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PLEASE help me before I crack up!Statement dilemma.

(9 Posts)
doobryferkin Tue 11-Mar-14 16:38:17

Please help me! I have totally confused myself and I need advice before I have a nervous breakdown (not (really) joking!) !

I posted a few weeks ago asking for some advice but I don't think I have been on quite the right track so I'm starting afresh, if I may?

My 10 yr old Ds (year 6) has a Statement (15hours) and currently attends mainstream primary school. He's due to go to a large Secondary school this September. However (as per my previous post), we are TOTALLY unsure whether or not he will cope there. (Over this past term he has become increasingly anxious, particularly when a different teacher is taking his class (he's never really enjoyed those days in all his time at school) ).
Last week, DH and I managed to go and view our nearest Special School-this visit was authorised by our LA's SEN Officer and was termed "a visit of interest" (whatever that means!). There are approx. 160 pupils in whole school (as opposed to 1500+ at mainstream high school). Everything seemed very well organised + impressive.

For info-he has had his Statement since Feb '13...had early Annual Review in Nov '13(due to starting secondary school Sept '14)....amended Statement received by us 18th Feb '14 naming our initial choice of mainstream secondary school.

Only now, to throw a spanner in the works, his anxiety levels are climbing to new heights! Hence our dilemma.

Ds wants to go the same school his classmates are going to (he wont be in the same sets as them due to his LD's), but is interested in visiting the Special School to see what its like. He has already been a few (quiet) times to the mainstream school.(I have spoken to High School SENCo, who says she would be very grateful for more hours on his Statement).

What do I do?

Should I ask for early/emergency Statement Review? Who do I ask-LA Officer or Head of LA Education? Could I ask that his Statement hours are increased so that he could at least TRY mainstream school? What if he tries+fails...what then? Would we be able to transfer to Special school, say after a term or two if its destroying him? (Special School Headteacher has intimated that he would prefer Ds to start in September,rather than later in school year, iyswim?)
Who decides what changes need to be made to his current Statement in order to attend either school?(Does a Statement automatically qualify for chance at Special School, albeit just a 15 hour one?).Will he be reassessed by EP? Gahhhhh-so,so sorry for 1000 questions!

Please help me before my head explodes....please.

And thank you.

AgnesDiPesto Tue 11-Mar-14 17:00:24

The current statement is not going to be appropriate in Sept and you are within time to appeal it as it was only amended in February. You have 2 months to appeal. That route is going to be quicker than a reassessment.
You should speak to sen officer first and say you think he will need much more support in mainstream or special school. If they won't reconsider then use the right of appeal. If in any doubt lodge the appeal before deadline don't trust any promises until the statement is changed.
Speak to head of ss, are there likely to be places later in year or does he just want to make sure the place is funded from sept.
A ss statement is a min cost of £10000. But that's not really for you to worry about.
Until you speak to sen officer you don't really know if they are going to be pro ss or not. You can ask to see EP and talk through options if you want.
I don't think any 10 year olds really make school choices for the right reasons, we have just sent ds1 (no sen but shy and academic) to an indep school on a bursary instead of local mainstream all his friends were going to. He wasn't happy about it but I just knew it was a better fit eg small school, small classes etc. Two terms in I know we have made the right choice, he would have disappeared at large school. I think you can take his views into account but have to go with your instincts.
A third option for you may be an indep mainstream school with smaller classes etc funded by LA because he can't cope with large school. DS has 14 children in his class and there are 3 classes so much smaller than local comps and several children with sen go.

doobryferkin Tue 11-Mar-14 17:53:47

Thank you Agnes .VERY much appreciated.

I will get in touch with SEN Officer tomorrow to see what's what. (I'm overly cautious about what to say to who these days in case I shoot myself in the foot!) Am I best to ring or e-mail,do you think?
I am waiting for SS Head to phone me this week, just for a chat about how our visit went etc, so I will ask if places are available for later in the year,if needs be.

I think what's making our decision SO difficult is the fact that Ds is keen to go to mainstream. Would we forever punish ourselves if we deny him that chance?(Sorry,you don't need to answer that.Just chunnering aloud!)

I have tried to find info for local indep mainstreams but have had no joy-I'll try again later when DC's are in bed!

Thank you very much for reassuring me that there COULD be a way forward!

AgnesDiPesto Tue 11-Mar-14 21:22:12

We agonised over it for ds1 so I'm sure will be a wreck for ds3(asd).
I think we are programmed to think it should be one school that's lasts for 6/7 years. But we've just moved ds3 at yr2 as last one was pants and it's worked out well so now I'm kicking myself didn't move sooner. It was as much me who had to get my head round it not working out. Now I think his needs change and his peers change so much year to year that perhaps it's not surprising what worked at 5 wasn't right at 7 and maybe by 9 we will have to move again. I have to accept that maybe that will be the pattern for him.

Be realistic will the friendships from primary stick? How much will he spend with them? Can you talk to other parents at both schools about the sen provision? If it's important for him to try then maybe you have to go with that but perhaps just think a term at a time. Changing is not that big a deal, sometimes we make it a bigger deal than it is.

Sen officers are an odd bunch so I can't predict the response, I guess you just have to say what you have said here, his needs have changed (very very common for boys at 9-10 to get anxious) and the statement won't meet his needs post sept. They know you've looked at ss so just say you need a clearer picture of what extra support could be put into mainstream and at the moment you are unsure but you do know 15 hours will not be enough. What's the EP like?

AgnesDiPesto Tue 11-Mar-14 21:22:40

Oh I'd ring, more likely to get a genuine response if you catch them off guard.

doobryferkin Tue 11-Mar-14 22:31:31

Again,thank you Agnes. You really are getting to the heart of it-it's all about US trying to get or heads around the situation.

There are no real friendships involved. He has only two real friends at Primary, only one of which is going to his High School.This is his BFF!However,this BFF is top sets for everything, so no chance of maintaining friendship.There are already cracks in their relationship.

Thank you for helping me to realise that, if it all goes t*ts up, then its not the end of the world!

Don't know the EP-the previous (lovely) EP has retired+we've not had experience of the new one.

I will ring SEN Officer tomorrow to discuss the here+now.

Thank you-you really have put things in perspective (for tonight at least!).
Much appreciated.

lougle Tue 11-Mar-14 22:42:20

doobryferkin you sound like you're doing great. One word of caution - it can vary by area, but not many SS have spare spaces mid year. I'd get that information very quickly if you can, because most places will have been decided due to the statement deadline for phase transfers.

doobryferkin Wed 12-Mar-14 07:03:30

Thank you for your vote of confidence lougle !Nice to be assured that I'm doing things ok :-) .

Have woken up with some balls this morning so I'm ready for action :-) .

doobryferkin Wed 12-Mar-14 07:05:11

smile obviously!

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