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We have to apply for secondary school ASAP, but no idea which to go for???

(5 Posts)
chuffinalong Mon 02-Nov-15 11:38:17

Hi, I'll give you a bit of back ground info.. My daughter started her school life an a nursery linked to an independent school. It wasn't until she was about 5 that we realised her speech problems were part of a bigger picture and she did in fact have learning difficulties. This made it very hard for her to cope at school and after the 1st term in year 1, she left the school with a school phobia and an extreme personality change.
I then home educated her for 2 years, hoping that the one to one would boost her learning. This wasn't the case, although her speech did improve. The home ed came to an end with me being emotionally exhausted! My daughter is very lovely, but all she wants to do it repetitive, demanding imaginary play. She decided early on that home ed groups and meet-ups weren't for her and if I made her come along anyway, she'd just sit next to me moaning...
She then started at a primary school in the year below her age and with a statement and full time one to one.
We've recently heard that secondary schools in our area will not take out of year groups, so basically, she'll have to either miss year 6 or year 7. We had decided that it would be best if she missed year 6 rather than the 1st year at a new school.
Because of her learning difficulties, we only have one special school in our area. We've been to see it but didn't get a great impression. It didn't feel at all warm or welcoming, The lady who showed me round didn't even say hello to the children we passed in the halls, and the other staff we saw either seemed cold or just uninterested. This school has a good OFSTED report and people seem to speak highly of it. I thought we would go and see it again, this time with the head showing us around, but he phoned this morning asking me what my questions were that I wanted to ask him. This aught me by surprise and I didn't have my list of questions at the ready. Some of which are rather personal and embarrassing to talk about. He said he wouldn't do a second viewing but we have an appointment to see him on soon to ask the questions... So I'm still not going to get any better a picture.
This school has said it'll hold on for my daughters application as we missed the dead line with not being informed by her current school that she'd have to miss year 6 or 7. I'm not sure weather any other school would hold on for her? Or if a mainstream school with one to one would be appropriate even. I know if I home educated again, I'd end up in the same situation as before..
It just feels so wrong to just accept a school that I felt was unfriendly, just because it's the only option. The good points are the small class sizes (12 max) and that she won't be seen as different and is less likely to be bullied.
What would you do?

Ladymuck Mon 02-Nov-15 14:12:05

What is the view of her current school? What does the SENco think?

chuffinalong Mon 02-Nov-15 19:28:46

They've been a bit useless to be honest. The SENCO has just said it's up to us and agrees it's a tricky decision.

Ladymuck Mon 02-Nov-15 19:32:24

Have they not discussed what mainstream options are available to you? Usually they will know which mainstream schools locally are good for SEN. If they don't then that is a worry.

As you indicate that there is only one special school near you, and HE is not an option, then it doesn't sound as if you have many options? I wouldn't take the fact that the head is unwilling to spend too much time on a tour as a bad sign per se. And at least you do have the option of asking any questions.

chuffinalong Mon 02-Nov-15 21:16:57

No, they haven't mentioned any schools, they've just left us too it really. If it wasn't for me phoning the special needs advice line asking about schools, I still wouldn't know that she'll have to skip a year. I had to inform them! They first tried to say we'd talked about it, then when I assured them we hadn't, they said it was a new thing. I later found out that it isn't a new thing that secondary schools won't accept out of year group.
I'm preparing my questions now, so hopefully I'll get some satisfactory answers. I think I will probably go with this school and then if she isn't happy there I will re- consider home ed.

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