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choosing a school with a statement

(11 Posts)
skewiff Fri 14-Jan-11 20:57:03

My son has mild cerebral palsy. It mainly affects his left hand and arm (although eye sight, balance and left leg are also included - but don't both him much). He has very little use of his left hand and no individual finger movement.

However - he is doing brilliantly!! and copes so well with everything. The nursery say that if I hadn't have pushed for a statement he wouldn't get one now - as he fits in so well. Which obviously I am thrilled about.

However we did get a statement and this was largely because he would have not got a place in a school otherwise. We don't fit into any catchments.

My question is ...

Out of 2 schools which would be better:

1) 4 form entry. Very used to SEN children. SENCO is excellent. Very creative. Very unstructured. No uniform.

2)2 form entry. Quite used to SEN children. SENCO is new and not so experienced. Very academic. Very structured.

My dilema is that my son is bright, but may suffer from dyslexia later as his eyes don't work together (he has a squint) at the moment.

He is a real wanderer and doesn't get focussed and into stuff because a lot of things he finds difficult. I worry that an unstructured place might just lead him to learn nothing. Whereas more structure could focus him.

However the SENCO is so good at the big school that he should be well looked after there... But he might get forgotten because there's loads of other children with greater needs.

If he turns out to bright, they're not so good at stretching children in the larger school. He might get lost because its so big.

But the small school is pushy - with sports in particular - and he might get left behind.

So sorry to be so unclear and waffly. I know we're lucky to have choice. I just can't imagine how he's going to be when he's 5/6/7 and what he'll need by then.

Small school is nearer too.

Thank you.

chatee Fri 14-Jan-11 21:12:43

i have a dd with cp in year 6 at a small village school and wow has she changed since nursery but she still needs her statement and don't let anyone ever say that your ds wouldn't need one(and please fight to keep it for as long as you feel neccessary)

my dd has felt like the only goldfish in the bowl in her small school

but gets quite upset that she is never picked until last(or not at all for proper team inter school competitions)for sports teams.

my dd still now lacks concentration and needs reminders to stay focused on the task and is completley disorganised- and sadly i don't think this will get any better-this is her cp!(although school remain in hope)

you have found mn so you will be his best advocate-not the senco(and really the senco in any school could change due to any circumstances)

differentiate sports-have you heard of disability sport england? boccia? cerebral palsy sport?
i have got my dd involved with both mainstream and disability sports and it has changed her outlook on life and her disability

chatee Fri 14-Jan-11 21:14:07

sorry but haven't really answered your question as it really is such a personal decision

mrz Fri 14-Jan-11 21:17:03

Both have pros and cons have you and your daughter visited?

skewiff Fri 14-Jan-11 21:20:22

NO thank you -

That is really helpful. I know that no one can answer my question. Its just totally confusing me. I've been trying to make up my mind since September!

I see your point about the Senco not really mattering. Perhaps a big school is good because ds won't feel like a goldfish in a bowl.

For your daughter - would a structured environment (ie sit down with us all, we are all doing this) help her lack of concentration - or would it make no difference to lack of structure (ie lots of wandering around and choosing).

I will fight to keep Ds's statement. I know he needs it and that it will help him.

Thank you again.

chatee Fri 14-Jan-11 21:27:26

dd's school is very structured (and strict)good routines,and i think this has helped her immensely as she knows what is expected from her at all times,things are black or white in her eyes there is no grey and having such a structured environment helps.

yes, sitting thinking about it structured is better as you can never know what areas of the brain are totally affected with cp and at least by being in a structured environment removes any chances of extra confusion and avoids children with additional needs 'slipping through the net'

i don't regret our decision in choosing this school for dd(tis not our most local)

mrz Fri 14-Jan-11 21:31:01

I'm afraid I don't think the perfect school exists it's a matter of finding best fit and at such a young age it is difficult to predict which approach will suit him best in the future. I would take a look ask how much experience they have of children with similar difficulties to your son (they may have lots of experience of SEN but it may not be with CP)

skewiff Fri 14-Jan-11 21:37:44

Thank you Mrz. I have visited both schools, yes. Several times to both and its so difficult because they are both very good and both sooo different.

I love the teaching at the smaller school and if my son had no cp would definitely choose this. Its difficult because he copes so well with his cp and is so resistant to help that even if they did have experience - oh I don't know ...

I'm tangling myself up in knots.

chatee Fri 14-Jan-11 21:44:41

"I love the teaching at the smaller school and if my son had no cp would definitely choose this"

then choose this school, as your ds will always have cp but(hopefully like my dd)will improve his functions greatly during his primary years and what about if you have any younger siblings? then the statement above would also come true again

good luck-it's hard enough being a parent but then add in the special needs too and query why we don't get a manual at birth??grin
btw had you heard of any of the disability sports groups mentioned?

skewiff Fri 14-Jan-11 21:48:13

No I don't think I have heard of these.

There is one that comes up on hemihelp a lot - my son has hemiplegia. But it does not take children until they are five I think.

I am going to look up the ones you've told me about. Thank you.

mrz Fri 14-Jan-11 22:00:40

www.kids.org.uk/
www.allfie.org.uk/

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