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Admission, prh47bridge, tiggytape - can you help with specific questions?

(10 Posts)
schoolshelpneeded Sun 19-Mar-17 15:12:02

I hope you don't mind me asking you for help. We are in a difficult situation and need advice from people who know what they are talking about!

Our situation is that our adopted children have very complex needs and were statemented when they were in nursery school. We live in Wales so they are still statemented.

When the time came for high school the LEA could not identify a school to meet DS needs. We searched the indie sector and found a school he is now thriving in - small classes, additional help etc, despite our worries school manage him, and it is working out. It seems to be the best option. We went to a panel and the LEA agreed it was the most suitable school - so DS is statemented there, they agreed to pay for the school place, and they transport him. It is in our LA about 6 miles from our home.

Our second adopted DS who has similar needs will have the same problem with choosing a high school - he cannot go to a special school (normal ish IQ) but he will never manage in a mainstream state school - he has full time 1-1 to meet his needs in primary school at the present time - he is in year 5. Our expectation is that we will identify the indie as the school for DS2 and go to panel to ask them to statement DS to the school so they can pay his fees and transport him also.

We desperately need to move house as our family has grown, and what we need to know is can we move out of our LEA and into the neighboring LEA without my DS1 losing his statement in this LA or his place at his indie school.
(We now have 5 adopted children needing their own room due to their needs, so need a 6 bedroom home. Moving LAs is £100K difference on the same size home - the postcode lottery!)
Do we have to apply somehow to have his statement transferred to the other LA?
How do we gain permission for his school place to remain?

Its so mind-boggling - we fought for almost 2 years to find a school and 3 panels to get the funding, we cannot and will not risk losing the place, so will not move until it is all agreed before hand. But no-one will tell us what to do - case worker is absolutely useless, never returns calls, never answers my emails.

we also need to understand the impact for DS2, whether the new LEA is likely to grant DS2 a place at the indie, or if they will try and force him into a local comp which will simply not work.

any advice or knowledge would be hugely appreciated!!! THANK YOU

tiggytape Sun 19-Mar-17 16:47:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

admission Sun 19-Mar-17 17:25:00

I am a governor in a part of Wales and also a lay inspector of schools in Wales. Having said that I am no expert on SEND in Wales.
Different LAs have very different attitudes to SEND in Wales, so my immediate reaction to your question is to be very careful. Normally moving house would mean the statement would move with you to the new LA but the new LA may have a very different attitude to funding an independent school than the current one. So I would be wary of the effect of moving even on DS1's provision.
You do need to know that there is consultation going on to change how SEND is handled in Wales, which is due to start being implemented in 2018, but i would not guarantee that is going to happen! Also all LAs are under intense pressure when it comes to funding for SEND so again any change of LA may mean they take a different view of how to arrange provision and reducing costs.
Sorry everything I am saying sounds negative but I think you do need to be very wary of anything that could alter the dynamics of the situation. DS2 will be going through the assessment process for secondary school in the next few months, so it could well be better to make sure you get the secondary provision you want before you even contemplate a possible house move.

schoolshelpneeded Sun 19-Mar-17 19:52:56

Thanks both i appreciate it.
We are being very cautious....but do need to move aarghhh
DS2 has his statement review in may/june, but with DS1 it wasn't until the summer before high school that we finally got a yes for the school - the panel sat 3 times before a decision was made - budget reasons! So i anticipate the same for DS2 and us not knowing till 2018....we wont find a local state school for him though - we looked at every one for DS1 and none were suitable - if anything DS2 is even more complex.
we simply cannot wait till summer 2018 to move...

the only knowledge we have is that in the indie when we visited the head mentioned there was one child from the other LEA at the school - i assumed he meant on a funded place - with the same kind of statement.... BSED. that child is a year ahead of DS1 so the other LEA if it is funded may have set a there anyway of getting that information?

its the lack of information available that i am struggling with.

meanwhile we have house viewings locally - and think we may have to suck up the £100k sad

admission Sun 19-Mar-17 21:47:42

There is no way the LA are going to tell you how and why they made a decision over a SEND pupil. Also they will never admit to a precedent being set, they will always say that each individual case requires its own individual answer.
I do appreciate that it is very frustrating not being able to plan properly but these LAs will do things in their own way, in their own free time. Are you in north wales or south wales?

schoolshelpneeded Sun 19-Mar-17 22:12:10

we are in south wales.
we need to find a way forward.
caseworker has not replied to our last 2 emails. we just need to know who to talk to and how we can find out the information in order to move forward.
we live on the boundary of the 2 LA's - if we lived 2 streets over we would live in the next LA. We would be moving within 2 miles - in order to allow our children to stay in their schools (younger 3 are at a small school which meets their needs), but we really could do with moving postcodes to save £100K!

its wonderful that government recognize LAC need priority over the choice of their school, but ours have such specific needs that no state school locally can meet the older ones needs sad

Is it ever okay to start ringing other LEAs and asking about our situation - or do I need to press on with contacting our caseworker?

prh47bridge Sun 19-Mar-17 23:11:36

In my view there is nothing wrong with ringing other LAs and asking them. The worst that will happen is that they will tell you they can't answer your questions and refer you back to your caseworker.

I am also not an expert on SEND in Wales but, from what I do know, I would echo admission's caution.

schoolshelpneeded Tue 21-Mar-17 19:46:09

Update - Thank you for all your help.
I called our caseworker today - he is away for 2 weeks and so i spoke to a colleague and to my surprise he was a great help.
gave me lots of information about guidelines, appeals etc, and knew my DS1 case which was helpful. (it was probably the talk of the office to be fair!)
he advised me who to call in other LA.
I called that person who was - to my shock - super helpful too!
the outcome is that LA 1 has emailed the statements to LA2 who will discuss them at panel tomorrow - yes tomorrow! - (they sit weekly) - and give a general opinion if DS1 will be likely to be able to keep his school place and funding, and what they could do for DS2 as there are no suitable high schools for him they don't think in LA2.

i am so pleased they are discussing least now we can get some information in principal. We know its no guarantee, just an opinion on the most likely thing, and our decision to move would still be a risk - but we are so glad we made the phonecall - and in a weird way so glad useless caseworker is off work and i talked to very helpful man in LA!

Thanks all for your encouragement.

prh47bridge Wed 22-Mar-17 10:47:36

Glad to hear that. Hope it works out for you and your children.

PettsWoodParadise Wed 22-Mar-17 16:58:25

I have nothing helpful to say on schools but feel driven to say OP I think you are amazing. 6 adopted children - that is inspirational. They are so lucky to have you fighting their corner.

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