Post 13 Private schools specialising in "Challenging behaviours"(15 Posts)
Non maintained and independent special achools website here are for statemented pupils with SEN - places are generally funded by LAs, but some parents pay privately. I agree with other posters, costs can be high, because of the high staffing ratios and therapy costs. The progress that students make, and the outcomes are generally fantastic.
Sorry OP didn't realise you have started the statement process.
Like others said do not dismiss a PRU it is not ideal but at 12 would not be seen as a long term option, they generally like to get the children back into school as quick as possible.
Also, while at the PRU he maybe assessed quicker!
In my LA a parent can make a request for statutory assessment, to be honest it is slightly quicker this way. Have a look on your LA website to see if there is an SEN parent partnership or similar, they will be able to advise or call your SEN department direct. You only have to write a letter/email, it's quick and simple and gets you DS in the system.
It might be possible to get enough support via a statement to support your DS in mainstream school.
I work with children with behaviour needs, many of whom spend a period of time in a PRU. Majority of those children are supported back into mainstream school and with the correct support in place are successful and complete their GCSEs.
Often the time spent in a PRU is an opportunity to assess the child's needs and ensure adequate support is in place for them to be successful in the correct provision for them e.g mainstream or special.
Thank you so much for all the ideas and support. It's heart breaking to watch your kid self destruct and we've had to flex hugely to stop our family falling apart but I can't let go of his education. I recently recruited my junior PA and bawled through the process of sifting through 220 applicants because it brought home how competitive it is out there and how so many people have a good education and still are struggling to get started. To think that DS might not even have that is horrifying.
I'm going back in after half term and will growl a bit more to see if I can get a statement to start with and make sure that if does get expelled, it's only after a) That we've exhausted every possibility to support him and b) that it's done legally and within guideline.
Any ideas on where to start looking for a private pysch?
I would second not writing of a PRU just yet. My MIL was, until she retired, head of a PRU. The work she and the other staff did there to help the kids find their way was nothing short of amazing.
Admittedly some of the kids were so lost and damaged that there was very little that could be done to help them.
What MIL always said though, was the kids whose parents were there for them, who supported the process and who wanted to help , were the kids who managed to turn their lives around, get back into mainstream and get some qualifications.
IME general private schools are not always the best place for DC with SEN. With state schools you can apply for a statement which guarantees a place in a school that can meet your child's needs and provide extra support eg 1-1 classroom assistance (and yes, I know it doesn't always deliver, but you can use the law to force this to happen). This can be in a private special schools and the LEA have to pay the fees (and that is why they can charge so much in fees, because usually it is not the parents paying).
I know several people whose kids attend private special schools, because no state school could meet their needs.
Also don't dismiss PRU's completely. They usually have high staff/pupil ratios and can offer lots of support. They are usually used as a short-term measure with the aim of getting back into mainstream, so a place at a PRU could be a stepping stone to the right place for your DS.
Do you think a fresh start at a new school would help your son. Ie. if he moves school before he gets permamently excluded.
Many special schools have very limited qualifications. Your son would be put in for entry certificates even though he has normal intelligence.
There are some state special schools for emotional/behavioural difficulties - e.g. Chalcot School in Camden, Ian Mikardo in Tower Hamlets. But they are very oversubscribed, you'd need a statement, and it's even harder to get a place if you don't live in that LA. They also often have a similar student profile to PRUs, so may not be suitable if you are (understandably) concerned about the influence of the peer group.
Mental health issues can be considered a form of SEN if it is affecting his ability to access the curriculum, so it may be possible to get a statement, as emotional/behavioural difficulties are a category of SEN. It also sounds like he hasn't been fully assessed for other possible SEN (which may be the root cause of his MH issues). A private EP would certainly be useful at a later stage, but wouldn't be able to diagnose most causes of SEN (except specific learning difficulties). I would consider taking your DS to a private psychiatrist or paediatrician.
Statementing is a very long, slow process, however, and he is reaching the end of compulsory schooling so I can understand the wish to go private. But the posts above are right, independent special schools are extremely expensive and are usually only funded after a long fight with the LA to pay the fees. The levels of challenging behaviour are very high - often the pupils have had a background of multiple exclusions, periods spent entirely out of education, and sometimes involvement with the criminal justice system. It doesn't sound like your DS is anywhere near this extreme.
