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How to persuade DS that a change of school is in his best interests

(8 Posts)
unicornonabicycle Fri 17-Nov-17 18:32:17

DS is in year 5. He has SEN and has been in a mainstream school from the word go. We've only recently got a diagnosis and an EHCP.

He's just been offered a place in a special school which is focussed on his particular needs and is, amazingly, on our doorstep. DS has just spent two "trial days" at the school and we've had detailed feedback about their ability to support him. DH and are are absolutely convinced that it is the right place for him.

DS wants to stay at his current school until the natural transition at the end of year 6. We've been told by his current school that he is unlikely to achieve the expected level in SATS for year 6, but have been told by the special school that there is no reason why he shouldn't achieve that level given the right support, as he is academically bright. We don't want to leave him to stagnate where he is - and for all that his current school is trying its best, we simply don't feel it has the skillset to support his needs.

My worry is how we persuade DS that the change is a good idea. I know that, as his parents, we get to decide and we can just make him change school, but he has been through an awful lot of change in the last two years that was not of his choosing or making and I don't want to force this on him without his agreement. Does anyone have any insights into persuading a child that a change is a good thing?

everymummy Sun 19-Nov-17 12:40:10

Hi Unicorn, I've got my own lonely post on this board as we are about to move DS to a specialist school for Y4. He has very severe dyslexia and although very happy in a lovely school with a close-knit group of friends, he won't be able to access the curriculum without well-informed help. There is no doubt in my mind that we will just take the decision for him.

I do appreciate he's younger than your DS but i want to ensure he has the chance to fulfil his academic potential. I am also concerned that even though the school have done everything to ensure he doesn't feel like he's the one who can't do stuff, the educational psychologist told me he had admitted he did a bit already. In the long term this will affect his self-esteem.

My view is also coloured by the decision my parents made to allow me to choose between two schools at 16. I chose the one all my friends went to instead of taking the place I got at an academically excellent one. I still look back and think what an idiot I was and wonder why didn't they make me choose the better one (in their defence I was pretty vile at the time).

I would offer a big bribe if you can, just get him in there, his education is more important and if you and your DH are convinced it's the right place for him then it's a done deal.

unicornonabicycle Sun 19-Nov-17 15:21:06

Thanks everymummy. I was wondering whether the Xbox that he has been wanting for a long time might win him round. Hate the thought of doing that, but I also hate the thought of "making" him go. The reason I'm being quite so cautious is that I think it may be a while before he really settles in at the new school - he's been coasting on the "I can't do that so there's no point in trying" platform for a while. The new school won't let him do that because they've got specialist teachers who will help him to do the things he thinks he can't do. In time, I think it will be rewarding and he will be happy, but the adjustment is going to be hard and if he feels we forced him, I fear he will be resentful.
My mother was - is - very controlling and I may well give him more autonomy than is good for him so that I am not like her....

...shall discuss bribery with DH!

Good luck with your son. Yes, do move him while his self esteem is still rescuable - I think that's half the problem with my boy - we have really only got a diagnosis in the last few months after years of assessments and investigations - and a bum steer from an OT in Year 1 who ruled out the thing he's eventually been diagnosed with. Grrrr! Hope things go well for you.

unicornonabicycle Sun 19-Nov-17 15:34:16

Just re-thinking the bribe: maybe a cool trip during the few days of extra holiday that he'd get in January.....would be fun for all the family, don't have to have fights over the Xbox!

everymummy Tue 21-Nov-17 12:56:21

Good idea Unicorn, don't think of it so much as a bribe, more of a reward for being flexible and open-minded about the future!

Msqueen33 Thu 30-Nov-17 13:12:19

My dd is 7 and in year 3. She has an ehcp and a diagnosis of asd and ADHD. She’s okay at her current mainstream with ft 1:1 but we’re thinking of moving her to a Specialist sch for children with HFA. Purely because we know our local secondary isn’t an option so the sooner we move her the more settled she can get. It’s not a local school and her sister who she’s very close with will stay at her current school but we need for her to fulfil her potential. She’s a smart kid being hampered by an overwhelming environment. We’re selling the school to her. Because she is very aware she’s autistic but if there’s something he really wants I’d use that as something to entice him. A friend has left her child at our mainstream and now is trying to get them into a Sen provision when really he should have been moved a long time ago. It’s hard as we know our dd is okay where she is but long term for her the gap will widen and mentally it could cause damage.

Shybutnotretiring Thu 30-Nov-17 14:00:56

DS had 5 fairly awful years at mainstream before moving to a special school this September. Sod's law the last year in mainstream was the one where he got things together socially and had some really nice friends (when preceding years were a sorry tale of stormy, sometimes violent 'friendships' and ostracism). But apart from that, behaviourally and academically the whole 5 years were a write off. Now happily settled at special school admittedly he still asks about people/children at his old school which gives me a bit of a wrench but overall I wish he'd gone to his current school 2 years ago (they start at key stage 2). For DS mainstream secondary definitely wasn't going to be viable - he still can't really read. As you say perhaps best to get some settling in time ahead of secondary. I also wonder if it's easier to get the school of your choice (if you've chosen an independent special school) when it's NOT one of the more usual transition points. What I mean is, DS moved into special school for year 5. The LA would love to have found cheaper options but they were all full. I wonder if you leave it till the big secondary transition everyone is moving so more wriggle room for the LA to choose where they want to send your child and harder work for you to prove that the school you don't want can't meet needs? Just a thought really, not trying to scare anyone into thinking that they need to move before secondary!

tanjanavarro Wed 14-Feb-18 21:12:15

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