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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Cruckton Hall, Alderwasley or ANOther within reach of Birmingham

(29 Posts)
OneInEight Fri 23-May-14 10:10:04

We have finally got out of borough placement agreement for ds1 (11 years, AS, academically bright but can have challenging behaviour when needs are not met). Anybody got any experiences they are willing to share about these schools or could suggest other options. Just to complicate things ds2 (same characteristics) already has a place at ANother but general advice is that they would do better at separate schools. We have investigated local, non-specialist independents but they are sadly not willing to take the risk & the local grammar could not run away fast enough!!!!

nahidontthinkso Fri 23-May-14 11:31:18

I went to have a look at Alderwasley a few weeks back as LA were considering placing DS there.

The cons are that is in the middle of nowhere (literally!). Road up to it is rural to put it politely, and its at the top of a hill in the dales.
The School isn't completely fenced in around the boundaries, the gates are open so if your DC is a runner/escapee it may not be the best place.
The staff also said that on a friday PM the traffic on the main routes near the school is horrendous so it could end up being a long journey back for DC.

I can't knock the provision itself though. I went to look at the primary unit and class sizes are about 4 per class, the classes are split according to ability (there are 2 classes). They get excellent OT support as they have one in house and also SALT are present in class as well.
The staff are fabulous, very friendly and welcoming. We didn't get very far along the process with Alderwasley as they came and observed DS at his current school and said they couldn't meet his needs. But at least they are honest and from what i saw it looked like a good provision and does cater for more academically able AS and ASD. I don't know anybody who has a child there as its a very long way from where i am and i'm not sure what the LA were thinking in suggesting it (they probably weren't thinking!), but its worth going for a look.

OneInEight Fri 23-May-14 13:02:10

Thank you nahidontthinkso. It is a reasonable distance on not very good roads from us too but we are rapidly running out of options. We will probably arrange a visit anyway. In some ways I don't think ds1 has a lot of needs but as nobody round here wants him perhaps he does.

nahidontthinkso Fri 23-May-14 14:00:18

It took me and the LA ages to find the right school for DS. I always said i didn't want him more than 30 mins drive away but the LA offered a good indie special school about an hour away and i accepted it as there is nothing closer to home.
Alderwasley would have taken at least 1hr 30mins to get there and to me it was just too much for a 9 year old. I must admit the kids in the more able primary class where DS would have been did not seem as bad as he is. They were sat in a circle learning how to have a conversation by taking it in turns to ask about their weekends. It was all very calm and organised and DS would not have done that, he would have got up, wandered off and done his own thing, he has very poor concentration!
That is probably why Alderwasley didn't offer a place. The kids seemed very normal iyswim although i know they all have AS and ASD. I think they were probably kids who are not bad enough for ss but ms is just too much for them. They said they do deal with challenging behaviour but i think DS might have been a bit much for them and at least in the school where he is now the kids are just as crazy as he is! grin

But its good to know that they won't offer a place just for the sake of it.

OneInEight Fri 23-May-14 14:49:55

That actually sound good for ds1. He has no trouble asking me lots of mind-boggling physics and maths questions but I am not sure has ever asked me how my day went. And yes, it is good they won't accept a child if they don't feel they can meet needs.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 23-May-14 15:01:52

They both look really good one just the travelling to consider.

The first one looked as though they didnt offer day places though, unless I missed something or are you considering boarding?

Have you looked at all the LA options in Brum and other surrounding counties? I am sure you have.

Good luck I hope you will soon have both boys settled!

HerculeMarple Fri 23-May-14 18:48:41

High Grange School near Derby might be worth a look.

Icimoi Fri 23-May-14 20:41:30

Cruckton used to be good but I heard rumours to the effect that it had gone downhill. Best to visit and have a very good look round.

OneInEight Fri 23-May-14 20:50:37

Thanks. We will be visiting but often good to get other views as very easy to be influenced by smooth talking headteachers. We have seen High Grange already but dh didn't really like it as we didn't see anybody doing any work - the facilities are very good though.

bjkmummy Sat 24-May-14 11:11:23

I know quite a few people now with children at alderwasley and they all rave about it and their children are very happy at the school. Also have a friend with a child at high grange, he is very challenging and is not accessing much education at all at the moment which is causing mum some concern. Dont know about cruckton - think a friend got turned down for her child as he was too challenging.

downtowntabby Sat 24-May-14 12:20:03

bjkdoes Alderwasley have a track record of pupils achieving GCSE's do you know?

