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Independent school cheaper than mainstream with 1:1 - LEA funding?

(6 Posts)
RnB Fri 16-Sep-11 18:59:09

I would like some advice - my son is in yr 6 and we are having his transition review for Secondary in October. He is currently in an ASD unit attached go a mainstream school. We would like to fully mainstream him for secondary, but the only decent choice is a huge secondary with 1500 pupils. I really don't think my son would cope well with this. When I visited the school they made it clear that the children have to find their way around by themselves from the beginning and they don't believe in 'Velcro TA's'. I have to say the school is really lovely but I just think it is far too big for my son and that he would find this very stressful.

His teacher has told me that she would be recommending pretty much full time TA support because of his difficulties with concentration, especially when he is in a large class.

However we have found a lovely little independent school - a ten minute walk from our house. They have had many children with autism through the doors and they feel very comfortable with this. The Head could not have been more welcoming to us and the prospect of having our son there. It is also extremely inexpensive compared to other independent schools - slightly less than 5k per year. There will be about 8 in each class, and the school only has 70 pupils in total. My son had a taster day there which went extremely well, and he is very excited about the prospect of going. The school are confident they are able to cope without a TA.

So my question is: would the LEA consider funding the independent school? It would be considerably cheaper than the alternative school (the cost of the TA and taxi fares)

I mentioned it to the caseworker and he said he didn't think it would be easy to get the panel to agree. I just don't get it! Surely they'd be desperate to save money?

If they refuse I will definitely go to tribunal. How do you think this would go down with the tribunal panel?

Thanks for reading this far. I look forward to hearing your responses.

JETS Sat 17-Sep-11 08:16:44

No harm in trying - but in principle no - the funding is linked to the state system so would be hard to do this.

I work in a school of 1400 students with many with autism and other conditions - the students work well - they are in the main stream with well differentiated classes. If you do wind up in the school you dont want you need to make sure you sit with head of year/equivalent to explain your needs. Often placing students with autism with the right teacher is the best thing.

Unless you son moves with the full statement hours (25 per week) as assessed the school will not receive full funding to be able to provide a ta anyway. This is why so many of them are looking at proper training etc of the classroom teachers.

I understand you comments about the velcro ta but would try not to be too disheartened. Look at the pastoral and social care comments on OfSted etc - if these are good (we are outstanding at this) chances are your son will be in a great school that is looking out for him and trying to give him the skills to survive inthe work place post school.

english1 Sun 18-Sep-11 17:13:32

Hello RnB, do you have a recent Ed Psych report - will help you convince the LEA of the type of school and provisions your child needs and it helps when you are looking around for suitable schools placement. Ask the LEA if their Ed Psych can assess your child or you do an independent one - might cost over 500 pounds.

english1 Sun 18-Sep-11 17:16:27

the LEA will fund the provision is suitable for your child's needs may not be the best 'royalty' one but as long as you can prove that that is the only suitable one in comparison to theirs. We are in the right path. Good luck.

StitchingMoss Sun 18-Sep-11 17:20:46

As far as I am aware LEAs will only fund provision in the independent sector if it's 'specialist' provision, i.e. an independent school. If it is a mainstream fee paying school then they will say no, and I don't think you would win at tribunal either sad.

However, I left SEN 18 mths ago so things may have changed since then.

RnB Sun 18-Sep-11 20:52:53

Thank you all! Really appreciate your views and advice

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