Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Should we move?

(43 Posts)
maxsanta Mon 08-Apr-13 14:31:29

I have name-changed for this.

We have had our life turned upside down over the last 4 years trying to fit DS (ASD) into the school system. He has moved school 3 times.

He is currently at a school 25 mins drive away in a different county. Although school are great, our LA is truly appalling. Lying, deceitful, vicious, obstructive at every possible turn. It also offers no ASD provision at secondary level so DS would have to stay out of county.

We are renting as we were going to move west a couple of years ago before he started his current school. We thought we would head west on the basis that we could afford a bigger house, maybe even a bit of land and a better quality of family life even if we would still have to fight for provision.

DS's current school is hugely helpful but he still struggles just being in a class. He is academically very able but is stressed out by the social environment.

We had thought of buying a house near the current school but prices are double what they are in our current location. So we started looking at houses here again. We saw a nice house and have today had an offer accepted.

However, now the chips are down, I am wondering whether and away from all the crap memories. We live in a small cathedral town and everywhere you go there are reminders of the schools we left behind and the battles we have had to fight.

Should we go for a clean break? A new start? Or is this just dreamer's talk?

Badvoc Mon 08-Apr-13 15:08:59

We moved house and LA for our son (9)
It has worked out well for us so far, but who knows what the future may bring?

used2bthin Mon 08-Apr-13 15:26:37

Just my experience but we moved to a more expensive area to be near our lovely mainstream school. However despite lots of support dd will need special school either next year or soon after and so area didn't matter so much plus dd2 and the fact dd1 attacks her means we need to move anyway as they can't share the room as planned.

So if you think your Ds will definitely stay at the school and it works for other reasons but I know I regret being so set on this area at the cost of a nicer, bigger house. I do still love the area though and don't want to keep changing gp, professionals etc so wish we didn't have to move.

maxsanta Mon 08-Apr-13 15:35:36

Thanks. I have fought so long for all the professionals DS needs to be in his life but the last year has shown me that this will continue to be a struggle as the LA will continue to undermine whatever they can, whenever they can.

The houses around DS's school are way beyond are budget - half a million pound houses. We can afford a decent 1930s semi here but I ask myself if we would still be here had DS not gone through a year of diagnosis and 2 years to get statemented etc and I think - no.

I also think he will either end up in more specialist provision or home schooled so what's the point? But this might be just flight after too much fight.

used2bthin Mon 08-Apr-13 15:49:45

Hard to say without knowing the options but is there another area that's managable for school but still cheaper? I go round in circles with it here too ( and there is a lovely 1930s semi on my road I want so much but can't afford so am probably a bit swayed by that!) but my regret is thinking more about area than the actual house which I spend so much time in.

maxsanta Mon 08-Apr-13 15:58:57

The whole area is really pricey as it is commuter belt to London so the school is just in the wrong direction! Also, who knows where DS will be for secondary school in a year's time. I'm not even sure I can get him back to school next week!!

We are further west, and therefore cheaper, here but we would still max out our budget.

If we go further west, we could get a much bigger house and garden but we would have to start again with provision.

We can't really wait either as time has flown by and we are now both mid-40s.

maxsanta Mon 08-Apr-13 20:58:34

Has anyone else moved before secondary? What did you do for transition?

used2bthin Mon 08-Apr-13 21:20:04

Oh dear I do sympathise as am so undecided about our situation. Thinking long term I suppose it depends on provision in the different areas, if there's anyone with children with sn who could tell you?

It's really hard to decide isn't it, I hate not knowing where we'll be and location wise our current house is perfect for all sorts of reasons( close to parents, near enough to hospital to be allowed home when sometimes we would be kept in if not so close etc etc)

AgnesDiPesto Mon 08-Apr-13 21:24:50

We have thought about moving at times but actually I can't stand the thought of having to start a new fight with a new LA. Our LA is awful but we won our ABA fight (for now) and I sort of feel at least this LA know we won't take any crap and perhaps may be wary of starting a fight with us about secondary. Whereas moving would mean we would be back to having to exhaust and fail at all the local provision.
So I think moving can work - or it could just turn into a re-run of fights you have already had and put you back to square 1.
If there was a HFA indep secondary school then I might move near there to have the best chance of getting in.
I do think once you have done the battle for secondary then if successful they will have to leave you alone for several years.
If present school will back you on secondary choice (more likely if its a different LA) then again that may be a reason to stay put. If you move to new area that LA may put pressure on school to give different views about transition.

We moved. We asbolutely had to though as our family name had been poisoned in the LA we were in and that venom would follow us and our younger children through time.

It's a relief. Even if it hadn't all worked out, we'd have homeschooled ds and it still would have been a relief to be out.

