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Is private or state school better for SEN

(20 Posts)
mrspizza Mon 27-Feb-17 05:30:24

My son has been diagnosed with autism. Don't know what to do or how to do now. EHCP is not done yet. Is private or state school has better SEN support in general?


Alfieisnoisy Mon 27-Feb-17 06:00:37

Hello there, my son is 14 and was diagnosed with autism, ADHD and dyspraxia at age 7.

A lot will depend on how academic your son is and how difficult or not a private school would be for you financially,

Definitely the state sector have much greater input in the primary years and my experience of this has been good. My son was extremely well supported during those years. However I have spoken to others who haven't had the same experience.

Secondary school was a nightmare for my son, even the smallest school in the town was too big. Coupled with a SENCO who was lovely but totally ineffectual.

I went to war with the local authority (or at least that's what it felt like) and my son is now in a special school and thriving. However he won't be doing GCSEs there as they just don't offer those. He may not have reached those even in mainstream.

When I was looking at the private sector (I could have fought the local authority for a private placement if no state provision could be found) I found relatively few special schools local to me. The ones I did find looked fantastic though.

I am hoping someone who has used private schools will post here and tell you their experiences. But for me the State sector was fantastic...up until secondary provision.

BackforGood Mon 27-Feb-17 20:11:41

IME, Private schools around here won't accept dc with SEN (I presume you are talking about 'mainstream' private schools and not specialist provision?). I work in the Pre-school sector now and we come across lots of families that are "advised" by the private schools that they will "get better provision" in a state school sad

How old is your ds ?

mrspizza Tue 28-Feb-17 00:46:04

My son is 3 and we live in oversea currently due to work. We are planning to move back London while he is at the age of Primary school. Thought Uk sen support must be lot better than where we are, but seems that it involves of lots of fighting with LA after reading the thread here ;(.

Alfieisnoisy Tue 28-Feb-17 07:26:40

I think in Primary school you will have less problems. Most primary schools manage children with SEN very well because of smaller number so far children.

My advice would be to find a state run nursery/pre-school when you first get back here as they will do a very thorough assessment of educational needs. Once you've got that it will give you a better idea of what support your son needs to acccess the curriculum. If your DS is school age then a mainstream school will do exactly the same.

There are a few schools run by the National Autistic Society which are supposed to be excellent and run privately. However, if your child's needs cannot be met in the state sector (mainstream or special school) then local authorities can and do fund places at them.

There are also special schools around which might suit him. Often places are at a premium and this is why there tends to be a lot of fighting with the local authority. The special school my son attends is excellent with him and he has come on in leaps and bounds with them. But yes...I had to fight for that placement as the LEA default position seems to be "mainstream is best".

mrspizza Tue 28-Feb-17 15:17:49

When it comes to mainstream primary school, do SEN students integrate with normal kids in same classroom? Or they will get pulled out in class for all SEN kids only until they are ready to go back to mainstream classroom. Thanks

Alfieisnoisy Tue 28-Feb-17 15:37:52

They generally stay in the same classroom as much as possible with support if needed. My son had a 1-1 learning support assistant with him during his early years at school and she stayed pretty much around all his junior school years.

Some schools have autism hubs where children can go to at lunchtime or for extra lessons in social skills...they would come away from the classroom on those occasions but they try to keep all children together where possible,

user1466518624 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:49:38

Please be very careful with Private Schools. I know from bitter experience that they can convince you that they are for you, promise you the world to get your money and just throw your child out on a whim as they decide they cannot meet your child's needs. Also some will expect you to provide extra help or employ a TA and your fees could easily which in my area could easily amount to around £30,000 a year. There is a school near me with a separate SEN area which costs £5000 a term on top of fees. If the Indie is only at Primary level you will also need to be mindful of whether there will be provision in the Indie sector for Senior School and if the school does have Seniors whether your child would have automatic entry or you could find yourselves high and dry.

