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Which Secondary school should we choose? Help needed!

(16 Posts)
PixieOnaLeaf Sun 14-Nov-10 18:37:19

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IndigoBell Sun 14-Nov-10 19:04:18

AFAIK - to get a place ring up either the LEA or the school and find out which have vacancies.

If the school has a vacancy they have to accept your child.

As for the TA - you need a statement to get one. You can get one for health problems and no other problems. However as you know from here it's not going to be instant to get one, and in the mean time you won't be able to fund one yourself.

While you are waiting for a statmenet the school still has to look after your child.

I think you should be able to apply for a statement while your child is still in the private sector...

PixieOnaLeaf Sun 14-Nov-10 19:10:17

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Lougle Sun 14-Nov-10 19:33:30

It isn't quite as simple as 'you will need a statement to get a TA'. There is the whole SEN system within each LA, and different LAs have different funding protocols. Over-arching all of that is the Law, and the SEN Code Of Practice has to be adhered to within each LA. What this does is set down a minimum provision which LAs must provide, but some LAs are better than others for adhering to the code, and others are better for exceeding the expectations of the code.

Most LAs now use 'devolved funding' which means that they allocate schools a budget to deal with SEN based on factors such as free school meal entitlement, forces families, deprivation factors and the like, because crudely, SEN and deprivation can be linked. The idea is that not all children from deprived backgrounds will have SEN, but the children from less deprived backgrounds with SEN will make up the numbers, IYSWIM.

Some LAs have pots of money for 'Emergency funding', which is used for children who transfer into the State Sector without a Statement (such as your DD) and have extensive SEN or medical needs, or children who are already in State Sector but have a significant change in circumstances (such as a road accident leading to quadriplegia) which means that they are suddenly in need of additional support. This funding is a short-term measure, and has to be applied for termly. The intention is that it covers the period for statementing.

There are also 'School Action' and 'School Action +', which are funded out of the school's devolved SEN budget. Most schools would only be expected to provide around 20 hours support for a pupil on SA+ before a Statement would be deemed necessary. Some schools are more willing than others to make up the difference in the short-term until Statementing takes place.

With regard Statementing, bear in mind that it isn't as simple as 'full-time TA'. You will need to think carefully about what you want for your DD. If you want flexi-schooling, it will need to be written into the statement. Don't be fobbed off. It is possible to have full-time TA support with provision for them to attend your home for part of the day or week to continue your DD's education. It is possible for you to part home-school, and for that to be written into the statement. What is really important is that the law says your DD must receive a full-time education suitable for her needs. Full-time for a child of her age (12-16yrs) is 24 hours. If the LA know that she is going to be unable to manage 24 hours of contact time at school (ie. not including breaks and lunch) then they need to make arrangements for her to have a full-time education in other ways.

Lougle Sun 14-Nov-10 19:33:43

Sorry, that was long.

Lougle Sun 14-Nov-10 19:38:55

Ooooh have just seen where you live. Eeek. Will have a google, but your LA are notorious for disliking Statements.

Lougle Sun 14-Nov-10 19:42:18

Sorry, now am confused. Damn advanced search blush - have you moved? Or will you have by the time you need a school? I was talking about the 'old' LA, not the 'new' one.

PixieOnaLeaf Sun 14-Nov-10 19:51:28

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PixieOnaLeaf Sun 14-Nov-10 19:51:46

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mariagoretti Sun 14-Nov-10 21:58:59

You can get statements for medical needs but LEAs often say you can't. Don't be put off by this, but I'd seggest calling SOS:SEN or IPSEA for more specific advice asap, as you'll probably have to strop.

The hospital's education service (if your paed ward still has an allocated teacher: they're not always on-site) might know something that would help you work out suitable provision re the flexi Mondays.

I'm probably teaching my nan about egg-sucking, but Sept 2011 really isn't much time if you'll need to go to tribunal etc. It takes 6 months just to get them to say 'no' to a statement, and then the real work starts. If (when) she eventually gets her statement, it can name a preferred state school even if they're otherwise full. And it can be out-of-borough.

The TA provision is 'easy' to prove, but you'll need to show exactly why she needs it. Could you get the current prep school to document absolutely every advantage they offer and each tiny modification they have made over the years? I'd guess that like a parent, a small supportive school probably doesn't register just how much extra they do.

Lougle Sun 14-Nov-10 22:06:34

Medical needs are tricky. Technically, if a child isn't well enough to be at school, they shouldn't be at school. However, if something is so essential on such a regular basis, then I think you could argue that she would need a dedicated TA, and that TA must be recruited with a requirement that they are willing to undertake training, and deliver nebulised meds under the supervision of the school nurse, or that the school nurse delivers it.

I think you can definitely arrange for some education to be 'otherwise than at school' and I know that quite a few parents have had a TA spending some time at their home, especially children with severe SN who do split placement MS/SN. It wouldn't be any different for your DD, surely?

cricketcookie Sun 14-Nov-10 22:27:36

You could also consider bypassing the LA and offering to fund a TA yourself in the state school if they'll agree to allow them to work in their school. If the TA is appropriately qualified and checked I can't see them having a problem with this, most state schools would be more than grateful for an extra TA without having to deal with the paperwork to get one.

In theory, it's the LA's duty to fund any additional support required, but statementing does take time and it can be stressful battling for the right provision. It could be an easier way for you to ensure provision is made, if you can afford to do it.

TheCrunchyside Sun 14-Nov-10 22:40:15

Have you talked to your dd about this? I'm a big supporter of state schools but i could imagine she might feel sad to leave her friends and maybe later resent the fact she got a different education to her sister.

Is the private school selective? could they not be persuaded to adapt to her - both in terms of wheelchair access and cirriculum?

PixieOnaLeaf Sun 14-Nov-10 23:18:13

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daisysue2 Mon 15-Nov-10 15:05:11

Having experience of both State and private schools I would think very carefully about changing schools. Firstly I would start applying for a statement now. My dd was in an independent school and had a statement, they don't like doing it but it can be done. Then I would see what the local state school can offer you. Talk to other parents who have children there. It is very different from the private school and it can be very difficult to get anything although once you have the statement it makes like much easier.

We part funded a 1-1 for my dd in state school (we had done in private as well). Both times we paid the school and they paid the 1-1.

My other dd is still at an independent school and they have qualified nurses who work in the school. The state school for my other daughter just has a welfare officer probably her only training is in first aid. Just a few things to think about before changing.

My dd is much happier in state school than she ever was at the independent school. Less pressure and excellent TAs.

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 26-Nov-10 18:53:37

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