14 12:34:40

What will the independent school give that the state school won't?

nennypops Mon 17-Feb-14 12:36:59

You would have to show that the school nominated by the LA is not able to meet the child's needs whilst the independent school can, ideally by getting provision into part 3 which the LA school can't provide or which would make the LA school as expensive as the indy school, e.g. full time support, lots of therapies, therapists in the classroom, small group teaching, specialist dyslexia teachers etc etc. To do that, you will need strong evidence from an EP with experience of tribunal cases and, given dd's difficulties, you will also need good reports from a speech and language therapist and occupational therapist.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 12:37:51

15 in a class (not 30) (3 form so 45 in each year total) in upper school and a much better education.

In lower school, 12 in each class, 1 form entry, 1:4 teacher:pupil ratio.

Ideally i'd want both of my kids there...

The indy school HAD a reputation for being fabulous with HFA - moosemama knows something about the school. I dont know if the rumours i'm hearing about it lately are true or not.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 12:43:04

my eldest's statement has 10 hrs 1:1 in it and all the usual HFA stuff.

my little one's statement has specialist SLT in it, no hours quantified yet. still arguing with them on it.

they can cost up to £6000 more out of the school's notional SEN budget before the LA has to top anything up. I dont, unfortunately, know the exact numbers for what they do cost on top of the £4200 standard pupil cost p.a.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 12:45:32

We've got the EP report coming, we have the SLT reports from 2011 saying small class sizes etc, for DD1.

For DD2, we have her receiving SLT that the LA is currently paying for, and once again have reports saying she needs smaller class sizes, close support, etc. SLT wouldnt be needed at the indy school, its all in-house.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 12:49:32

the state school has fortunately unfortunately nearly destroyed their relationship with us by doing something absolutely awful back in October, which i can't talk about in public, but yikes.

so we may be able to use this to our advantage - the old school/parents relationship has broken down chestnut.

Sadly, the LA will jsut want us to choose another local mainstream - and they're all as shit as each other :/ none of them care about HFA or want HFA children (or their HFA parents) ...

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 15:18:38

ipsea say its the statement, it has to be made to show that only the indy school can meet her needs.

this will be jolly difficult to achieve, unless, depending on what the EP writes, we get the evidence.


ouryve Mon 17-Feb-14 15:47:19

You'd need to be able to demonstrate that a typical state mainstream school cannot meet her needs (and equally, that anything else the LA might offer, eg a unit/base or a SS placement - or a dual placement between MS and SS, for that matter - is also unsuitable).

PolterGoose Mon 17-Feb-14 15:47:44

No advice, sorry, but very good luck flowers

orangedog Mon 17-Feb-14 15:52:24

'ipsea say its the statement, it has to be made to show that only the indy school can meet her needs.'

yes - you have to prove that her needs can only be met by the indi school. So you need to identify very specifically what the indi school can provide that state school isn't able to and match each point to her needs. Otherwise LA will argue that her needs can be met in m/s.

Have you been to visit the school? They may be able to suggest ways in which they can meet her needs or you may see ways that they're supporting other children like dd that may help.

orangedog Mon 17-Feb-14 15:55:33

'Sadly, the LA will jsut want us to choose another local mainstream '

you are arguing that her needs cannot be met in m/s so they won't be able to suggest another m/s if you are able to successfully provide the evidence

They may well suggest another LA SS if you are able to successfully argue that her needs can't be met in M/S, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 16:09:49

she is far, far too HF for a special school. Or a base :/

But i dont think for one second she'll make it is a local MS academy with 1200 - 1400 students in it. She'll get lost, swamped and overwhelmed.

Yes, i visited them back in September and we all loved it !! . What i'll need to do then is, this week if i can, get in touch with them again and help outline EXACTLY what it is they can offer that ms cant, ie small class sizes, specific dyslexic teaching, SALT on site, and go from there.

Its a very tiring job, this one, innit?

I think we'll get rejected on the basis of money :/ £9200 worth of fees versus £4200 pupil cost to the LA in MS for 1 yr + her statement, which i have no idea how much it costs but i know its under £4k...

lougle Mon 17-Feb-14 16:10:45

Yes, basically the SEN legislation doesn't prescribe that a child with SEN has the right to the best or most appropriate education. It says that a child has the right to an adequate education.

To get the Independent school named on a Statement, you have to either convince the LA that your child needs the school to progress, or if you can't, show a tribunal that the only way your child can access an appropriate education is having a place at the independent school. To do that, you'd have to show that the MS schools or Specialist maintained provisions can't meet the child's needs, or that they can meet them but the child won't progress at an adequate rate there.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 16:15:00

Ah progress. Academically or emotionally/socially?

Not only is DD1 not progressing as she should do, academically, but socially she would truly be lost in a school with 1200-1400 students in it :/

"Adequate progress" doesnt have to mean academic, or at least it didnt. Who knows what September brings, hence trying to get this sorted now!!

lougle Mon 17-Feb-14 16:18:00

Of course not, but again, you have to prove that MS cannot provide the support she needs to progress in that area, not just that independent schooling would do it better.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 16:19:36

hmm. food for thought. Thank you Lougle.

