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Looking at a new school tomorrow which deals in special educational needs, what do I need to ask?

(11 Posts)
Foxy800 Thu 11-Oct-12 20:28:51

DD is 6 yrs old and currently in mainstream year 2. I have just received her proposed statement to go through but have had to ask for a 15 day extension due to dd's Dad wanting me to look at another school he would like her to go to, proposed statement is stating 14 hours support in class and to stay where she is.
I have agreed to have a look so there will be no regrets, at present I feel she should be kept where she is, but was wondering what sort of things I should be asking as I would like to give other school a chance as I say so no regrets.
Only found out about meeting tonight when got home from work and dd's Dad was gettign ready to go home so no time to prepare!!!

Thanks in advance.

Foxy800 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:03:07

Bumping this up, really need some advice.

frizzcat Thu 11-Oct-12 22:26:47

I haven't done this but this is what I would do - make a list of everything dd is struggling with in ms both behavioural and academically, then make a list of everything outside of those where she needs support OT, SALT etc. for each of these areas ask how the dc are supported, what success rates they have and how that's measured. Be honest about your dd's needs and ask if those needs can be supported in the school and how they would address those issues. Do they have dc with similar needs? What tends to happen to the dc in their school when they move secondary etc. What outside agencies are involved in supporting the school .... Not sure if that's what you're looking for but it's what I'd do
Goodluck

Foxy800 Fri 12-Oct-12 07:39:02

Frizzcat, thank you so much for the reply, that was exactly what I was thinking, dont have time to write the list as her Dad has arranged it for first thing this morning and I only found out last night but i am going to take her proposed statement and reports etc. Plus list of needs is ingrained in my head!!!

whatthewhatthebleep Fri 12-Oct-12 11:38:22

I think it's important to look ahead at things too eg...DD has maybe a good teacher responding well in supporting her at the moment but as your DD is getting older she will begin to be aware of her differences, be presented with more expectations and be expected to manage more responsibilities, etc, self management, organisation of herself, socially be able to manage and communicate with peers, etc....that she may not always experience a teacher with this understanding and experience in supporting these things enough for your DD (some teachers are just not equiped to really be supportive and can cause no end of issues as a result.) That her peers will recognise 'differences' and this can create many issues too (bullying, being left out of things, struggling to maintain friendships, etc possibly being isolated and becoming withdrawn as a result), all of which will impact on her potential to learn well, be able to manage, etc
Knowing a SS has the expertise, experience, children of more equal footing to DD, interventions, social skills teaching, integration and encouragement in all these areas, makes a great deal of difference.

I'm all for 'inclusion' in MS but there is a huge area where some children simply cannot manage and be supported enough to thrive in MS and can hinder them reaching potential as the MS environment becomes more a matter of just coping and management of themselves and of the staff doing enough to manage things...it's very difficult to see a child thrive at all within this environment and ever grow their wings to their potential.
It's about whether you believe your DD will thrive well and manage well in MS or if your believe she will need SS to be successful and reach her full potential with the right supports and interventions available to her from the get go iykwim.

I hope this is some help to you...there is so much to consider, especially going forward to your DD getting older and what this all means for her as her understanding increases and gaps may begin to grow between her and her peers, etc....and how a school will support, assist and intervene positively with these areas of need as well as good supports and resources to aid her learning and whether use of other equipment will be needed....eg if your DD needs a laptop for written work or visual needs, etc...will she be able to sit and do this if she is 1 of a large class needing this resource to learn and how will she manage this difference to herself? Will she refuse to stand out in this way, be 'different' and cope well with this, the impact this can have between her and her peers, etc. If she requires extra support and 1:1...will she be happy to leave her class regularly to have this help or will she not want to miss class things, have to leave class...again the 'differences' becoming apparent and the gaps growing, etc
At an SS school these things are generally supported in class, the group or class will be smaller, probably of more equal abilities and needs with her peers, not having to leave her class as it is delivered to the group appropriately, maybe all using resources, laptops, equipment, etc. Many of these supports for learning are 'in-house' which can limit the time out from school too. Specialists are 'in-house' too so she isn't losing school time and you aren't dealing with as many appointments, etc.
I don't know how helpful I am being but these are considerations I have had the experience of dealing with, after the fact for my DS and the impact of many of these things has taken a huge toll on things for my DS. Mine are all in hindsight so I thought it may help to share this and help you look at this perspective for your DD...I hope it helps with your process and moving forward smile

