Hi, I've started to look at options for my 9 year old daughter for secondary school. She is at the moment in a MS primary school with a statement and a full time one to one assistant. She has severe learning difficulties and I'm sure she also has PDA, although not diagnosed yet. The thought of her going to MS secondary terrifies me to be honest for many reasons. I'm not sure she'd fit in a special school either. I've been reading about the Steiner school and it does seem a good option. They already have a child with a statement. I just wanted to know if she would still be funded for a one to one worker in the school if we were to pay the basic fees? I'm just weighing up all the options now, as then we can go and have a look at some schools. It's been a bit of a worry, so I'm hoping it'll help me to feel a bit brighter about the future.
You need to check with the school. My understanding is that the funding for the support laid out in the statement is paid for by the LEA regardless of what school your child goes to. So you could send your child to an independent school and pay the fees and then the 1:1 support would be an additional cost paid for by the LEA. This would be dependent on the school agreeing.
I really don't think you have a hope OP. ds1 had speech therapy when he was 3. They told me to make sure he'd had it before he started at his (private) school because the NHS SALT wouldn't help him in his school. Similarly, we have some SN children at school and they all have to pay for their additional help, some of them paying for one on one help (ie paying the full salary of their one on one help). The council won't countenance paying for help for SN kids in private school where we live.
It's very similar to seeking private medical help and then finding you can't access the NHS.
MLL - if your DD has a statement then whatever school the LA sends her to has to be able to meet her needs. You are entitled to name any school on the statement and the LA can only refuse in three situations:
-the school is not suitable for her age or aptitude (e.g. you ask her to be placed at a primary school for secondary stage, or a grammar school when she has SLD, or a special school for severe learning difficulties when she only has mild learning difficulties), or is incompatible with the efficient education of other children (e.g. the child has severe behaviour issues in MS school and these can't be reduced sufficiently by extra support/provision).
-the school cannot meet her needs (e.g. she has sensory integration therapy involving ceiling mounted equipment but the school doesn't have that equipment and it isn't possible to provide it; she uses a wheelchair and self-propels but the school site is huge and essential facilities are based at the top of a hill and can't be moved)
-the cost of the school named by you is not a good use of resources, because they can provide suitable education at a school that is much cheaper.
To get Lucy to a private school, you'd have to convince the LA that you'd have the resources to pay the school fees for that stage of education (5 years) and that the school is suitable for her. Then, you'd have to convince them that it would be no more costly than an alternative placement with 1:1. Lastly, you'd have to convince them that the school would be willing to have a child with her needs and a 1:1.
If you want the LA to fund the school, you need to show that the maintained provisions (the schools the LA runs) are unsuitable for her.
Thanks everyone. I haven't looked at any schools yet. We will be looking at the two special schools in our area as well as one state secondary.
To be honest, I think we will probably end up going for one of the special schools as they are so knowledgeable. It does concern me a bit though as she is a real mimic! She also doesn't know she has special needs, but can see it in others. She might wonder why she's at a special school.
Lots of children at special schools do, MLL. It just takes a bit of time and explanation. My DD1 has speech difficulties, but is verbal. She commented that someone 'blows raspberries' and is rude. We had a talk about how blowing raspberries is only rude if you can talk but if it's your way of talking, then it's not rude.
MLL, you really need some basic advice. Have a look at the IPSEA and SOS SEN websites.
TBH, I'd be quite concerned about sending a child with severe learning difficulties and probable PDA to a Steiner school. Nothing against them, but I suspect you need something quite a lot more specialist.
I would go and look at the 2 special schools tbh. Is it possible to move at all? Our area has many, many special schools which mean they can cater much better for different needs because they can specialise.
That said, if children have needs that cannot be met by the LA special schools then children are educated in schools that do meet their needs, independent or outside the LA. I think it's becoming much harder to get that though, due to funding cuts.
We moved our daughter from MS to a special school having thought that she would find a special school frustrating and isolating. We were utterly wrong, and only when she'd started at a wonderful supportive school able to meet her needs did we realise what a strain keeping her in MS had been on us all.
Our LA will fund the statemented 1 to 1 hours in a private school if the parent pays the school fees. I know because I helped a parent secure this situation for her dc. I suspect that the reason the LA were happy to do this was that the child's current placement was on the verge of breakdown and in our LA the option would be an enhanced resource placement or an independent specialist school both of which would cost more than the child's 15hr statement. If I'm honest I would probably advise you to look at the special schools tbh as I suspect that a Steiner school is probably not the place for Lucy.
My DD's paediatrician has said that we would be able to access exactly the same support through HE as we would through a state school, and that she would help us do so when/if it became relevant (she is only 2 so it will be a while!).
That would indicate you can get it in a private school too, wouldn't it? Can you ask the school? If they have another statemented child they have probably been through all this before and are more likely to know what is available.