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Secondary schools in Wilts/Hants - independent or state - good with Asperger's

(62 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Tue 01-Jan-13 18:20:54

Ideas anyone? DS is reaching transition stage.

ladievix Thu 24-Jan-13 19:28:21

My first posting was not a nice experience thanks to inappropriatelyemployed. Sequencing things is not my strong point, so apologies if I posted in wrong place at wrong time. Its probably a bit of my AS coming out. Sadly yes I think you are very cynical. I apologise for daring to offer my opinion, but when I have had first hand experience I feel that I may have some valuable input to those less cynical. But maybe you are right. Maybe I should approach the company and ask to be head of marketing. Thanks. I think in future I will keep my thoughts to myself.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 23-Jan-13 20:42:45

Thanks so much that is helpful.

More House might be a bit too far for us. Is Grately academic? DS is bright.

Does anyone know anything about Romsey School's ASD unit?

Lifeisontheup Wed 23-Jan-13 16:59:21

My DS is at More House and I can highly recommend it.

utterlyscared1 Wed 23-Jan-13 14:12:11

Hi. I live in Hants and know several parents who send their DC to More House who highly recommend it. (Sorry - know this is Surrey, but is just over the Hants border)

newregard Tue 22-Jan-13 22:33:44

I've nc but I have experience of Grateley and Southlands. I'd agree that they're far ahead of any other schools working with HFA, and most of the students are academically able. The schools are environments set up for the needs of AS, the staff are all amazingly well-chosen (from the admin to the support staff) and well-trained.

The students are severe though in terms of their needs (but this doesn't just mean behavioural needs) - this is mainly a result of the (necessarily) high fees, so less severe cases end up in cheaper schools (even cheaper independent schools).

Some students have been excluded, but I think more have been out because of school refusal or high anxiety, so not always the disruptive type. And often this type of behaviour only emerges in the pre-pubescent years, when expectations become higher or when they transfer to a mainstream secondary which can be a terrifying experience for those with AS, however high functioning. So some of the quieter, more passive bright AS children can end up there in the later years of secondary, once an original mainstream/mixed special school placement breaks down.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 22-Jan-13 21:47:44

Oh and their own literature suggests the children at Grately have a history of exclusions. My son doesn't fit that profile.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 22-Jan-13 21:46:04

I don't mean to sound cynical but this thread has been resurrected and it was a few weeks old by a sudden advert for Cambian schools at a time when another local school is facing controversy.

Strange thing to pick for your first post unless you are trying to advertise for the school.

If I am wrong I apologise.

ladievix Tue 22-Jan-13 21:39:58

I am new to this but I have experienced St Edwards, Grateley House & Southlands. Both the Cambian Schools would be streaks ahead in working with students with ASD. Thier specialist knowledge and training in the AS field is impressive. St Eds is not an ASD School, and I am sure it does not have any specialist knowledge in that field. St Eds is an BESD school. I am not sure whether one can access exclusion data, but I am confident the exclusion rate at St Eds would be greater also. Grateley & Southlands are for high functioning AS. There are schools in thier group that cater for the more extreme end of the spectrum.

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 22-Jan-13 21:06:14

Not sure why this thread has suddenly been resurrected but thanks!

The schools you mention seem to cater for children at the more extreme end of the spectrum in terms of behaviour.

ladievix Tue 22-Jan-13 21:02:57

Southlands and Grateley House School in the Cambian Group are far better equipped for working with young people on the austistic spectrum and asperger syndrome.

inappropriatelyemployed Wed 09-Jan-13 14:03:36

Blimey. It's never easy is it? DS is in such a lovely, supportive primary now (his third one!) but this bears no relation to secondary school. He frequently can't cope with the classroom now so how would he manage with all that moving from room to room and all the children?!

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 04-Jan-13 19:01:14

The LA initially tried to put it down to trauma associated with his first primary and his treatment there.

But clearly you and I are a bit more sensible grin

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 04-Jan-13 18:55:02

But I would count that socks. That is clear evidence of a child not coping with their setting.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 04-Jan-13 18:09:13

That's why st Edwards is great 4 to a class to a max of 6 and each child has a key worker who helps moving around the school and anything you can think of really.

We knew my dc wouldn't cope with lots of aspects including the bustle in a normal senior school. The year before another kid from my dc's second primary school with ASD and the same concerns regarding senior school was forced to the feeder mainstream ( the one they initially wanted my dc to go to) and 18 months later after trauma and failure he also went to st Edwards he's now happy and settled.

Again I don't know why they set him up to fail nor why he had to fail before they would fund st Edwards and they didnt make my dc.

Perhaps his differculties were not as obvious or as limiting educationally as my dc's.

