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SEN application to secondary school for g&t?

(20 Posts)
newname12 Wed 07-Jan-15 19:15:08

DD is in yr 5, so thinking about secondaries.

We are in a London borough, so schools are heavily oversubscribed. We live about 800m from a very good school, but admissions last year were about a 600m radius.

As usual, schools have the "special educational needs" category which comes above home to school distance.

So, my question is, can I use the "Sen" category to increase chances of a place?

She is elite tracked for sport, trains 18+ a week. She needs to be at a school either near home or near her training facility (which is out because of home-school distance), plus she needs a school which is supportive of absence for competition etc.

Without being statemented or the like how do I get "official" documents to support her case? Should I speak to her current primary? Head, class teacher or senco?

Anyone any experience? Thanks.

stardusty5 Wed 07-Jan-15 19:19:47

I'm happy to stand corrected but as i understand it only children with a statement qualify for the application priority.

I may be missing something but i am not sure your daughter's training committments will be seen as a specialeducational need. Does she have SEN?

ouryve Wed 07-Jan-15 19:19:57

G+T by itself is not SEN. To have SEN, a child needs to have a learning difficulty or disability that requires special educational provision to be made. Being very bright or good at sport is neither a learning difficulty or a disability.

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howtodrainyourflagon Wed 07-Jan-15 19:22:15

Hmm. Are you saying your dd is more deserving of a place at the non-selective school of your choice than ssomeone else'sdc living closer because your dd is more special? Another child will be displaced from the "very good" school for a child who won't be able to attend fully due to competitions and being elite tracked. Doesn't sound very fair for the not so special dc who gets displaced.

There are schools which admit children on sporting aptitude and there are private schools. Otherwise, fortunately, the admission system is designed to resist manipulation along the lines you're suggesting.

stardusty5 Wed 07-Jan-15 19:25:11

Reading your post again i can see that this is what you are asking and i highly doubt that she will qualify as sen.

Schools themselves have no say whatsoever in which individual children they can accept. If she doesnt get in automatically you will need to appeal. The appeals panel is independent and headteachers are only there to observe.

I don't know masses about appeals but in my experience, focusing too much on how inconvenient it is for you tfor her to go to a different school is not seen very sympathetically. Not their problem. If the school does have a strong sporting ethis then thatvmight be an area to focus on.

stardusty5 Wed 07-Jan-15 19:26:35


Floggingmolly Wed 07-Jan-15 19:27:32

No. Your dd does not have a special educational need. The clue is in the word educational.

lljkk Wed 07-Jan-15 19:31:45

sorry, what is her SEN? I don't think she has one?

But from I've read on MN, you could easily make a successful case by taking it to appeal. It seems like in appeal that almost any reason counts as valid, as long as you frame it strongly enough with the right line of logic.

Your case will be something like how your child would be so ferociously disadvantaged by (school you don't like) as opposed to the small harm it would cause (school you do like) to take just your one extra child. These things don't count in the initial application but they are all-important at appeal. You could search MN archives for "school appeals" to see how other people have done this, and start gathering evidence now.

titchy Wed 07-Jan-15 19:35:20

Not an expert however.....

There is no 'usual special educational need' criteria. There is often a criteria for exceptional medical or social criteria, and to be admitted under that category the bar is set very - a wheelchair user and this being the only stair-free school, a family living under a witness protection scheme for example.

Children with a statement are able to have a specific school named, and thus should not need to apply in the normal way.

I do not therefore think you would be admitted under anything other than normal distance.

However if a place is not offered you can of course appeal - you could also appeal for a school near her training facility. You would need to demonstrate that this, and only this school is suitable for your child. If you won you wouldn't be displacing a child who lived nearer - your child would be admitted over and above the normal admission number, although they wouldn't be able to admit from the waiting list until they had gone below the usual number, so you would be displacing someone from the waiting list.

Goldmandra Wed 07-Jan-15 19:36:20

If a child has a statement or EHC plan, the usual rules for school admissions go out of the window and the LA has to name the school of the parents' choice unless there is a very good reason not to. This is the reason SEN is placed above home to school distance on the admissions policy.

If your child doesn't have a statement, the usual rules apply.

newname12 Wed 07-Jan-15 19:46:08


It was just something that was suggested to me so I thought I'd look into it. Obviously it's not my decision whether she's more deserving of a place than another child, but whoever deals with admissions and their criteria. The person (school governor) I spoke to seemed to think the social and educational needs would apply. I dont know whether educational needs applies to those whose needs require a certain school or education, and extra support in school for any reason, or if it is restricted to those with statemented type needs.