There are also some cheaper independent special schools where parents can realistically pay the fees, but they are generally for lower-level SEN such as dyslexia, dyspraxia etc. These schools sometimes consider taking students who have had slightly disruptive behaviour due to their unmet SEN, but they wouldn't take on students who have very challenging behaviour who would disrupt other pupils. For example, Centre Academy - fees are from £26k pa; or Moat School. Although their principle aim is to deal with SpLD, I've known pupils who have been sent to this type of school by their parents when the SpLD wasn't really the principle issue, but more the MH issues that arose from it, and they benefited more from the smaller class sizes and nurturing ethos.
I would agree Buskers, his current school use the term but from what I've seen looking around, he's barely even on the edge of specialist provision. He doesnt have a statement, he is mid-upper academic range, he is just struggling to behave in a way the school (or us) can accept. I'm absolutely sure if we had intervention when we first asked for it, he could have been steered away from exclusion. But its fast looking as if help is going to arrive too late
Not sure where to look next really, obviously need to do all I can to keep him in his current school but if that fails, I'm lost.
DS is 12 and its happened in the last 18 months though got a lot worse in the last 6.
I think your use of the term challenging behaviour is probably different to what is generally meant when talking about schools that specialise in managing challenging behaviour, if that makes sense, They are usually special schools catering for children with severe learning difficulties and these children often display very challenging behaviour. The fees are ridiculously high and are usually met by local authorities, because they cannot provide an appropriate education themselves. My son was at a residential special school and the fees were around £180k.
I get the idea that your son does not have SEN, but possibly some mental health issues? It sounds like his behaviour is a problem rather than he would be classed as having behavioural problems and a statement wouldn't be appropriate for him. How old is your son and has he always had problems or have they developed?
i know a kid who was completely turned around by such a school, the students there can be funded by any means, however, sit down, the fees for boarding are £130 000 per year. He is now doing A levels, was actually at a PRU when the parents appealed and got the LA to pay for this place. I'm sure there were worse behaviours there than X displayed but he has come on by miles.
Thank you Really
You are reiterating both of my fears, that the expense would be beyond what we can manage and that he would actually be surrounded by kids who were far worse than him.
The system in the UK for accessing mental health services is abysmal and I have been shunted around for months on end despite doing my best impression of a tiger mum. We are edging closer to something but even still, it is incredibly frustrating.
Do you know if he needs a statement for behavioural issues? 4 months after starting all of this, I've just discovered that I need to get a community paediatrician referral to get ADHD/ADD ruled out or in so that's my next step, I assume the same for ASD? My GP just refers me constantly back to MH services and because of where I live, they have intervention services before CAMHS. Meaning either DS2 or one of his family have to get hurt before he gets to see someone with medical experience. It's excruciatingly hard yet I've been wary of trying to go private to date as I'm not sure what regulation exists for counselling services outside the NHS. Almost, nothing to date better than someone making even more of a mess of his head.
School don't seem to have a real hold of the situation and are doing things against the book - fast tracking from a missed 5 minute detention to isolation for example. I'm reluctant to complain as I want to work with them but I'm fearful they are trying to push him out.
Ughhhh... we go back on Monday and I'm dreading it starting up again. Half term has been almost calm.
I am sorry you and your son are going through such a difficult time.
Private schools that specialise in challenging behaviours are unbelievably expensive. I have no idea quite how much, but it is definately silly money. I also imagine that you would find some quite extreme behaviour in such a school. I have friend whose son goes to such a school and it has been a mixed experience.
I imagine that your first port of call would be to get an educational pychologist report to try and determine the cause of your child's behaviour. For example a child with high functioning autism would have different needs to a child with moderate learning difficulites.
Prehaps a private educational pychologist will recommend a suitable school and help you with the statementing process.
We could describe DS2 as a handful, or we could describe him as many other things!
He's generally a pretty good kid but has had some issues in his extended family that have meant he's really struggled with anger and how he deals with that. We are currently under TAMHS and we are hoping that this will help him cope better. However, he's fast approaching exclusion at school!
I do not want him in a PRU, nor do I want him put in whatever school will take him (although I obviously understand that his behaviour means that we don't have any right to choose in the state system - I don't want anyone thinking that I believe he should be able to behave in an appalling way and then I should still be able to pick whichever school I want).
However, I do think with the right support, us, CAMH's and a good school, he could turn this around and not wreck his life.
I fully appreciate that finding a school is going to be difficult and no doubt, more expensive than your normal private establishment but I really feel I have to help him in whatever way I can and that the right educational support might do it.
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