HELP - at a crossroads and have NO idea what to do.(12 Posts)
Hi...can somebody please offer some constructive advice? It's long I'm afraid.
DD(5) was recently diagnosed with ASD (Aspergers). She turned 5 in September and should have started school but after being unsuccessful with our first 3 choices we refused the school that the LEA offered us as it has recently just come out of special measures and frankly not somewhere we want DD to attend. After discussing the wait list with one particular school we were hopeful that a place would arise there before the October half term. It has not transpired.
We returned from Australia in July after being out there for a few months and missing out on school application deadlines was the reason we didn't get offered our choices because all the places had been offered and accepted. DD's diagnosis process had already started in January before we left for Australia and it was restarted after we returned to the UK. After receiving the LEA's offer I have been in regular telephone contact with the admissions team from the beginning of term and since to check on DD's place on the waiting lists of the schools she was unsuccessful at. It was during one of these phone calls that the lady told me I could have appealed right up until a certain date (which had already passed) and that if we had mentioned in our application that DD was going through the diagnosis process then an appeal wouldn't have been necessary as there would have been a strong likelihood that she would have been prioritised and received one of our 3 choices.
(I'm just giving some history here so that I don't drip feed.)
Another couple of phone calls later and I find out that actually I should be making contact with the Special Educational Needs team in order that DD be considered for a statement. This was about 6 weeks before DD was officially diagnosed and it was advised by the local SEN team we should wait for the final report from the hospital before formally requesting an assessment as DD wasn't in school and is currently being home educated at the moment. She did say we could have put in a formal request then but it would have nothing to back it up so we followed her advice and waited.
Still been checking the wait lists and DD has not moved up on any of the lists, unusually for one particular school.
The hospital sends in their reports to the SEN team and I put a formal request in writing for an assessment. In the second half of November we received 2 visits from the Ed Psych to decide whether to make an assessment and the panel met last Wednesday to decide on whether or not they will Statement DD. The Ed Psych states that DD has sensory, social and communication issues and personal welfare issues however is extremely bright and would benefit from a challenging curriculum. (I also don't like the way the report was worded as it negatively portrays DD from a personal angle rather then discussing education challenges but I guess that's my issue.) The decision we received yesterday is that they will not statement her at this point in time as they feel they have insufficient information from a classroom setting. They have recommended we take up the place they offered us at the under performing school and put DD on the School Action + plan advising that they may not have to do anymore than that after monitoring DD for a while. The ofsted report states that this school has an above average amount of children with SEN and they meet minimal expectations for progress. The school is now scoring 3's as opposed to 4's until earlier in the year.
DH and I have so many doubts, questions and are wracked with guilt over this situation and I have rang Partnership with Parents who have a weeks leadtime to respond to our query in this area and the NAS for advice, who again will get back to us 'soon'. We feel that DD is being hugely failed but is it by ourselves or the LEA? We can't find any information on what to do from here. We feel our options are this:
Send DD to the under performing school
Home educate for the foreseeable future
Is there another avenue we can contact for further advice and support? I can't explain how upset we are about not being informed of our right to appeal by a certain date for a school place and now feeling we are being forced into accepting a place at a sub standard school before the SEN will consider assessing DD's needs. This year has been a nightmare and to be perfectly frank I feel WE are failing DD more than anyone but I don't know where to start resolving it.
Any constructive help would be really appreciated. (Be gentle!)
Have you been round the school? Been in classrooms? Met the teachers, the head, seen the other children, seen the school in action? You won't get any idea of what the school is like unless you go round it and absorb yourself in it. All the black and white info you get is just one of the things you need to bear in mind and often don't represent a school 100% The fact it is in special measures is a good thing and they are being watched and have to step up. OUr school as higher than average special needs, but you know what, it hardly makes a difference, eg: school nativity today, the children with special educational needs were all up there singing, doing the actions and having fun. The LEA are doing what they can with the timings you have presented them with, they can't do anymore unless she is in a school where she can be assessed and monitored. She will never get statemented without this and she may not even need statementing, several children in our school with SEN needs are not statemented as they don't need to be. Remember you may have been unsuccessful without her special educational need, just because a child has a need it does not push them futher up the list (well it doesn't where I am - it's siblings, then catchment)
If I were you I would get her into school ASAP, from the social aspect, making friends, being part of a class etc etc are all really important. I have a child now in Y6 and one in Y1 and the one is Y6 is severley dyslexic and after 7 years at school, sometimes good, sometimes bad he is doing really really well, he grew up and into himself a lot and got the support he needed when he needed it. You can have all the instant answers and issues resolved right now, it does not work like that, you have to start at the beginning and work from there. Time is what you need, and being in school gives you that time to work out what she does and does not need.