Ds is at an indi school which is good for his social and sensory needs but educationally he isn't really getting his needs met. Is your friend concerned about the educational provision at High Grange or mainly her dc's difficulty in accessing it?

downtowntabby Sat 24-May-14 12:21:41

Oh, does anyone know what the fee's are for the schools mentioned?

nahidontthinkso Sat 24-May-14 12:25:55

Downtown Alderwasley told me their fees are approx 50k per year. If DC needs 1:1 its 70k per year.
Pupils at Alderwasley do GSCE's and A-levels, it is aimed at bright children.

downtowntabby Sat 24-May-14 12:31:02

Thanks - is that as a day pupil? Any idea what the boarding fees are?

nahidontthinkso Sat 24-May-14 12:42:40

Yes thats for a day pupil. No idea about boarding sorry.
Sometimes if you look on ofsted reports the fees are listed on there.

OneInEight Sat 24-May-14 12:48:16

You can get school performance data here:

School Data

So both Cruckton and Alderwasley do get some pupils through GCSE's

We were told by SEN team (amid much grumbling) that certainly Cruckton charge the same for day and boarding.

We got the impression, perhaps wrongly, that High Grange do not push academic stuff. It's too new to have academic data though.

bjkmummy Sat 24-May-14 16:32:42

The children that I know of that go to alderwasley are all academic. They were all in mainstream before the placement broke down and moved to alderwasley. They do seem to focus quite a lot on the academic side at alderwasley.

sazale Sat 24-May-14 18:05:13

My DD started at Alderwasley approx 9 weeks ago and I cannot rate it enough! She is demand avoidant and has significant sensory modulation disorder as well as motor skill/auditory processing difficulties. The level of therapy she is receiving is phenomenal from both OT and SALT and they have really got to know her and the change in her already is amazing!

They offer GCSE's, BTEC's and A levels and they tailor the learning to the individual with SALT and OT embedded within the curriculum.
The school is aimed at children with average academic ability.

It's the defo the right setting for my dd. She is residential Mon to Fri and loves being there.

Her fees are £73000 which includes the residential.

downtowntabby Sat 24-May-14 20:53:11

That's interesting Sazale. Can I PM you a couple of queries please? I don't want to hijack this thread.

sazale Sat 24-May-14 22:13:33

Of course you can downtown

downtowntabby Sat 24-May-14 22:34:06

Thanks - have sent a pm

OneInEight Sun 25-May-14 08:49:27

Thanks Sazale , very useful information and pleased it is suiting your daughter so well.

CarolineWi Sat 05-Jul-14 20:44:21

NOt sure if this is a bit late, but my son is currently at Cruckton Hall and has been for two years, they have seriously failed him and not provided any evidence that they have undertaken therapy with him and indeed there understanding of Autism believe it or not is extremely limited, there is no visual structure, no use of visual timetables, education and residential work in isolation to each other. I would have a good look around, though as everyone has different experiences, but I would not recommend them. My son is now leaving them and off to an alternate provision.

OneInEight Sun 06-Jul-14 07:35:54

Thank you CarolineWi. Hope we have not made the wrong decision. We looked round both and thought Alderwasley was strongest in therapies and Cruckton was strongest in academics and both were happy to give ds1 a trial. Nothing has been rubber-stamped yet though despite there being only two weeks of term left - so much for ensuring a good transition to secondary!

tempe48 Tue 08-Jul-14 08:57:18

Have you looked at Dawn House? Its near Mansfield. It is a specialist non-maintained residential school. They are specialists in speech and language impairments, and ASD. DD1 went there for 2 years and loved it. Its a fantastic school - some of the children did have some challenging behaviour.

I'm not sure how challenging your dc's behaviour is, but have a look at it. Its good to look at a few schools to get an idea of what you do and don't like.

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