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Can't find suitable school - panicking!

(26 Posts)
BluebellBean Tue 24-Jun-14 12:26:10

I'm having real trouble finding a school for my son. He's 5 and in reception currently. MS school was a disaster, culminating in him being taught alone, eating lunch alone, playing out alone...for 4 months.

He's now at a small unit with 5 other boys and thriving. Problem is this unit is only ever temporary so I need to find him a SILC. Statement will say he needs that (due to be finalised august).

Local sch isn't suitable as all his class are non verbal. Found another nearby which was lovely. Some of the kids are verbal. They've said no as can't meet his needs, as they don't think they have a suitable peer group.
This is mainly because they don't have anyone near his verbal level.

Neither does anyone else! I don't know what to do. I feel utterly lost.

BluebellBean Tue 24-Jun-14 12:31:59

He only has a place at current unit until mid July. God knows what I'm going to do.

davidsotherhalf Tue 24-Jun-14 12:41:18

did you get a list of schools when you got your statement? I found ours very useful as it described the schools main focus, could be asd school, sld, etc.

BluebellBean Tue 24-Jun-14 12:42:26

We don't have his statement yet. I have a list of state schools but problem is he has extremely rare condition so v unusual needs.

BluebellBean Tue 24-Jun-14 13:08:53

I hate this. MS schools can't cope, SN schools can't meet his needs. Where does this leave us? My poor little boy. Nobody can give us any answers.

Icimoi Tue 24-Jun-14 14:08:58

Have you investigated independent schools?

OneInEight Tue 24-Jun-14 14:20:41

Have you spoken to either the SEN team at the LA or the staff at the current placement for ideas? We got a list of independents from the SEN team when it was clear ds2's mainstream placement was failing.

BluebellBean Tue 24-Jun-14 18:23:11

No independent schools nearby and yes to list. I have two more to go see, they're geographically further than I would like especially given his age, but I'm running out of options.

Tearful and tense and utterly fed up. But, y'know, onwards.

Shropshirelass1 Thu 26-Jun-14 17:10:15

.....more often than not there is no school that you feel happy with (or even remotely confident about!!) you just have to go with best of the dodgy lot available and keep the placement going until you can lurch on to another one. It can be very scary. I would explore every single option as sometimes it's the one that was the remote outsider option that turns out to be the one that works. Also child and staff change so you might have to be flexible. Sometimes once you have trapsed round the 20th unsuitable place the 1st place doesn't seem too bad atall! Good luck

BluebellBean Fri 27-Jun-14 06:36:58

Thank you S

vjg13 Fri 27-Jun-14 07:48:02

I would look further away, neighbouring LEAs.

BluebellBean Sat 28-Jun-14 13:21:54

Thank you, yes I am doing. We are right on the border so others aren't too far. Such a lot to go see!

beautifulgirls Sun 29-Jun-14 18:06:56

What is is about the local SN schools that mean that they can't meet his needs? Is it about having his own 1:1 support in that setting, or a specialist teacher for his issues that they don't already have. These are things that may be able to be written into his statement and would then have to be provided for him in whatever setting he moves to.

BluebellBean Fri 18-Jul-14 10:48:50

Last day in current setting and still haven't found a school. Five schools have now said no and frankly, my caseworker is useless. I've just bollocked her because she just keeps saying "we will just resume the search on September".

I said "ok, where exactly? Where do I look, when I've looked at every single school in the area and the five that might be suitable have said no?"