You are only going to get into your school of choice now, if some pupils move schools/leave the area and you could be waiting forever for that to happen, so I would get her into the school and stop getting hung up and it being a 'failing school' and help it to become better, being successful at school is half your job to eg: supporting your child at home.
Stop with the 'what if's - if only's' and concentrate on the 'what now' to get your daughter into school and having a fun time, enjoying education. I recking you will look back in Y6 and think it was the best decision you ever made.
PS: also because a school is perceived as being better has no actual bearing on additional help for a child, the system is the same whichever school you are at, the LEA has a legal responsibility to provide additional support for your child where it is needed and being at School Action Plus when she starts is great.
Thanks for your reply. We have seen the school previously and know its not a school we want DD to attend.
My eldest is 20yrs old, I have a DD in secondary and have had to compromise on schools in the past when we have been unsuccessful in gaining a place in whatever school.
The 'what-ifs' and the 'if-onlys' are part of us trying to accept what is going on with our DD, recounting the path of how we got here, talking it over and over to learn acceptance. She was only diagnosed a few weeks ago and we have not got our heads round it yet and whilst some people we know really don't know what all the fuss is about we are still in a state of shock I think, about the diagnosis. We will get there but for the moment our 'what now' is taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture over christmas and work out a plan from there. Hence me enquiring about advice and support here for us to mull over along with everything else over christmas.
Can you explain why you don't like the school? On balance, do you think you are equipped to deal with her issues at home more than a school setting? i appreciate you have a lot to take in and deal with, but you can still request a transfer even if she goes to the under performing school, but you won't get one unless a child leaves. I don't think the LEA are forcing you into a sub standard school, they have systems in place with Government legislation and with the timings you presented them with, they have done their job. Do you know the entry criteria for each school/lea and did you fit any of these? I think keeping contact with the LEA and Parent Partnership is all you can do until if and when a space becomes available. If I were you I would get her in after Xmas and get the ball rolling, you will have a much better understanding if her needs in school and educational requirements once she is in that environment and can be fully assessed over time. Reading between, the lines and forgive me if I am wrong, but it sounds like you want her to go to your first choice school because he recently diagnosis should bump her to the top of the list, but it does not work like that. I don't think you are going to get the answer you want from any person or organisation. I wish you well with it all.
Thanks for your post carocaro. You are wrong in your assumption that we want her to go to our first choice school, we have never received our first choice school for any of our children at any stage in their school life so don't have expectations of ever receiving first choice. In fact our eldest daughter attends independent secondary now because, again by not receiving any of our first 3 choices, they offered us a place at a secondary school that is in special measures. Our eldest attended the same school 7 years ago and was taken out after 18 months for all the reasons that still exist today in that school.
Our concern is sending DD to a school that, for our own legitimate reasons, we don't want her to attend. We KNOW there are no reception places in any of the six other schools in our area and it is certainly not a case of pushing DD up to the top of the list by stealth. We, as you have pointed out twice now, are responsible for the timings we have presented the LEA as a result of our own personal circumstances but that doesn't mean I have to be happy and accept with what is given to us. To suggest that we want to use our DD's recent diagnosis as leverage just to get her into our first choice school is insulting to be honest and I'm quite that you have suggested it. As it stands our first choice is not appropriate now. Our DD's welfare is the most important issue to us and we are not prepared to put her into a school to wait and see what happens when we feel she will not be properly supported there from day one.