I dont know how the hell i'm going to pull this together in a week, especially with this being half term, while we sit and wait on the evidence that will hold the key to whatever we can prove, but there isnt much else i can do until we get new evidence in our hands. Then we can start using it.

Cue me panicking slightly!

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 16:47:48

no one has ever said she has MLD, dyslexia doesnt count as MLD does it?

lougle Mon 17-Feb-14 16:49:50

No, it would be classed as a SpLD (Specific Learning Difficulty).

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 16:52:05

combined with HF ASD, we are definitely looking at mainstream schools, yes? I mean, that's where she goes now, with a statement with only 10 hours in it...

someone suggested a school made famous by ex-pupils from Benefits Street - i'm trying to rule it out because its too severe for DD1.

lougle Mon 17-Feb-14 16:57:10

Not necessarily - it depends what her needs are. The diagnosis doesn't tell you what her needs are, only the category her needs fall into.

For instance, a child who can't cope with being near other children is not going to manage in a big environment.

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 17:00:09

that's an interesting point... very interesting.

[rubs chin]

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 18:06:27

okay, so i've been through the list of schools in the LA and ruled out the other indy ones, all of the special ones, and most of the mainstream ones...

i suppose there isnt anything one mainstream can offer over another one except attitude of the staff? We found one locally that had a wonderful, welcoming attitude to ASD/dyslexia and they were lovely. They are not in the same LA as us though, so it would be weird but we would get it if we shortlist it, there's no issues about crossing the border or anything.

But even talking to the son of a parent with a child at the indy one, despite the troubles they've had recently, they still sound like the best place for DD1 despite the recent diagnosis of dyslexia.

I've got to keep trying to get ahold of their senco this week - even though its half term. Argh.

I think it is rare ...I'm not saying impossible as there are families on this forum who have achieved it.. to get LEAs to agree to independent school for children with HFA.

I work with children who have severe ASD and LDS (and extremely challenging behaviour) in a special school and it is still always a ridiculous fight to get other provision for them and that's when school says it can't meet their needs. It's all about the funding.

If your child currently only has 10 hours in their Statement then I seriously doubt they are are going to fund independent school! If said child isn't making sufficient progress then the next step would to be increase provision where she is!

It does sound a little (and apologies if I am completelyt wrong) that you are very keen to have your children at the independent school and are looking to meet the criteria without looking at it realistically;

Your DD is statemented 10 hours.. this small in the scheme of funding; The LEA are not going to jump from that to funding an independent school. If she isn't making adequate progress they may increase her hours.

You say the relationship with school has broken down. In that case yo would almsot certainly be expected to move to another mainstream primary as first action.

Is your daughter showing a lack of progress according to assessments? Have her NC levels failed to progress at the expected (for her) rate? If not the LEA will not take much notice.

Evidence of dyslexia in itself is not going to make much difference..many children can be accomodated perfectly well in state schools.

You HAVE to prove that her mainstream school (or the equivelent suggested by the LEA) can't meet her needs, not that the indepednent school would meet them better. Sad but true. Otherwise, let's be honest, most of our children with SN, would be in independent specialist schools!

Sorry, I can see this is horribly negative, (and have my own son with autism and would love top quality provision for him ) but having been at the statementing business for 10+ years here I know it's just not easy.

Good luck though !

HoleySocksBatman Mon 17-Feb-14 19:19:22

It does sound a little (and apologies if I am completelyt wrong) that you are very keen to have your children at the independent school and are looking to meet the criteria without looking at it realistically;

Well, its more that my husband wants this and thinks he can just speak and it will happen. :/

I don't want to deal with the current placements any more, no. After what they did to me, they're lucky i havent kicked off about it.

There is nowhere else locally despite there being several mainstream schools, neither child needs a base or a special school, and i am trying to figure out how to make everyone happy. :/

I know that DD1 would be happier in a smaller setting and that she will learn better in a smaller setting. She will come out with 8 or 9 GCSEs, not 5, she will have a better future, at indy. That much is inarguable.

She should be having 20 hrs 1:1. I let them write 10 in the statement just to get it finalised. The school had the TA full time for Y3 and Y4, and now in Y5 has backed off on it a bit. She should also be receiving SLT - and i let them finalise without that in too, in my desperation to get it over with.

I've been through 3 appeals already, and I dont know how much more i can take. I'm sat waiting almost 6 months for DD2's amended proposed from AR, because the LA can't be arsed to send it over, I've got an AR in a week for DD1 and no one has shared any paperwork whatsoever yet, and after the October thing, i'm lucky i didnt end up sectioned to be honest - nervous breakdown type thing.

So yeah. I am keen to get the fuck away from current mainstream school, no other mainstreams would be better, so i am trying to figure out how we can argue this, because husband wants it, and i know that he's right, it would be better for the kids all around. I just dont know if i can prove it.

I appreciate your post and thoughts.

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