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what should i be asking when looking at schools

(4 Posts)
kittyfu Tue 28-Dec-10 16:50:36

i know i'm a horrid, horrid person for mentioning the dreaded school word during christmas break, but with all the rubbish of last year i have definatly decided to find a new school. i feel like my chest is being jumped on every time i think of next term. i'm keeping my options open this time and am going to visit as many schools as possible, starting with a special school early in the new year. but what do i look for and what kind of questions should i ask. i really dont want to mess up again.

Triggles Tue 28-Dec-10 17:02:30

I'm not sure, really, at this point. We happened to get lucky and landed in a brilliant school that fights tooth and nail for children with SNs. But just wanted to wish you the best of luck in finding a good school. I'm sure there will be plenty of good advice for you on here soon!

IndigoBell Tue 28-Dec-10 17:50:05

Very hard to say. My school is brilliant - but they did their best to put us off when we applied.

The new league tables are out. Be very suspicious of any school that has a low number of SEN students. Say anything less than 20% and I'd assume kids with SEN were being pulled out of that school.

Equally I'd be a bit suspicious of anything with very high league table results. May well be down to pressure and hot housing which wouldn't suit your DC?

Find out who their SENCO is. They vary from full time non teachers, to teachers doing it on top of their full time teaching job... Obviuosly a dedicated SENCO is the best.... (To give you an idea, ours is only a SENCO, but she only works 3 days a week)

Not sure what SN your dc has, but another factor for us was that our school had a lunchtime club for children who needed extra help at lunch play...

I don't know how you find out when looking round, but the only real diff between my new fab school and my old awful one, is the staff. All of the staff - the dinner ladies, the TAs, the teachers, and the senior staff are all good. They don't just hire any Mum who wants the job as a TA or dinner lady. Whereas at my old school they did just hire any old Mum....

So ask something about the dinner ladies and TAs - but I'm not sure how you can phrase it

Good luck. Remember, you only have to choose the best school you can based on the options you have - and the info you have.

StarlightWonderStarlightBright Tue 28-Dec-10 19:17:58

Ask to see an example of an IEP that they have written recently. Check that the targets are SMART.

Check out their flexibility. Ask questions like 'if ds had an opportunity to attend an out of school social skills group for a week would the school authorise the absence or mark him as present or refuse point blank'.

Ask about how they work with and communicate with parents. How often would you be expecting to meet with the teacher or SENCO. Do they/are they willing to communicate via email and how often.

Don't try to impress them, try to get them to impress you. Ask difficult questions if you have to because it is better to find out now than when your ds is there.

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