Unless she got into certain schools she would have to give up her sport as logistically she couldn't get there after school.

Thanks again smile

youarekiddingme Wed 07-Jan-15 19:53:02

Agree the SEN area is for children with LD or disability. Some schools have a section for psychological need or medical need - eg another school placement have a detrimental affect on these.

I would approach the club, training facility your Dd attends. If she is being elite tracked the chances are she'll go to some training facility at some point and either they'll educate her or she'll do part time school or HE. They may have advice for you about how your DDs education would be best handled or any sponsorship etc available to provide her education. You may chose, instead, to go down the route of applying for a scholarship to an independent school - there are many that will take on and foster training in elite level students.

zzzzz Wed 07-Jan-15 19:54:45

SEN doesn't include supporting her hobby.
Its about accessing education for those that have obstacles to that, not supporting extra curricular activities.

I'm a little shocked that a governor doesn't know that. shock

CastlesInTheSand Wed 07-Jan-15 20:01:39

Find out if any local schools have a G&T in sports admission criteria.

My DD got into a fab school on that and it's excellent. She's now going to train at school and as allowed as much time off as she needs to compete.

I think you really need something like this.

Phineyj Wed 07-Jan-15 20:03:39

Technically G&T is AEN not SEN. I think if you are serious about appeals etc there are specialist consultants you can ask. Probably worth asking your question again on the secondary education board. The other option might be a boarding school that specialises in sport - didn't a number of the UK medallists go to one on the south coast somewhere?

newname12 Wed 07-Jan-15 20:04:53

Thanks castles, maybe that's what they meant when we were discussing it?

Will have a look. Only thing is there seems to be no centralised info, so I'm having to research each school one at a time and it's taking forever!

newname12 Wed 07-Jan-15 20:12:37

Phiney thanks- yes aen I think was mentioned rather than Sen.

I have looked into private, but most "scholarships" for sport seem to be honorific rather than real monetary value, especially for girls. The one school I did find, which she has visited and loved, was boys. We can't afford anything other than a full 100% bursary.

Youarekiddingme- the older kids already elite don't go to specific schools or home educate. I know there are facilities elsewhere in the country that do this, but not in London, as far as I'm aware.

Theas18 Sun 11-Jan-15 09:55:57

Sports scholarship to an elite school? Mate of ds went to ( I think ) Westminster fees paid for this. Surely there must be similar for girls.

You are going to need, like as not ,a very flexible school re absences for training camps,competitions etc - even at the kids ordinary grammars there are kids competing at this sort of level - Olympic squad training etc and they have been excellent at supporting them with " educated off site" etc. I guess that these kids are able academically and still get strings of As at gcse helps. ( dd1s mate did a gap year sponsored by a feed manufacturer in 3 day eventing and is now training to be a lawyer !).

Have you discussed attitude to absences for sporting reasons? Worth doing - if the only places you are likely to get into and / or your dd isn't an academic high flier I guess you have a difficult choice - do you home educate to allow them to prioritise sport? You certainly don't want, if she really has a chance at elite level, for school to be putting you through attendence proceedings.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 15-Jan-15 11:00:59

In DS2's old school, the (non-ringfenced) SEN budget was referred to (by the Governors and by the LA) as the AEN/SEN budget. Only the G&T who require additional support up to 6K (based on 4 pupil led calculations relating to free school meals, Income Deprivation Affecting Children, KS attainment and EAL) meet the criteria to be on the AEN register. However, some governors and schools interpret this to mean that high attaining DC may require additional support to remain high attaining and achieve results that make the school look good. Hence from their POV it makes more sense to allocate 6K of the AEN/SEN to a G&T child who may attain level 6 than an SEN child who is unlikely to achieve level 4.

The guidance from the LA in 2013/14 was
School action = 1 hour LSA support or equivalent
Action+ = 1.5 to 4.5 hours LSA support or equivalent
AEN (may have statements) = 5 to 12.5 hours LSA support or equivalent.

If your DC meets the criteria - fair enough. Otherwise it is wrong and the school governor should not be advising parents of 'loopholes' they can use to obtain preferential treatment for their DC.

FreckledLeopard Thu 15-Jan-15 11:21:12

Can you look into seeing if she could get a bursary at an independent school like Millfield which is brilliant for sports? Perhaps the combination of a bursary and scholarship might be sufficient?

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