But our life and lifestyle is not what we'd hoped or planned. There is limited extra-curricular activities for our children. There are cheaper holidays and fewer days out. Our house is smaller than is probably ideal for 3 kids (one of whom NEEDS space). But honestly, our quality of life is STILL so much better.

But where we came from had to be escaped. If that is how you feel too, then move and don't be afraid to.

maxsanta Mon 08-Apr-13 22:27:18

Thanks. The secondary provision we were looking at is not near where we currently live either so we face a commute and I'm not even sure it would work for DS as, at the moment, I can't see how any type of school would work for him long-term.

So I don't know where to send him and I don't know where to life! I suppose I just want one thing right in our lives - a home of our own or a school that works for him.

I think if you have provision in place that is really working, it is hard to move. But we have a very good school but a DS who may just find schooling impossible wherever he goes.

Do we keep our lives revolving around him and his battle? Our youngest is really settled where he is too.

I am just so worried that we buy and end up having to move somewhere else anyway.

Dinkysmummy Tue 09-Apr-13 09:40:45

It sounds like a risk either way.

It's up to you face the known or the unknown.

I know that is not any help whatsoever sorry


It's a hard choice

Badvoc Tue 09-Apr-13 09:52:40

You could do what we did.
Sell up and rent in the area for a while.
It worked out ok for us, although we only rented for 4 months in the end.
It is a risk, but one we were prepared to take.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 09:52:59

Thanks. I suppose I just wanted to know I am not completely mad for trying to place the quality of our family life above all this SEN nonsense.

But then, perhaps I am fooling myself.

Yes. We rented for a year in new area.

We didn't want to commit, but be able to re-evaluate. May as well do that somewhere nice.

It's hard work, re-establishing yourself in a new place. making friends again and getting to know resources etc. But equally, it's a bit like a holiday too.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 09:58:26

I think it is that feeling of not knowing what the future holds that is so hard, no matter how hard you work to sort things out.

We are renting at the moment as well!

Badvoc Tue 09-Apr-13 10:00:24

It was a bit different for me as I went back to my home village so knew a lot about the area, people, schools etc.
In fact ds had already started at the primary before we many ways it was the catalyst, that and me being unhappy where we were (we also got judged like star) and also ds2 needing a pre school place.
It was then a case of finding a house that dh deemed acceptable! smile

Badvoc Tue 09-Apr-13 10:03:05

It is hard.
But that isn't ever going to change.
Our move has been great for ds so far.
He starts middle school in sept so who knows what may happen?
Whatever it is, I will deal with it when it happens.
I am done trying to second guess every stage of my child's life.
It's just too exhausting.
I am more confident than I was. I would have no problem home schooling again (but would prefer not to) I am not so easily fobbed off as I once was.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 10:04:51

Yes I have a massive label attached to me too!

We would be leaping into the unknown but it is an area we have always wanted to live in and I feel so tired to the constant drudge and treading water and feeling homeless as I don't know where to buy.

I do know what you mean. But you don't know what the future holds whether you stay or move.

I think moving is stressful because there is a lot of hard work in ensuring that the place you move to has everything you need to access. That means pretty thorough searching.

Probably the most stressful time of my life was the period when I was searching for an area to live in. It was mid-tribunal so investigating schools, likely catchments/places, distances from ds' potential school to be close but far enough away for transport, arranging viewings around dh's working hours and childcare. I suppose though it was horrid, it was time-limited stress due to tribunal (and impending birth) constraints.

Things appear to have worked out well and I'm pleased with how things have turned out which makes me pro. I also know that I was 'thinking' about it for a long time before it was kind of forced on us and it just felt too overwhelming to contemplate. I wish I had done it sooner.

Badvoc Tue 09-Apr-13 10:07:12

Me too.
I faffed around for too long.
But it's scary.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 11:16:47

I am coming to the conclusion now at I don't know if DS will cope with any school. I have spent too many years pushing a square peg into a round hole and he keeps on popping out.

No one really knows what to do with children like him.

Badvoc Tue 09-Apr-13 11:20:32

What is his dx op?

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 11:21:22


Badvoc Tue 09-Apr-13 11:23:26

Check out the tinsley house support thread part 3 (or better still read all 3!)

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 11:26:07

Thanks but I don't think that's for us.

I know exactly what you mean max. DS is in the school he is in as a safe haven, when we fled.

I am happy he is safe. He is learning some things. It is not the right place for him long term. I have absolutely no idea what would be. I think nothing.

We did all we did and made the sacrafices we did but probably we won't stick with the school. It seems crazy to come to that conculsion.

Though I still feel the move and sacrafices were worth it. Regardless of ds we HAD to leave iyswim.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 11:43:29

DS 2 loves his current school too and has already moved once for DS1.

