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Private School and SEN

(18 Posts)
mothersandsons Tue 13-Mar-18 06:48:35

Hi. I’d be very grateful for some advice.
Our LO (under 5) was put on an ISP soon after starting in his current school. We were never told that this meant he would also be placed on the school’s SEN register!

Last term the school suggested that we should have a private OT assessment done and we agreed to it (still not knowing that the LO was on the SEN register). They didn’t want to give us a ISP for that term before the OT assessment...

After the OT assessment and before even having access to the report, the school have suggested that we should pay extra for a 1:1 TA from next term. The cost of this would be equivalent to paying for an additional term each year!! We have still not been given an ISP for the last two terms now.

Is this normal? Can they do this when the SEN code states that they need to make reasonable adjustments too? Are parents expected to pay on demand...?

We feel lost. It was only after we asked that they have disclosed LO being on the SEN register. We feel disheartened by the lack of transparency and the expectation to pay on demand.

Does anyone have experience with this in a private school setting?
We are particularly interested to hear about the experience of parents with SEN children in Cumnor House, St David’s, Caterham, Reigate St Mary’s...

The cost for the TA would be in addition to weekly OT sessions (we would pay for that too). No one has an endless pot of cash!!

We are reviewing our options including whether it would be better to move him to a school that has a better set up.

mothersandsons Wed 14-Mar-18 13:13:23

Anyone...? hmm

MathematicsTutor Wed 14-Mar-18 23:24:49

It's quite common for private schools to charge for 1-1 support for SEN lessons. Some children will need more than one per week and the cost can add up. At present I'd guess they are between £15 and £30 for half an hour so the costs could add up. If you are being charged more than £360 per term for one 30 minute 1-1 lesson per week I would have a discussion with the bursar and look at other schools too.

TA support in class, if they have TAs would normally not be charged. Often prep schools will have a TA in the lower classes as standard, but not always.

However, I have taught in schools which don't normally have TAs that did charge for a TA, but shared the charge between the 3 or 4 children needing help. However, places were offered on the basis of paying for a TA so it wasn't added in later. If there is a need for a 1-1 TA, I would expect it to be charged. A TA would probably be charged out at around £9-£12 ph I expect, based on their likely hourly pay plus on costs.

I have no experience of the schools you mention, Sorry.

ProfessorSquarkAndCluck Sat 17-Mar-18 10:20:18

We had exactly what you describe (not at same school) but ended up paying for 1 to 1 TA and OT and SALT. Very expensive!

Caramelcreampie Sat 17-Mar-18 14:40:09

Yes they can, be careful if we had gone down the private route our fees would have more than doubled plus they have the right to kick out the child if they want.

You will be far better off finding a state school with a senco who is happy for you to bring in your own private OT , SALT etc as resources are scarce and a good senco will be happy for this to happen.

I know from bitter experience that private is not always the best for SEN.

Tainbri Sat 17-Mar-18 15:37:20

We paid for a private school for our DS from reception to Y2. He was very behind from the off, slowly the extras crept in and before we knew it we were paying an extra £1k for Salt, extra T/A support etc on top of the school fees. It wasn't sustainable long term. We felt it was money well spent in the early years to get the small classes and probably better support than he would have had in our local primary where there are 30 in a class. When he was eight we applied for an EHCP, which he got. We changed schools and had named (and funded) an independent specialist support school. (there are students there who are funded by their parents as well)

merlottime Sun 18-Mar-18 08:28:09

I don't know the schools from personal experience, but Caterham is notorious locally for managing out kids with SEN or who under perform academically. One boy ended up having to move schools to the school my DS attended - the shocking bit is that his dad was a teacher at Caterham. The mum told me that they didn't move their DS because they wanted to.....

I also had a neighbour who removed their child from Cumnor - not because of any SEN issues but because they didn't like the hothouse atmosphere, so at a guess I would say they may not be very supportive.

Ragusa Thu 22-Mar-18 19:26:38

Schools cannot by law charge parents for reasonable adjustments. That is not permitted.

However rhey can take cost into consideration when deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable.

Agree you will be better off in state sector. Why should you pay twice?

henstooth Tue 27-Mar-18 13:58:27

We are abroad at the moment but in a private British school and have been told we will have to pay for the extra 1 to 1 help that our DS is getting, as it's a proportion of a teacher that would otherwise be doing something else.