My original question was if there were any other avenues we could contact for advice or support in our situation because we felt we were failing DD. You have suggested keeping in contact with the LEA and Parent Partnership which is great, thank you.
I did not come onto this board 'looking for the answer I want'. I came onto this board because its always appeared to me that understanding, sympathetic parents want to support and help each other and not being able to contact any other official agency I thought a parent may be able to offer some guidance, even if it was just a keep doing what you are at the moment.
Thanks, I appreciate that. But you just sounded like you wanted to have a place beacuse of the diagnosis, just came across that way. I can understand the disappointment and frustration, I am on pins as we have applied for secondary schools for DS1 and will find out in March and of course want our first choice. And of course you have to fight/push as far and hard as you can, I applied for IPF funding 5 times for eldest with dyslexia and just got it in Y6 and it is great. (we paid for private weekly tuition for the past 4 years). All you can do is watch and wait. You did ask which option to go for home educate or take up offered place also, to which I replied. Good luck, I really hope you get a good outcome.
I wish I could be of more help but my Resident DSD is 12 , in SS and only just got her Dx of AS.
Hoping to bump this up for you .
i take it you are waiting for a call back from the legal/education dept of the NAS? have they called you back?
when they do, maybe have a written account of what's happened so far, so you are clear as to what's gone on. they are very good, and the person who called me before was an excellent resource.
sorry i can't answer any more of your questions, i know nothing of the legal side, but will hold your hand and support you during this...
maybe pop over to the SN childrens section too?
Sorry, I don't know much about the technical side but would think you might eb able to appeal or make an officla complaint, about not being told there was a deadline for appealing?
I'm an aspie myself and my son is as well, so I've been at both ends of this problem. Do not panic!
If you are definitely not happy with the school (my son's happiest school times were at a school other people wouldn't have gone near), then do wait. Your daughter is very young and it won't harm her to be at home.
When my sons were 7 and 8 I took them both out, due to their school not being suitable (inc personal safety issues) and home educated them for most of the rest of their school age. There are lots of children with aspergers who thrive on being home educated, because it removes so many of the stresses caused by school, while reinforcing their self-esteem and feeding their skills at home.
I'm not saying you should home ed forever, but there is nothing wrong with doing it for now. It could be a great opportunity for you all to come to terms with her diagnosis, come together as a family and take time out to see where you want to go from here.
I'm with Dame Margot on moving it to SN - perhaps report it to MNHQ and have it moved ?
Please do correct me if I have got this wrong, but you said in your OP that you missed out on the deadlines for school applications which was the reason you could not get your DD a place at any of the three choices you had originally requested? I would keep ringing PP and the LEA and also the NAS to see what your options are. If I look at your two options that you have set out-
a) Home Schooling.
b) Taking up the offered place...
I would, personally at least, give the School a chance. Remember, as carocaro said, the social aspect of your DD actually being at a school and interacting with other children, adults and accessing learning in a hitherto unfamiliar way might help immensely. It will be a positive step that will enable the LEA to assess her in a setting that children are generally observed, when it comes to social interaction, play, communication, etc... it might even lead them to get her on the Panel for a SEN Statement.
Again, a Statement is not always necessary, and a Dx is, if it recognises all her difficulties, her specific needs and seems fine (though a huge shock right now) to you n your DP, is the right way forward.
Don't beat yourself up about it, don't play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with 'blame' and 'yourselves', agencies like 'LEA', 'Schools' etc being the tail!!
... its futile and a waste of POSITIVE ENERGY. Channelise your energy into trying to talk to your DP, your older children (only if YOU like), and having a family meeting about what should be done...IMHO, your DD should be away when this happens,
if it does ideally having a day out with any of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters if possible!!?
She is just starting on her journey of learning, and a diagnosis of Aspergers is NOT the reason to deny her a wholesome, positive experience like School Life ! The Nursery Years ar the foundation, if you ask me!
Go on, embrace the situation and take it in as positive a way as you can- you can always change your mind later if things don't work like you thought- whether you home-school her or send her to the School your LEA has offered, things can be addressed and issues resolved later. The key is NOT to waste TIME!!
Best wishes, and All the very best of Luck.
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