I think if DS1 was just struggling a bit it might be manageable but he won't even go in class without me at the moment and seems to hate being with his peers. He is 10. I get the feeling this will not get better!

You know what. I would LOVE to start up a home-school group of 3-4 children like this. They are just so flipping bright and with targetted education could FLY. Instead they struggle trying to fit into something that is just not suited to them at all and which is actually pretty limited in preparing them for adulthood.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 11:52:52

Exactly. It would be so limited in terms of preparation for adult hood. He kind of needs to be 18 now really.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 11:54:42

I just look at what I could buy for the same money elsewhere and .....sigh!

mummytime Tue 09-Apr-13 11:57:09

I would suggest looking at the HE pages here as a start.
Do also look very critically about the area you would like to move to. How possible would it be to HE there? What facilities are there? What are the schools really like? (OFSTED, Google maps, visiting, asking advice here (NC if you want), NAS, any other gossip). If you find a possible secondary, do phone and ask to have a telephone call with the SENCo, even if it is a couple of years off - I am seeing a SENCO I know well about my DD next week to discuss, just to see if it is the right school for her.

Teenage years are hard!

Yes. I think that all the time. Give ME the money. I'll do it, and I'll do it better. In fact, give me HALF the money, because you know what? I'm doing it anyway, at MY expense and to the cost of my own income-generation. So add that to the total cost of his education.


maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 12:13:43

I know. The flawed system is geared up to pumping out the same provision via a TA of variable and unreliable quality and you have to be involved every step of the way.

I have home-schooled before so I am not fearful of that until he gets to secondary school level. Also, DS would not cope with the usual HE groups anyway, they would be as bad for him as being in school!

I understand that if you have fought for expensive provision which works for your child, moving is hard. But school jus doesn't seem to be working for him. Unless we try elsewhere - independent special? But don't see many of them for AS.

DS2 is a problem and the fact that DS1 does have some friends.

DS was rejected from this school for having ASD rather than AS.

I had a bit of an email row with the HT telling hime he was going to come rather unstuck when the DSM changed the dx criteria, and I was impressed with his willingness to engage with me in the debate which ended with an agreement to assess.

We didn't take it up because we'd shot off far down other roads but would this be an option?

AgnesDiPesto Tue 09-Apr-13 12:30:20

Set up your own school? Just kidding. But that's what Lighthouse parents in Leeds have done for secondary. And while it will have to conform to an extent it's parents saying we want a school that teaches my child life skills and employment skills and trains parents and lets children who can go to mainstream go for as much of the week as that's right but only for as long as its right. Move there and we can do lunch.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 12:34:39

London is too expensive for us but school looks great.

Agnes, very interesting. This is where I think free schools do have a place.

Honestly. I would LOVE to run a small school. Since having the time I have been doing it for my two (only consistently for the last month) and I am AMAZED at how much they can learn in just half and hour each a day.

And not only that, THEY beg me to do it, and are excited to show me when and where they can apply their new skills in real life.

If I had another one or two children popping in at a certain time each day I would be much more disciplined about it.

Yes that was another factor. Not being able to live anywhere near it and having a very long commute.

I suppose it is just nice to know that such schools exist. Pretty expensive too though as I think the therapies are on top.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 13:47:08

I find that locating the right school is a nightmare. Parental choice is no choice.

glimmer Tue 09-Apr-13 15:57:02

To come back to your opening question: I think renting for a year or two is the way to go (That's what we did, but for different reasons, mainly employment). Then you are free to move or not. But it might be a lot clearer what's the next step then. Wouldn't it also be easier to get a house, since you are not in a chain?

Flappingandflying Tue 09-Apr-13 16:56:05

I take it you are in the home counties? If so look at St Dominics school near Godalming. AS a speciality. Small classes and the same curriculum as mainstream. I would honestly go and look at independent senior special schools. The right school is out there for your child you just have to visit them to see. Also look at Sunnydown in Surrey. You probably won't get in but its worth a look. Have a mooch round a couple of Priory schools. There are two in Hampshire, southlands and grately. There is also a very good place in Frome. There are schools and there will be a better fit somewhere. Good luck. We haven't moved because once the LEA played ball we were too scared to rock the boat. Now we are moving into adult services, again, once you find 'golden people' in your area its hard to leave that.

maxsanta Tue 09-Apr-13 20:43:52

Thanks. We couldn't move Surrey wise as that would be even more expensive I think but I will look at the schools.

Glimmer - we are renting now and that is part of the problem. Do we buy where we are or move and buy elsewhere? We have had enough of renting and are getting to the age that it will be harder to get a mortgage if we go on for much longer!

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