I am not saying avoid Private at all costs or to be the voice of doom but I am just saying to be very careful. Private schools generally will expect your child to fit in with them whereas State with good provision will be mindful and obliged to meet your little ones needs. Personally we went for a tiny rural state school and it has been amazing!

user1466518624 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:53:55

Just to add as well in most Indies a lot of time is spent outside the classroom with specialist teachers which your son may not react well to. If you do get an ECHP State will be legally obliged to follow it. If I were to go down the Private route I would want if something existed some kind of contract that they would honour the ECHP.

mrspizza Fri 03-Mar-17 14:07:09

Thanks all! Very good advice

hatchypomagain Fri 03-Mar-17 14:13:07

I think it depends on the school, the support required and the type of SEN. I have 3 in private education, 2 with SEN (deafness) we spent a long time finding the appropriate school for them (non-selective at the early stage, engaging teachers, good SENCO, and small classes).

We also managed to get EHCPs completed in the schools and the additional support required is covered in this and the schools have gone beyond supporting the requirements of the EHCP, we pay the fees, but materials, TA support, technology are all covered by the EHCP.

I know private schools get a bad reputation for SEN, I guess I'm just saying that not all SEN or schools are the same. We spent months interviewing the schools to find ones that fitted.

mrspizza Sat 04-Mar-17 16:48:43

When I disclose sen to primary school, would state school have right to reject to take in my kid ? (Assuming I don't have EHCPs yet)

And in choosing mainstream schools, where can I find the school list that providing ranges of sen support? There r some private school search company specialize in Sen .. is it a reliable source?

TheNoodlesIncident Mon 06-Mar-17 22:54:29

You don't apply to the school exactly, you tell the LA of the area that you are moving to that you will require a school place. They are legally obliged to offer a place for your dc but it might not be at the school you would prefer. Infant classes are limited in numbers - 30 or fewer - so if your preferred school is full you would be allocated a place in a school that was undersubscribed.

Schools vary a lot with the quality of their SEN provision; some are very inclusive and will try their hardest to give the best support they can for your child, others will hope that you will look elsewhere. I found that schools with a reputation for being academic were the least interested in educating children with SEN. They cannot refuse to take your child if they have a space and you want your child to go there, but their lack of enthusiasm will almost certainly have a negative impact on your child, i.e. they might not provide the support your child needs in the hope that you will remove them.

Generally your best bet is to try to find a setting with a reputation of good SEN provision, and for that I would want to ask around parents of children with SN for school recommendations. All schools have a SEN policy which will be on their website, but whether you could trust what they say they will provide is debatable.

If you know which area you will be moving to, you should be able find support groups set up for parents of children with SN.

Mike8791 Tue 07-Mar-17 08:11:34

My son has SEN and an EHCP. I wasn't sure whether you are referring to mainstream independent v state mainstream, in which case you might struggle to get an independent named. If you're paying yourself, you'll be looking at much smaller class sizes etc but each school differs anyway with its ethos and what it provides. Many can be academically "pushy" and of course can choose their own admission policies. My son goes to an independent "special" school because of his Sen. It is named on his EHCP. Many aspects are good but on occasions we do find specific provision hard to get implemented as it is outside of the LA remit, even though the EHCP is legally binding.

Mike8791 Tue 07-Mar-17 08:13:12

One other thing, contact your local SENDIS service for a list of schools and specific advice on your local authority procedures.

Comingupcabbages Tue 07-Mar-17 08:16:48

For my dd it is the private sector, we tried three state schools and were misled into thinking that she would have better support there.
She was bullied very badly in two and the third just left her to her own devices.

She gets excellent pastoral care in her school now and has stayed in the private sector since the age of seven.

All depends on schools though and LA.

mrspizza Tue 07-Mar-17 15:35:59

Where I can ask around parents of children with Sen for school ? Any forum set by location here ?

Tainbri Wed 08-Mar-17 11:29:55

Unless it's a mainstream school, the specialist schools tend to either be generic or dealing with spLD such as dyslexia, ASD etc. Your best bet is to get a list off the relevant local authority or do a search with regards to specific needs and do your own research. Unfortunately it is a lot of leg work and very exhausting.

Tainbri Wed 08-Mar-17 11:30:23

You could try the SEN education board on here through!!

fractalview Tue 12-Dec-17 08:47:17

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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