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Private school and SEN

(25 Posts)
weakestlink Fri 05-Aug-11 18:39:53

We are currently waiting to see consultant for diagnosis of suspected ASD for DS1 (3).

We were hoping DS would go to our local prep school where I went myself and class sizes are around 15. His name is down to start next September (2012).

Assuming they feel they can cope with DS I was wondering if he does go on to require a statement if help can be provided within the private school (eg. 1:1 hours) or if by choosing to privately educate him it will mean the LEA are no longer responsible for providing extra help?

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 05-Aug-11 19:08:58

I'm not sure. At our local private school they had no access to LA advisory teachers or EPs and the parents of one boy were paying extra for his 1:1. But I don't know if that's universal. LAs will pay for private SS if they are the only option. I'd guess you would be on your own. I know of 2 children who left their pretty expensive pre prep to go into the state system due to SEN.

weakestlink Fri 05-Aug-11 19:25:25

That's pretty much what I thought...

Ah well there are some nice local primary schools just would have been lovely for DS to go to 'my' school!

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 05-Aug-11 19:55:58

Check it out, though, Weakestlink. I'm not sure of the ins and outs.

IndigoBell Fri 05-Aug-11 20:01:14

Also check out how welcoming of SN kids the private school is.

Many, many aren't.

Most kids with ASD don't need or get a statement.......

zzzzz Fri 05-Aug-11 20:01:27

I think it is very unlikely [though I am not sure of the rationale on this] that you can receive 1.1 on the state in a prep school. However they certainly have access to Early years stuff at the nursery stage and can ask for help from outside agencies. I think it is more usual for parents to arrange private assessment/therapy at private school.
I've pm'd you with our experiences of both, because otherwise dh will give me the blurting everything out on the internet talk again. grin

Curlyfrizzball Fri 05-Aug-11 20:33:45

Yes, it is possible. I have known of statemented children in prep school. However, if he has needs but not sufficient for statement or the school feel he needs more than the statement would cover, they will very likely ask you to pay for the support. Do check though, as I think each school has their own rules, (and willingness to accept kids with sen).
They should be able to access health professionals, though there may be some restrictions on how much and how it is delivered. Again this varies depending where you are. I am a speech therapist and in my area, we don't go into private schools, but kids can come to us in clinic in the holidays for reviews. Not so sure about EPs and other education based services.
Basically you need to check with the individual school.
Good luck with the assessments and hope you find a good school for your ds, whichever one it turns out to be!

zzzzz Fri 05-Aug-11 20:38:01

Curlyfrizzball ~Can I ask why you don't go into private schools but you do go into state schools? Genuinely curious.

castlesintheair Fri 05-Aug-11 20:41:19

Yes it's possible but depends on the school. My friend's DS had one but he started in MS primary and moved end of Year 1 to private and took full statement with him. It also depends on your DS's ability within the spectrum, for example, I believe prep schools can be more accommodating of high functioning ASD such as Aspergers.

LIZS Fri 05-Aug-11 20:41:43

It is possible theoretically but could be only if you get it before he starts or by the time he turns 5. After that some LA's will say he isn't their responsibility and amke it mroe difficult to get assessments funded. Also some private schools are quick to ask you to remove children for whom the extent of the problems are perhaps not evident until later, who may be perceived as disruptive to others or ask you to fund support.

nojustificationneeded Fri 05-Aug-11 20:43:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Curlyfrizzball Sat 06-Aug-11 06:22:01

Zzzzz - I don't really know - can only assume it's something to do with funding. I think we have a contract with the lea to go into state schools, but I'm not sure - I don't make the rules!
Fwiw, I think it's a stupid rule, and it's also one I ignore at times; I'm just reporting that that's the policy around here!

zzzzz Sat 06-Aug-11 11:31:34

Curly of course you don't make the rules. I genuinely was interested. I was just taking the oportunity to ask someone who would definitely know the answer! Thank you.

I find it odd that the LA can wash their hands of so many children, and feel it is silly too. I think in my area that outside agencies do go in to private schools, but presumably this is yet another of those things that change from area to area. It is one of the reasons why I find it so worrying that health and education are now so entwined. I feel quite strongly that where you choose to educate your child should not have any bearing on what medical services they receive.

r3dh3d Sat 06-Aug-11 13:04:16

It will depend on a lot of things, especially LA policy and school policy.

DD2 (the NT one) has just finished Reception at a selective private school. A child in her class was diagnosed with a disability during the year. It is, afaik, largely a physical rather than a learning disability. I believe the LA are being very supportive of keeping her in the class - but as she doesn't currently need any 1:1 (it's more adaptations, seating, ipads, classroom logistics, that sort of thing) she's still saving the LA money by being in private ed so they are happy to support her there. If they had to fund a TA in a private school things might be different: even if you have full time 1:1 on the statement, unofficially they assume the TA will be used to help other kids as well so it's better value for money for them to have that in a state school than a private one.

