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Child with mild SEN applying to Secondary School

(17 Posts)
tyceuk Mon 02-Oct-17 16:00:55

I was hoping that someone could provide some advice how to proceed with the secondary admissions process when your child has some SEN but not enough to warrant an official statement.

Our child has some learning disabilities which we found out last year. He has struggled a little since starting school but became more apparent last year where the work became more complex. His issues are not severe and therefore although he is on the SEN register there is no special statement for him. This leave us in a situation where it is difficult to pick a state school that he would get into based on the 11+ test as his learning disability will affect his performance. We are between a number of outstanding schools but probably not close enough to meet their catchment area. Our concern is that through no fault of his own he will end up in a school that will not benefit and support him. He doesn’t have any behaviour problems and in fact is always commended on his attitude, willingness to work hard, behaviour and manners.

In our situation is there anything we can do so he is treated fairly and given a chance to get into a local state school? A lot of the schools around us take a percentage on 11+ results and then a number of criteria which we rank towards the bottom. I don’t think we can officially go through the council and apply through SEN because he does not have a statement for special educational needs.

Hotpinkangel19 Mon 02-Oct-17 16:39:50

You need a statement or EHCP now for it to influence schools like you said. I’m not sure there’s anything you could do? Supporting letter from a HCP to send in with your application?

PatriciaHolm Mon 02-Oct-17 18:08:02

There are a number of things to unpick here.

Firstly, do you intend for him to sit the 11+? It's not compulsory, even in all-grammar counties like Kent. If you do, then there are adaptations and allowances given for a variety of SEN, which you would need to talk to the admissions authorities about - this could be more time, a quiet space, a scribe, etc. You would need to prove his need for the support, through a formal diagnosis and evidence of the support he gets at school.

Secondly, if you don't want him to sit the test and just want to apply for regular secondaries, pay close heed to the admission criteria. Many schools have a "social and medical need for this school" criteria, after LAC/siblings, which you could try applying under if you felt you could prove a need for a specific school. This criteria doesn't require a specific statement of SEN or and EHCP (that is different and if an EHCP names a school the child gets a place), but does need you be able to provide strong evidence of the need for a specific school.

As a last resort, you always have the right of appeal for a school if you feel strongly that he would be best served somewhere that you aren't allocated. This would happen after school allocations in March.

zzzzz Mon 02-Oct-17 18:12:57

If he won’t pass the 11+ whey would you want him to go to a school with that as a prerequisite?

tyceuk Tue 03-Oct-17 09:13:32

Firstly thank you for your replies. We do plan to sit the 11+ test and the council seem to have agreed to give some extra time based on the documentation we provided on our ds from the psychologist assessment we had done in the summer. Whether this alone will help we are not sure, but we want to give our ds every chance to have the same opportunity to get into the right school.

We hadn't realised that the "social and medical" criteria might apply to us as we were under the impression that only children with EHCP or with a statement could apply.

We are looking at schools in Wandsworth and Streatham. We particularly liked Dunraven after speaking to a teacher about their SEN department. However we are between 1-2 miles away and I know the school is oversubscribed. It is not a selective school and there is no percentage allocation via the 11+ exam. We feel that our ds would get the resources and attention he requires.

We liked Ashcroft because of the strict and structured approach to teaching. This may benefit our ds to organise himself better in a structured environment. We don't think he would have a problem with behaviour or effort/hard work. The only issue is that it isn't close. It is probably the school that is the longest distance away.

We like Chestnut Grove as it had a creative learning culture and this would also fit well with our ds's interests. I'm not sure what their SEN department is like, but I know like a lot of schools they do have sets in a year based on ability.

PatriciaHolm Tue 03-Oct-17 13:18:40

Both Dunraven and Chestnut Grove have a "medical and social" category which is essentially the same -

"Medical and/or social reasons: applications must be professionally supported. Medical reasons must be supported by written medical evidence. The evidence should come from at least two registered health professionals. An application being made for social reasons must be supported by written evidence from registered professionals such as social workers or other social care professionals. Medical or social applications must set out the particular reasons why X School is the most suitable school and what difficulties would occur if the child had to go elsewhere. Any such applications will be considered objectively by the Admissions Committee of the school based on the evidence provided. Application under this criteria does not guarantee a priority place and cannot be considered without the appropriate supporting evidence."

This does not require an EHCP, but would require significant evidence about the suitability of the school specifically and why the child would suffer elsewhere.

Ashcroft don't have this criteria though.

2014newme Tue 03-Oct-17 13:36:11

What makes you say that other schools would not support him? Have you visited and asked about support for seen?

tyceuk Tue 03-Oct-17 17:09:23

We are not saying that other schools won't support him. I'm sure they would but every school is different and we haven't been able to visit every school in the borough so we can only go by what we have seen. Until the post above I didn't even think it was possible for us to apply under social/medical needs and therefore were only looking at distance, merit based on 11+ performance and private.

Dunraven seemed to have a substantial SEN department that list out specialism on language support as well as other areas. We also like their ethos and teaching practices.

tyceuk Tue 03-Oct-17 17:12:11

It is interesting that Ashcroft doesn't have social/medical listed in their admissions. I thought they had a autism department.

GrockleBocs Tue 03-Oct-17 17:17:02

My LA has told me it's very difficult to qualify in the medical/exceptional category. I suspect they try to discourage people attempting it because the bar is quite high. I'm giving it a go anyway. Like you we have a dc without an EHCP but diagnosed and on the SEN register.
I am pinning my hopes on the appeal process!

PatriciaHolm Tue 03-Oct-17 17:35:15

Ashcroft do have an Autism Resource Centre, but it supports the students who come through the regular admissions process - there is no special admissions route. However, it would be useful in an appeal if your son has been diagnosed with autism, as it would be a key feature of this school that makes it the best school for him.

AveEldon Mon 09-Oct-17 13:44:45

What year is your child in?
Have you looked at Bolingbroke?

Branleuse Mon 09-Oct-17 13:48:43

Do you mean learning difficulties? If he had learning dis, theres no way he would sit the 11+
I dont tend to think grammar schools have much experience with SEN usually. My friends aspie son had a terrible time at grammar. Theyd never even had a kid on school action before, let alone statemented and were very unhelpful

Branleuse Mon 09-Oct-17 13:52:28

https://www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained/what-learning-disability

BrieAndChilli Mon 09-Oct-17 13:59:28

The problem is that you need to prove that ONLY that School has the resources to help him. You would need to prove that that School alone had the particular thing that your child needs.
Have you looked at the school you are most likely to get a place at?

DS1 is in the same position in that he has ASD but his consultant felt it wasn’t severe enough to warrant getting him statemented as he was dealing well with normal life, his school was brilliant with him and he had progressed very well in the physical aspects he was working on (toilet training, fine motor skills etc)

Branleuse Mon 09-Oct-17 14:58:04

you dont need to prove that if its not named on the statement. i think thats only in the case of SEN schools, or if you want them to provide transport

user1475317873 Mon 09-Oct-17 17:37:57

I think you can also apply as a medical, physcological or social need if your child is in the special needs register at his current school and the current school will need to provide supporting letter of why they think the chosen school will meet the needs of your child better. There is no guarantees and it depends on the school criteria but you can look at that option. He does not need a statement for this. And you can appeal if he does not get a place; again, there is no guarantees but you can try

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