I just assumed that was normal, as other kids aren't getting the 1 to 1 help, so it seemed reasonable we should pay extra. Having said that, the fees here are a lot lower than a UK private, so I would probably react differently if we were back home and paying upwards of £12/13k per year plus the extra.

For us the extra will be about another 10% on top of the normal fees...

Bettybun99 Wed 02-May-18 22:47:35

I'd agree with Caramel creampie. I have a daughter at a private school who was diagnosed ASD after GCSEs. They haven't charged us but they have no expertise in SEN even though their website pretends they do. I would have moved my child to the state sector had we not been halfway through the A levels.

mothersandsons Fri 04-May-18 22:27:08

New developments... Desperately need advice/thoughts.

So after our current school advised us to pay for 1:1 in addition to the OT sessions, we started looking at other options...

LO has been to assessments at another school (twice - one short and another longer one). The SENCo there has said they are happy to offer him a place. There would be no dedicated 1:1 (they feel he does not need it and the school apparently doesn't allow it for children without EHCP). They have a SEN TA who divides her time between the children.

We are a bit confused with one school saying he needs 1:1 and another saying he doesn't. HELP! confused

MariamaMay Sun 06-May-18 06:57:04

In a state school you will not get 1:1 without an EHCP. The EHCP, if issued, will set out the provision the child needs. This must be provided by law. And funded. So if, in the EHCP, there is lots of reference to the need for 1:1 to support the child then this would need to be provided. You can request an EHCP yourself. But it’s a 20 week process. First you have to get LA to agree to assess. If you get a yes - they then assess and make decision about whether a child needs an EHCP. Be prepared to fight. My child got EHCP so that’s good but the way it’s written is not fit for purpose so I am now having to fight that. Having good evidence helps. As in good evidence about what the child’s needs are etc but LAs can be funny about accepting independent reports. Look on ipsea and sos-sen for advice.

MariamaMay Sun 06-May-18 07:03:06

Schools have to fill in a lot of paperwork and gather a lot of evidence for EHCP so they may be reluctant. Also the school has to show they have provided different support / interventions that have not worked or the LA may throw it back at the school and say they haven’t tried enough. A child will need a high level of need to get 1:1. I hope this makes sense. But look into making a parental request for an EHCP. Your local authority should have something called sendiass - this is an organisation (supposedly independent to LA) who can advise you an EHCP request / process etc.

MariamaMay Sun 06-May-18 07:05:08

If child already on a support plan this is one bit of evidence to support your request for EHCP assessment.

mothersandsons Sun 06-May-18 08:29:19

Thank you that is very helpful.

I'm confused about the decision we have to make because...

School 1 (where he is now) say they need 10 hours of 1:1 (expect us to pay for this in addition to normal fee) to help him access the curriculum. The SENCo seems very junior and is yet to meet with us... All the information and plans are coming from the head of lower school who has asked us for the 1:1 for almost a third of the time he's there. The 1:1 is being provided by 2 TAs who work part-time.

School 2 that we went to see recently, has a psychologist as a SENCo who appears to be hands on (for now at least). When asked about 1:1 needs... replied we do not offer that without EHCP plan and we do not think he needs it. They have a SEN TA who divides her time between the SEN group.

As for travel distance school 1 is 40 minute one way and school 2 is 20 minutes one way.

I'm stuck because... Is school 1 asking for all of this to gather evidence for EHCP and/or because the team is junior this is their attempt to show they're doing "something"? Is school 2 saying he does not need the 1:1 because they've only had a snapshot of him (during the assessment) and/or because they can't provide it without an EHCP?

On top of this LM has weekly OT... we are yet to establish if his OT is willing to follow him to school 2 (if we move)!

What is the "RIGHT" choice for our LM? Please help. Quite stressed and feeling drained. sadconfused

mothersandsons Sun 06-May-18 08:34:45

merlottime, which school does you LM go to please? I was thinking of making calls to check if they have places... thanks

merlottime Sun 06-May-18 10:38:58

My DS is at a sixth form college so not really relevant for your situation. I don't have experience of SEN support in preps, but I do at secondary level. I would avoid Cumnor and Caterham like the plague though as based on the experience of friends they don't really want to deal with the additional needs of SEND kids.

mothersandsons Sun 06-May-18 16:37:02

Tainbri, which school does your LO go to please?

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