But I know the setting up for failure or having to prove lack of suitability by failure doesn't always happen. It didnt with my dc unless you count not being able to cope at all in a classroom setting in primary, my dc and his TA used to work togather in what I can only describe as a very large cupboard and didnt start school until 10am and finished at 2:15 instead of 3:15 she even sat with him when he had lunch, because at lunch time all he used to do was walk round and round ignoring everybody else some times crying and rocking. ( outside and him were not fond of each other)

Icedcakeandflower Fri 04-Jan-13 16:00:35

I think you're right, AE, about needing to demonstrate failure.

I'm counting the days till ds gets his proposed statement. His attendance last half term was 57%, I wonder if the LA will see that as failure <hmm>

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 04-Jan-13 15:53:34

I think our difficulty is also that DS may cope in very small, warm, supportive, and very flexible primary school. But this bears no relation to how he will cope in secondary school.

The trouble is that LAs work on the basis that you have to demonstrate failure in the primary setting to even consider anything else.

Icedcakeandflower Fri 04-Jan-13 11:46:14

Thank you, Sock for your help, and for sharing your story. I will be looking into the schools you've mentioned.

inappropriatelyemployed Fri 04-Jan-13 10:31:34

Interesting socks. You obviously did a very thorough job. This woman -KK- is completely appalling. She is a massive bully and an appalling liar yet very adept at paying the poor victim when she and her team have been caught at it.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 03-Jan-13 20:12:43

That's why I was so surprised that they didnt force me to tribunal, everyone I have ever come into contact with with regards to sn provision has always said that the head of the LA sen dept is shocking.

And that if you don't just agree to what ever they want,you will end up screwed over.

And in my personal experance of every other dept that's in charge of funding things its compleatly also my impression.

I like to think that my leg work done way before they expected it backed them into a corner where by the only option they had was to agree, but that's probably just my own big head talking ( either way I'm still very impressed I did it).

I just don't know why she at that time decided to do the right thing and how come my dc was the lucky dc. What did appear odd to me during the process was that very early on, it was not just a caseworker who attended meetings ect it was the actual head of the dept and 2 caseworkers ( or what ever they call themselves these days) and nobody has been able to explain that to me either.

I do recall that at the time the LA in question ed dept and ss dept had been massively flamed by the courts with a huge sum of compensation paid out to a young adult with ASD who should have been placed at a independent school as the LA closed most of the maintained ASD units but they refused and she went without any education at all, when it was in the paper it said her parents ad been fighting with the LA for something like 9 years.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 03-Jan-13 18:45:14

Thanks for this socks.

I have to say, as a lawyer with access to resources who knows when people are acting unlawfully, this has had quite the opposite effect on the LA.

It has led them, in the past, simply to refuse to deal with me, to lie, make up evidence and now it is clearly a personal grudge match over which they entirely refuse to be reasonable even when the evidence from school is against them and they have no other evidence.

The 'panel' is an artifice: their way of hiding their decision-making. The head of SEN is an absolute cow who breaks the law and lies at the drop of a hat and this is the culture she creates for her education officers who are equally dreadful. This LA is appalling.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 03-Jan-13 17:25:41


I'm really pleased your dc enjoys his school and glad they have more smaller classes now.

I'm in Wiltshire but the completely other side to you, devises is nearly an hour as is Andover but very near the Hampshire boarder the other side.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 03-Jan-13 16:44:41

Just remembered crowdys had a wonderful attitude towards children who had previously been bullied and really really good methods of helping them deal with it. It impressed me hugely.

Any ways I digress.back to the point.

We had a big transition meeting with the LA, reports from all the people working with dc were provided every single one said mainstream was not suitable at this meeting the LA agreed but pushed for downlands they were provided with copies of all my files to do with all the schools I went to inc downlands, the lady from county nearly fell off her chair apparently they are not used to parents pre empting or doing so much leg work.

I also provided 3 different medical reports stating that the journey to Andover and devises would be problematic every day and possibly catastrophic.including film evidence of a journey with a known escort also in attendance to confirm what happens.

And 3 cost analysis regarding st Edwards, downlands,and the Andover school. Combining all costs inc transport Andover was massively cheaper but there was not much in it between st Edwards and downlands despite st Edwards initially on paper having huge fee's and downlands being half the price.

I obtained info from downlands and ask stating what accommodations would need to be made to enable dc to fully be included and protected in school and priced it up, all these things were already in place at st Edwards.

And highlighted a precedence of other children from the county previously being sent to st Edwards.

The LA took away all this ( several big plastic file boxes) they wrote back agreeing Andover would not be possible due to distance and travel issues. But made it clear downlands was the preferred option for them.

At this time I decided that if downlands was forced in between placement and tribunal or court I would hire a teacher at home as I really thought that's what would happen.

