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A Cautionary Tale on Private Schools for SEN

(6 Posts)
bella70 Mon 23-May-16 11:27:47

I don't want to scare everyone or tar all private schools with the same brush but please be careful with private schools for SEN.
My DS has mild speech delay and the private nursery leading to reception promised us the world and we have spent a fortune on his SALT and Paed reports to satisfy the SENCO and Headmaster who assured us the school was the best place for him etc etc etc. Out of the blue on Saturday we got a letter saying the Reception place offer had been withdrawn as the speech activities are too time consuming for the staff and they will not be able to support his needs.
Luckily a small village school nearby still has places so we had to make a late application, they have been lovely and welcoming and said this is not the first time this has happened. We still have a months uncertainty but the school think we will be ok. Other private schools have said he will be welcome but naturally I am very cautious.
All schools put the SENCO policies on their website and are keen to take your money but please be cautious and if you can speak to parents within the school with SEN. I requested this and was fobbed off.

Muddledmike Wed 22-Jun-16 08:20:07

Agree. Sharp learning curve for us too. It shows the importance of the holy grail of EHCP protection. Without the leverage of the LA we wouldn't stand a chance, let alone afford it. Our daughters independent (SpLD school) charges over 50k a year. Because it's not maintained it can chose its criteria and move the goal posts. You may have been told everything you want to hear about their amazing asd understanding, but if they suddenly decide your child is "too autistic", it's your child's fault so on your bike.

Want2bSupermum Wed 22-Jun-16 08:26:26

I'm here in the US and private is the absolute last place you want to be for the majority of SEN. There are 'private' facilities that only cater to disabilities such as the blind, the deaf and extreme behavioral and developmental issues but they receive a lot of state funding and you can pretty much only get in if the child is referred by the school district.

blackcurrants Wed 22-Jun-16 14:25:20

This was our experience, too. We put DS1 was in a private school (in US) because DH works there and we got a decent deal - plus, the school pressured us to send DS1, encouraged us, wooed us in fact.
DS1 has ADHD and SPD - diagnosed, we went in with all the facts, gave all reports, made suggestions - and they complained about DS1 (often to his face!) until DS1 was crying and saying he wouldn't go to school because "He was such a bad boy" angry and he "couldn't be good there." angry

We pulled him from there last march (2015) and put him in the state school, where instead of small class sizes he got a 1-to-1 aide and regular OT sessions to help with his poor fine motor strength, and he absolutely bloomed.

DH works for a different private school now, and they were more upfront about what they could and could not do for DS1, and the private school's SEN co-ordinator actually said that DS1 would do better getting more services in state schools for a few more years than attending there.
This made me respect the place considerably more!
The first private school had falling numbers and wanted to pad classrooms, but couldn't actually meet his needs and ended up destroying his confidence. It was awful.

DS2 is neurotypical and we're thinking of sending him to DH's current private school as the preK will be cheaper than daycare and much nicer, but I'm keeping DS1 at his current local state school until we feel confident that another place can meet his particular needs as well as our local school.

Want2bSupermum Wed 22-Jun-16 15:24:06

Hello blackcurrants. Great to see you back.

DS is now 3 and we welcomed DD2 at the end of March. We moved to hoboken and its been an excellent decision. DS has a shared aide and is in an ABA class. He has speech twice a week and PT once. There are only 6 kids in his class. It's expensive to educate this way but it's really worth it. DS is 3 and reading. The meltdowns are still there but slowly becoming more managable.

blackcurrants Wed 22-Jun-16 15:34:23

Hello Want2 Congrats on DD2! I love Hoboken! We lived there for 3 years until DS1 was 1 year old, we absolutely loved it and I still miss it.

I have my own SEN stresses with DS1, I think I'm going to start my own thread rather than hijack this one.

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