If your child got a school place on Medical & Social Need(15 Posts)
Please tell me what you wrote.
I think my DS1 has genuine need for a particular school - as I understand it it must be the 'only' school that can meet his needs. Would I be correct in hoping it's a kind of 'EHCP lite' in terms of getting a place?
I plan to:
-Write my own letter detailing why
-Have two psychiatrists who know DC well write a letter detailing what I have asked them to write and why it's best for him in their experience
-have the SENCO at school write a letter.
-ask his dyslexia tutor write a note.
I also plan on sending advance copies to the school I want's SENCO before admissions deadline
Anything anyone wants to tell me on what to write much appreciated.
AFAIK they need two letters from 'health professionals' (check) and a formal diagnosis (check). I think the school governors consider the application but I'm waiting for confirmatio of that (some LEAs have a dedicated panel)
Make sure the health professionals write 'In my opinion. ..' not 'X's mother says...'
You need to be absolutely certain that the notes make the point that this school is the only one that can meet his needs in the opinions of the health professionals. If they write something along the lines of "Mrs Cryfi tells me that Cryfiboy needs school X because of ABC, and I agree", that won't work.
It needs to be explicitly their opinion with evidence (appointment history etc, "I have been working with/examined X over the last 2 years" etc.). Notes also need to be clear why it is this school that is the only one that can meet his needs, rather than making a point that he needs one with good SNECO support/nurture groups/etc - stuff that many schools offer.
Right - yes it is their opinion but I'll make sure of that and that they are clear. I'm emailing the professionals with what they need to include but obviously they will make of that what they will.
It is unique because he has ADHD and also a lot of anxiety and OCD about friendships and social groups. This school opened in Sept and has currently only 120 pupils. Both his teachers and healthcare professionals (so 240 when his cohort start) that know him acknowledge that he will really struggle with negotiating lots of teachers and other kids, remembering where to go, getting there on time etc. I know every parent thinks this but in this case the other people who know him well agree. This school will be a similar environment to primary in scale and will grow as more cohorts join every year. It's close and has a tiny catchment we are on the edge of and he would know all the kids socially (instead of kids from a really wide catchment as many are round here.
I'm not sure it's fair to ask the experts to say that this school is the only one that can meet their needs, because they haven't done the research on all the schools in the area that you have. I've been asked before to write supporting notes based on specific needs - I'm not a medical professional, though, but involved in a different capacity - and all that I feel I can do is to detail things that I feel would help the child. If it so happens that there is only one school that fits all those criteria, then it's easy for the parents to make that case. But I wouldn't want the parents to be telling me "school X is the only one that has has a handwriting club and issues iPads and has this particular sports team that would benefit child's condition, so please write that school X is the only one that would suit him for those reasons". I don't know if any of that is absolutely true, nor do I want to be doing the research to find out. It's different if you ask the various professionals to say that "In my opinion, child x needs a small school because xxx" or "I think that this particular sport would be very helpful for developing xxx skills that the child struggles with" or whatever is within their remit, and other professionals can say similar, and then parents can present a case that School X is the only one that meets most of those requirements. You are still asking for the opinion of the expert, rather than just having them repeat what the parent believes, but you are not asking them to claim in depth knowledge of what is offered by all the schools. Although I have passing experience of a variety of school in the area as a result of my work, for example, and I might know that a particular school has good facilities for supporting a specific need, I can't guarantee that there aren't others in the area that I don't know about that also have those. Obviously it's slightly different if it comes to recommending that a child needs a school where they are familiar with the layout or have friends already etc, as it is tantamount to saying that specifically School X is best for them, but even still, I'd want to focus on the needs - familiarity, teachers who understand him, etc - and let the parents argue that therefore it has to be school X.
Thanks crotchet - I completely understand your point.
I'm struggling because in their admissions policy it says: 'at least two registered health professionals (e.g. doctors, psychologists or social workers) must provide evidence of the needs and the specific reasons why xxxxxxx school is the most suitable school to meet those needs.
So asking a lot of those professionals. Short of providing a reason why all the other (many) schools in this city aren't suitable I don't know how best to assure them that this is the case. I've detailed all the things that make his school unique for our child to the professional to make of it what they will
I might be wrong, but I can't see ADHD, OCD and anxiety, unless it is extreme or has something else you haven't mentioned, being considered not to be something a standard school would be able to cope with.
Certainly round here it is very high bar to get over as I know a number of people with pretty severe issues that have been told they wouldn't qualify.
Hopefully I'm wrong for you, but I would make sure you have a good second place.
We got a place in these grounds
Successful for one child
Unsuccessful for the other, but appealed on same grounds and won
Happy to answer questions by pm if you want but very recognisable details so rather not publicly
I've not done it for secondary applications but have been successful in securing a social/medical need place for a primary child. In our case, of the three closest primary schools, only one was on a single level site and fully accessible to an adult in a wheelchair. This same school was the only one of the three that the parent had visited regularly and was familiar with the layout of prior to losing their sight (and mobility).
We provided the medical consultants with details of the three schools' layout/sites and the reason why the parent had pre-sightloss knowledge of the preferred school. I asked the consultants to write a letter in support of the notion that the preferred school was the only one that could meet the parent's needs and to include any relevant medical information. They all wrote the phrase 'in my opinion, X school is the only local school that will meet the family's needs', but did their own thing with the context. It probably helped that the other two possible schools were 3/4 storey, Victorian buildings in which the Reception classes were not on the ground floor (and inaccessible to a wheelchair).
Just to update - I've put the application in, got a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Educational Psychologist and his SENCO to write letters in quite a lot of detail. They all know him really well to so they are very informed.
Looking at the stats across the board places on medical and social need are very sparse indeed, so fingers crossed. Don't know what we'll do if he doesn't get a place. possibly we could get one on distance alone.
Thanks again for your advice PPs
If he doesn't get a place, you can still appeal for a place using the same medical evidence and your own explanation of why your child's needs would be best met by this particular school.
An appeal panel is able to decide that an admission authority has either not paid enough heed to expert advice and award a place. Or they may feel that admission authority were right in deciding that the evidence wasn't compelling enough to allow admission via the medical criteria but that, even so, your child's best interests would still best met by being awarded a place at a school that a panel agrees suits his needs.
The other thing that you do need to understand is that you do not automatically get a place. What you get is an agreement that your child will be considered under that admission criteria. Normally as this usually is a high priority admission criteria there is no issue about getting a place but you will still not know for sure until the admission date along with everybody else.
That is why you do need to push this along in the next couple of months and get a definitive written answer as to whether your child will be considered under this criteria rather than just assuming you will. Regrettably some admission authorities are very poor at giving this info out. Also if the admission authority are not that good at getting things organised and you have an appropriate paper trail, it is a good starting point for an appeal based on the admission authority not having given sufficient interest in your application.
Right - yes - I already have a paper (email) trail. I asked more than once who makes the actual decision, and how - and didn't get a reply or call back. I assume it's the governors at the school but I don't know.
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