We were now fast approaching the end of the school year and my dc was the only kid in the school that had no idea what his next school would be. When county phoned and said they ad asked st Edwards if dc could go for a taster session.they did add that it was JUST a taster session not an offer of anything else.

His TA was given permission to take him so did county wanted a staff member to do it not me as a result of that we had a home visit from st Edwards but still no offer of a place

Letters went back and forth almost daily then the LA agreed that downlands was not appropriate for my dc ( but they are still sending kids just like my dc there who have parents who are not in a position to argue or challenge)

On the second day of the last week of school I had my brother fax a letter requesting that my dc be granted the same right as every other none disabled child was entitled to have by a offer of a placement ( my brother is a barrister) also backed up by a fax from ask and one from me.

At 3:05 on the last day of term we received an offer of a place direct from the school, I didn't believe it because it was such good news so checked with county they confirmed the placement. He was the last child in the county to be placed that year.

To this day I will never know why they didnt force it to a tribunal, I have been told the LA had several meetings with a panel of some description but these were meetings I nor any representative of mine could attend so am unsure exactly who or what this ' panel' is.

Having previously been employed by the LA in a few different roles I know that I personally am known by name at least to them, my suituation was general knowledge in many dept inc education, I'm known as a bit of a rabid dog grin I am known to have the resources to bring certain actions against public bodies who do not do what the law says they have to, and I have form for doing so after I changed employer and made it clear in a nice way that I could do so if needed.

Perhaps that had an impact after all its only human nature when dealing with a person you know could create huge problems you do tend to make sure you get it right.

As it happened I knew I was right not just because I was but because every singe professional who came into contact with dc agreed and helped me make that assessment a few times along the way I made mistakes and took these on board.

I will say that every step of the way the LA were professional, helpful ( even at times they disagreed or wanted to challenge anything with me) they made it very clear they did not wish to risk anything damaging happening to my son. We had a huge amount of support due to the nhs dx and statement process happening at the same time so loads of different professionals were involved. The LA were genuinely pleased and excited for us to confirm that yes he could go there.

I will forever be grateful for the intense support ask provided and my dc having attended this school for a few years ( now in the knowledge that his placement is secure and they do not feel he is ever likely to be suitable for move on to mainstream ) he is consistently performing at a very high level and has friends ( most days he even likes them) he is academically considered ' gifted' and doing very well.

All from a child that was considered to be stuck at a 3 yo's level just a few years ago.

The normal county provision for BESD is very suitable for children with proper behaviour issues and learning problems caused by this behaviour.

BESD stands for behaviour emotional social differculties. I personally think they should have schools for just behaviour and just emotional social differculties as in my personal experance ASD is rarely a bad behaviour issue but the maintained schools tend to get there intake from every other school in the county who have already excluded or disregarded the child due to nothing other than behaviour LA maintained schools can often focus more on just behaviour because they have to due to the shear volume of just naughty kids that end up in one place and if a vulnerable person made vulnerable by an actual disability who is not a naughty kid is placed there is creates an extream risk.some LA's have got it right as have some independent schools but I personally don't think my LA has I think that our maintained BESD schools and some of our independent ones do not propaly meet the ESD side of needs when they are related to a disability.

JJWMummy Thu 03-Jan-13 16:20:32

Hi sock

Sounds like you've been to hell and back over the years.

The school you link to is ds1's, thy do have classes that size,however they are usually no more than 8 and in fact ds1's class is a grand total of 5 at the mo! This is two yr groups, 7/8, 2 are yr 7 and 3 yr 8.
Generally a very caring environment, though I appreciate your comments.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 03-Jan-13 14:57:21

For information this is the school a pp mentions, and yes it is a lovely school, from what I remember most classes are about 10-12 pupils and that was far to many for my dc to be able to deal with

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 03-Jan-13 14:53:53

Going to try and answer these as fully as I can, if I miss anything out let me know.but I'm also trying to do it in a way that does not completely out me.

The dc in question was at a r/c primary school he had a private dx at age 4 and back then I knew nothing about the LA and how they work due to my other children all going to senior schools that could be privately funded and there being a significant age gap and prodesses far as I was aware the school was making provision for him, my son over time became deeply unhappy and nobody could figure out why everytime I spoke to the school I was told about all the provision they had in place for him.

A school dinner lady who I know very well one day told me that the 1:1 they had in place for him actually consisted of him being dumped in the school lobby ( they called it the library ) to be supervised being just sat there by the receptionist and only occasionally let into the classroom the next day ,dc came home from school more distressed than I have ever seen him and at about 6 pm a voice mail was left on my answer phone saying that my son a incident had happened I tried to phone back but nobody answered the next day I was told by dc's dad that dc had thrown a table in the classroom.