I'm fed up. They keep saying no suitable peer group. THERE ISNT ONE FFS. He has an extremely rare disorder. So frustrating.

fairgame Fri 18-Jul-14 11:46:17

You might have to extend your search area. I had the same problem with DS, none of the local maintained or independent ss could meet his needs. He's now going to a independent special school over 40 miles away, it will take about an hour for him to travel there and the LA are providing a taxi with an escort.
It's been very frustrating trying to find somewhere suitable and every school I looked at I would have had to make some sort of compromise. I've ended up compromising over travel time. My case worker was useless as well so I feel your frustration! thanks

BluebellBean Fri 18-Jul-14 11:59:55

Thanks fairgame. I've searched outside area but no joy. Found a brilliant one but they only take children with severe learning difficulties. Just spoke to Caseworker again and she said we might be able to insist on a sch I liked but which said they can't meet his needs. One school have said they can meet, but it's really far from home and the facilities are, frankly, crap. They have a similar boy and I think they need a similar peer for this boy.

I honestly don't know what to do. Do I insist on the great facilities school or send him to the one where there's a boy like him?!

BluebellBean Fri 18-Jul-14 12:03:57

A friend just said "kids move. Good facilities don't."

Vg point.

BluebellBean Fri 18-Jul-14 12:04:28

Really sorry to keep banging on. I'm so bloody anxious and frustrated. Argh

fairgame Fri 18-Jul-14 12:18:45

I personally wouldn't choose a school on the promise that there is 1 other child like your DS. What happens if that child leaves?

I think it depends on why they are saying they can't meet your DS's needs. All of my local ss only takes children with MLD and DS doesn't have MLD. The LA said that if i really wanted that school they would give me a place as each school has the ability to differentiate the curriculum to each child's level so the might say to same to the school that you want.

I think you need to make sure that there is a peer group as its not going to work if DS has no friends and can't communicate with his peers.
As for the facilities, it depends on what's missing. Are they able to provide all the therapies that DS needs? Don't be dazzled with these schools that have amazing sensory rooms and soft play areas if his main needs are SALT or OT etc.
I went to look at an apparently 'amazing' ss with brilliant play areas and the kids were wandering around doing what they wanted, it wasn't very structured at all. In fact is was pretty grim when you looked past all the fancy stuff.

BluebellBean Fri 18-Jul-14 12:29:48

Thank you. Yes, this school has sensory room, soft play, amazing playground etc but they are the sort of thing he needs. The other school just has a concrete yard and a calm space - calm space is absolutely vital for him but this one is a huge room. He needs a smaller blank room and the "good facilities" school has two like that.

The head of his temp unit was head of autism at the "good facilities" school and she thinks it'd work very well for him there. I trust her judgement 100% as she's worked so closely with him for 7 weeks now

fairgame Fri 18-Jul-14 12:36:23

In that case i would push for it then. The LA can force a maintained ss to take a child even if the head says no.
Trust your instincts and your judgement.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 18-Jul-14 19:40:30

Forgive me if you have already considered Indi but I faced the same problem that the only ss the LA had to offer was MLD and DS1 did not fit. He did not fit PRU. We had EOTAS 5 hours a week. Realistically this would have carried on all through the 5 remaining years at secondary. Their position did not change until the day of the tribunal hearing when the LA agreed to OOC Indi ss. Are you sure that your options are as limited as you have been led to believe?

BluebellBean Fri 18-Jul-14 21:55:46

Nobody has mentioned independent schools and tbh I'm struggling to find any nearby. Case worker called me today and said we need to look out of area as we have exhausted all our schools. I've been looking out of area for weeks! I struggle to find a "list".

She also said I might have to home school until we find somewhere. I am a working mum fgs

adrianna22 Fri 18-Jul-14 22:25:29

Fairgame I completely agree withy you 100 percent.

They were some special schools that I looked out that had AMAZING facilities. But when I looked at the kids, they were much completely left on their own, kids weren't paying attention at all, just doing their own thing.

Plus, they were some schools that I looked at, the facilities were not that great. But my word, the intensive support that the kids have, and the structure were amazing.

Not everything that glitters is gold.

fairgame Fri 18-Jul-14 22:28:35

Nobody will mention independent schools because they are expensive for the LA. You have to find them out for yourself.

Try that link and see what is in your area or within an hours drive. It's usually deemed acceptable for primary aged children to travel up to 45 minutes to school.

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