The other side is the school's attitude: DD2's school is selective so they wouldn't admit a child with a LD unless it was the sort that could be managed in a way that would not affect their results. So they have a (very) low incidence of eg dyspraxia, dyslexia in the school but anything more than that wouldn't get through the admissions process and if it were diagnosed afterwards you would probably be quietly asked to leave - on the not entirely unreasonable basis your child would not be able to keep up and would be miserable as a result; it's very high-pressure in Y1 and particularly Y2 apparently. It wouldn't be disability discrimination because the school is selective for everyone; they reject pupils based on performance; they don't discriminate whether that is caused by disability or by being NT but average intelligence.

I'd start by sounding out school and LA to see what their in-principle policies are. If they are against you, that doesn't mean it's impossible. But it would probably mean a legal battle with proper legal representation.

BialystockandBloom Sat 06-Aug-11 13:45:31

As I understand it, a Statement would not be enforcable in a private school, as the school is accountable to its board of governors, not the state.

If the school is suitable and supportive, they might be willing to provide the support specified in the statement through their own funds. But they are under no obligation to.

As pp have said, it is unlikely they will provide any external support (SALT, OT etc) specified on the statement. But if it's a TA they'll probably be glad of additional help (like any school would be).

The only other option is to have a private school specified in a statement, and have the LA pay for it. This is pretty hard to achieve - there would have to be a pretty solid argument that the school is the only one that can meet the child's needs.

We have just had to make exactly this decision: ds (asd) starts reception in September, and had the choice of a fantastic prep or the good state school of our choice. We reluctantly went with state school in the end, partly to save money, but also (more importantly) although the private school could not have been more lovely and welcoming, ds's statement is for 25 hours per week, and they would not commit to providing this in full (and we would probably have paid for much of it anyway as we wanted ABA support).

It might have worked out ok but as they were under no obligation to meet his statement we couldn't take the risk.

What matters most is the suitability of the school and that ds gets the support he needs. No point in being in a fantastic school with small classes if he is sitting in a corner on his own not participating.

dixiechick1975 Sun 07-Aug-11 01:25:05

DD has a physical disability and has just finished reception in a private school.

LA's position seems to be they are absolved of all responsibility as we have chosen to send her to a private school.

Yet they were involved when DD was in private nursery?

Fortunately DD has had a fabulous year.

With pushing from us LA have been into see DD once in the academic year and we had an end of year meeting with a rep from the LA. Waiting to see if they will agree to attend a meeting end of yr 1 aswell. Absolutely nothing else from LA. DD doesn't need it (small class size is the answer for her) but I fought so hard to get her into the system I do want to remain on radar in case of issues in future.

Other child in class with physical difficulty has no contact at all with LA and I am aware mum funds his equipment.

DD has equipment at home provided by OT service and Hospital OT has also been in to school once without any issues.

WilsonFrickett Sun 07-Aug-11 12:21:14

It really depends on the school - an acquaintance of mine has a DS with ASD, he's high functioning IIRC but does have toileting issues. They are in private school and she said they have given a lot of support and almost market themselves as being a good environment for SN kids.

I think I was a bit hmm and would assume that wouldn't go for all DXs though - can't see them risking their exam rankings - but definitely worth speaking to the school when you have a firmer DX.

And if they aren't welcoming, well, you wouldn't want DC to go there in the first place, would you?

PipinJo Sun 07-Aug-11 17:32:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sun 07-Aug-11 18:54:32

Private schools will sometimes take DC with SEN. It depends on whether they market themselves on great exam results or not to a certain extent. Very few schools want DC with challenging behaviour, but will be happy enough if all that is needed is some extra help. Anything extra usually has to be funded by the parent, though. One secondary school near us actively promotes its SEN friendly stance and specialises in dyslexia. It markets itself on excellent pastoral care and being ideal if you want private ed for your family as it will take SN and NT siblings. However, my friend's DS was deemed too challenging for them once they saw his statement.

weakestlink Mon 08-Aug-11 11:24:36

Hi everyone!

Thank you all for the great advice!

We have a meeting tomorrow with the school but I have spoken at length with them on the phone and they are being really positive smile This is a non selective very small prep school which finishes after 2nd form though - there are other schools in our area (including the school I went to after prep) which would not accept SEN as ppl have commented but this school is not one of those and does not focus on league tables. Tbh I probably wouldn't want DS is that high pressure environment anyway as he would regress.

I imagine it's going to be a long slog to get a statement for him so we may as well carry on with our original plan in the meantime!

hatchypom Fri 12-Aug-11 18:54:18

Curious as to how your meeting went.

My dd is at a local private school, started in the nursery and is now about to start reception.

She got her statement in the nursery and we've now agreed post the 6 month review on the level of ongoing support.