I went to see the head the receptionist first of all tried to fob me off and said " we spoke to the pwc" I pointed out that I was the pwc and had my residency order faxed to the school at the time my ex held the travel contract ( taxi company) the head told me my ex had made out that he was not contracted for the school run but he did it because he had the kids ( that he only saw for the school run) he had also threatened legal action against the school if my son was given his medication on school grounds ( his gf at the time has issues with medication for kids).

The head agreed that whilst dc shouldn't have thrown the table it was totally out of caricter for him, very unexpected and he believed that a staff member should have handled the suituation differently at the next parents evening the same staff member told me that perhaps his current levels of ability are all we could expect ( ability in line with the average 3 year old) .

I went to court and had to obtain several orders to make sure dc could be treated in line with his consultants instructions,that the school had to deal with me and to highlight that I was the pwc and dad was in essence a nrp with no contact other than times he was paid to drive his own dc to school.

A the court I saw a ask leaflet and phone for advice the stuff they sent gave info about statements ect, so I raised this with the school who basically said they didn't wish to apply for one as he wouldn't get it and in any case didn't agree with the dx as he was nothing like my other dc's, they did not understand the differences between HF and LF, I then moved house to the other side of the town and my ex lost the contract.

As a result of my divorce my maintainance was to be no cash at all he got house company ect I got school dinners and transport funded by him.

He refused to continue funding these and when I attempted to enforce left the country for nearly 2 years.

I found a new school due to this and combined with further info the dinner lady gave me and the school refusing to attempt a statement, the new school was brilliant the head accepted his dx but told me that LA wouldn't he had a child with HF ASD and told me how to start the ball rolling for a NHS dx during this time he let dc have a staggered start,on the first full day dc was there the head called county and asked for a emergency meeting,LA sent someone who agreed that emergency provision needed to be made for dc, the statementing process was formally started as was the NHS dx, dc was 9.

I dint really understand much about the process so called ask again I explained that most of my dc's have disabilities and I have Aspergers and dyslexia and was feeling intimidated by the process, they sent a lady to my house with shit loads of paperwork. Over the course of the next year she attended pretty much every appointment with me making notes and raising things she worked very closely with the school the statement was granted at the highest amount of hours possible, shortly afterwards the NHS dx also happened ( weirdly the private and the NHS one are signed by The same person in this area lots of dr's do private as well as NHS) at that time I was insistant that normal school was the way to go with this dc.

I didnt know they had special schools that weren't like rowdeford or others like my older children had attended but the public schools we had earmarked stated the could not accommodate dc's needs so bang went that plan, on his statement the LA stuck in that next school was a normal mainstream that was the usual school the kids from that primary went to. Me ask and the school knew it would not be doable. The ed physic made a few informal suggestions.

Ask gave me a list f every school in the county and Hampshire and dorset LA provided me with a list of there schools.

The school contacted the supposed to be next school who came and viewed dc a few times in school and wrote a report stating they could not fully accommodate his needs and that they felt it would be abusive to send him knowing this.

We sent this report to the LA.

I visited every single school on the lists that would let me visit, the ones who wouldn't I asked them to put I writing why they wouldn't.

During these visits it was bloody obvious to me that st Edwards was without a doubt the best possible setting but that he could just about tolerate a different state school in Andover.

I kept detailed files on every single one inc positives and negatives things that could be changed to accommodate him and things that couldn't, I was told by several education phycologists and others who had been involved in the dx and statement process that they agreed that both these schools were suitable but that the LA would try to push me to downlands. I had visited downlands once by myself and twice with dc it was clearly not suitable on both occasions with dc he was visibly terrified on the second this happened.

He soiled himself on the journey as he realised we were leaving his comfort zone, I had to stop at a friends house to clean him up when we arrived at downlands he refused to leave the car, when we got him out he went totally mute ( and stayed that way for 10 days) he observed by staff climbed up me like a toddler and agreed to enter the building like that, the head said that of course they could meet his needs but he would have to walk himself and not be carried as he would be setting himself up as a target for assault and bullying and they couldn't protect him all the time, I asked what he ment he said " we have higher than average violence levels here due to the behaviour issues"

This was all recorded on a body cam, ( years ago I worked in the YOT downlands is where very very naughty often ones out of prison on license go I knew the school was not suitable for a child like dc. Incidentally my godson went there and it was wonderful for him but he's NT assertive strong and did have actual behaviour issues.

There is a massive difference between just simple bad/ criminal behaviour that has to be managed with in a specialist setting mainly due to protecting other people and a boy who rigidly follows rules but has meltdowns that occasionally may potentially disrupt others but does not place anybody at risk.

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