Foxy800 Fri 12-Oct-12 12:10:43

Thanks for the reply, went to look and hated it, it was a lovely school but not for dd at all, trying to get meeting with senco at her school for this afternoon!!! And also trying to get appointments for some other special schools in the area. Her current school does have a special needs unit on site she can access from next year if she has a statement so also looking into this.

whatthewhatthebleep Fri 12-Oct-12 12:45:37

what was your feeling about the place that you hated it?....it's a strong reaction so I just wondered why you felt this way?

Have you got an Ed Psych appointed for your DD?...This is a good place to start with working out options and what may be available. What supports you feel DD needs or is going to need, etc

Doing your own options analysis...so education, what does DD need or is likely to need to support her learning, health and well being/care, what does or will DD need, curriculum and access to it, what does or will DD need differentiated for her, socially and activities, supports to take part, etc, what supports or interventions does she need or will she need. Other agencies, who's involved now and who will need to be involved in the future, how it will be delivered, etc how holistic will this be, how much time will be missed out of school in achieving these interventions/ may hamper DD school work and keeping up, etc...what can be done 'in-house' and what will be needed outwith school to address other area's for DD.

Then try to find MS or SS within travelling distance daily...LA would/should be responsible for taxi/transport if they agree DD needs the provision at particular school of best choice.

When you have this meeting with the SENCO it would be good to have some clear views about what you believe is needed for DD and work to iron out how any of these things can/should be delivered for DD, where she is now and where may be best to look for these things. An Ed Psych would be the lead role within this once some concrete views are realised. It will be on the Ed Psych how this moves forward and it is them who make recommendations to LA and placing requests, etc.

Stick to your guns, don't be fobbed off, go with your gut feelings, you know your child best and what her needs are and a re likely to be...and be prepared for a fight to get it for her!...look into the legislation, use it to make your points and draw conclusions from

Foxy800 Fri 12-Oct-12 13:48:29

Sorry hate is a strong word and it was a lovely school but I couldnt see dd there at all, the children there all had very complex needs including medical needs whereas dd's needs are complex but are learning and speech issues with possibilty of a diagnosis of ADHD.

She has an ed psch who sees her in school and who rang me in august and recommends she stay where she is.

Am still waiting for call from school despite we calling once and dd's Dad calling twice today!!!Really want meeting today as will be at work till next friday and proposed statement needs to go back.

Basically she needs more support in class to achieve academically as well as help getting changed for pe and with social actitivites, to a small degree with behaviour too However this is more at home.

Will definatley fight for what I think is best though, is just tricky as I feel she is best where she is if we can get the extra help and access to the centre on site whereas her Dad wants her to go to a special school, although he did agree that she wouldnt fit into the school we looked at today.

Foxy800 Fri 12-Oct-12 13:49:30

And please dont get me wrong for children with medical needs and extremely severe needs it would be rated one of the best schools in my area.

whatthewhatthebleep Fri 12-Oct-12 15:23:18

yes totally see your point...whatever provision you choose it has to be where DD will be on an equal footing, etc

I don't know how much DD needs help with dressing/pe, etc taking part, etc...

I'm not sure a ms school have provision for 'helper' for this sort of thing...the odd button and zippers, etc but probably not much more...they are not generally equipped with this remit of care needs iykwim...more hands off and encouraged to not be helping in these ways iykwim. I was so thankful for velcro on school shoes instead of laces right through primary too my DS couldn't tie laces, etc buttons on shirts so always in polo shirts, etc, elasticated trousers...everything so he could just about manage himself, as there would have been major problems in this area for him and I don't think ms school could have dealt with this otherwise.

Foxy800 Fri 12-Oct-12 17:53:33

In terms of the dressing it is more showing her which way round things go, she can usually do the rest herself and her proposed statement is suggesting she owuld get 14 hours extra support one to one or in small groups or even pairs so would like to think some of this would be for life skills like this.
As you say dd has velcro shoes, polo shirts, elasticated trousers.

Finally got an appointment with her current schools senco on friday next week so lets see what is said. And her Dad is still trying to get appointment at other school. From website I think it will be very similiar to one we looked at today though.

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