I think there are several points to consider, type of school (ours is non selective catholic caring can do attitude), type of issue ( dd is deaf so clear diagnosis) and required support ( we had portage already, private SLT - which is now in her statement) and some equipment ( microphones, speakers etc). As private schools don't receive Sen funding you won't get much funded from the school, so all our LSA hours came from applying for assessment now confirmed in her statement. Expect an even harder fight but we made it clear that we weren't asking for fees to be paid and that helped our ability to get what she needed smile

weakestlink Fri 12-Aug-11 19:54:26

Hi hatchypom the meeting was really positive in that they are happy to have DS but as you said they do not recieve SEN funding and we would have to foot the bill for any 1:1 support. DS is starting at their nursery next month and is going next week for 2 settling in sessions. I have met with his new keyworker, the nursery senco and the supervisor and they were all really positive about DS starting and said how sorry they were our current nursery have been so negative about DS. DS met everyone and had a bit of a taster in his new class and he just got stuck in with some water play and then sat with all the other kids for story time! (he NEVER does this normally!) They are probably now thinking I am mad and there is nothing wrong with him blush.

Our school sounds similar to yours (although not catholoic) - it's a very small prep which finishes after 2nd form and it has a very caring, family environment. There is 1 class per year of about 16-18 children. I went there myself and am confident that they will look after DS as best they can. If it comes to pass that they can no longer meet his needs then we will have to move him somewhere that can.

How is your DD getting on?

Am I understanding you correctly that the LA are paying for extra support but obv not the school fees? If so how wonderful! That makes so much sense from everyone's point of view! They are saving money in that if they did not support your DD in the private school you may well switch to state and then they would be paying a whole lot more. And you are happy as presumably you are not having to shell out on top of school fees?!

May I ask why you have chosen a private SLT? I need to find out if ours will go into private schools as apparently some do/some don't....

The key for us is getting a statement and seeing exactly how much extra help would be on offer if DS was in a state school - with this information we can see how much money we are talking about and weigh up the pros and cons. He may not even get any 1:1 help.....!

(Sorry this is a very long post I'll stop now!)

cozzie Fri 12-Aug-11 21:40:47

My DS who has HFA has just finished reception at a prep school.

We have private SALT and OT who have both visited him at school (had very bad experience with NHS SALT and OT waiting list too long) He also has twice weekly sessions with the SENCO which is included in the fees.a So far he has been getting on really well and the school have been really supportive and caring.

daisysue2 Sun 14-Aug-11 07:04:25

My dd 11 (ASD) was in private school from nursery and was asked to leave at the end of prep 2. It wasn't a great experience for her and I wished I had moved her out much earlier. We fought for a statement and were finally given it when she was in prep 2 until then we paid for a one to one, SaLT and OT, it became very expensive on top of school fees. The equivalent package we now receive in the state school would cost around £30,000 in private, the costs start escalating.

In the prep school OT and SaLT visited until she was 5 as they are legally obliged to visit in early years setting in any enviornment. After that until you get a statement you are on your own. We had a private OT and SaLT. She was finally given SaLT through her statement in about year 5, OT we have just been given in year 6 an hour a week with a therapist plus two sessions of 15 mins twice a day with a LSA. It has been a long hard slog getting what she needs in the statement.

From my experience you need to start applying for a statement now. You will need this if you change to a state school for year 3 it can take years to get what you actually need as you have to provide so much evidence to support your claims. I think we were originally given 18 hours of one to one but she now receives 28 hours (roughly the full school day).

The prep school my dd went to wasn't a caring school so is different from yours. My other dd goes to a very caring Catholic Prep which I would have been happier for my dd1 to go to but we would have had problems with her moving for year 6 because where would she go on her own. My dds main friends are the children she has known from her very early years in daycare who all just happened to be in the state school she moved to and are now going to seniors with her. Have you thought about friendship groups. Will he be able to move with his friends, if not will he have friends in the next school. An early friendship group that will move all the way to seniors is important for ASD children as they struggle making friends and the early years are much more accepting.

My experience of private schools is that they are generally very willing to say they are understanding of special needs and will help out but the reality is that they are quite misguided in what it actually entails. Do the teachers have much experience of ASD, will he be getting the SaLT that he needs through you paying privately. Will the school be willing to implement the SaLT into his general day to day classes. Will they send a teacher/LSA on the Early Bird course with you. Will they provide all the evidence you need to apply for a statement. We were lucky that the head in the private infant school was also the SENCO and was happy to spend time apply for the statement for us. It entailed a lot of work. She had one success with another child who had much more severe needs so had worked her way through the paperwork previously so was happy to do it for our dd.

Hope you make the right decision and your ds is happy which is the most important thing.

hatchypom Sun 14-Aug-11 12:59:03

Dd is doing really well, currently only a 6 month speech and language delay. The result of having her 1-1 at school and her LSA spending time on the particular speech therapy we are following. She regularly attends sessions with us ( out of school hours) and goes on day courses too. We didn't really get any Nhs SLt as therapist wasn't replaced but also we found a type of therapy that really suited our non signing preference. We asked for statutory assessment when Dd was 2 3/4 finally got her first statement at 3.6 so start early !

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