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Essex - SS for HF ASD DS excluded from mainstream primary

(16 Posts)
Labeler Wed 11-Feb-15 19:25:36

DS was permanently excluded from his local mainstream primary in July 2014 and at the time I went and visited 3 other local primaries, who all confirmed that they would be unable to meet his needs. He has just turned 9, has a diagnosis of ASD but is able academically and would be able to access a mainstream curriculum. However, he is not able to get along in a mainstream school. He is very verbal - he talks A LOT, is reactive when he feels slighted, or if he witnesses rule breaking, and interferes unnecessarily, causing other children to complain about him. As such he has been unable to form and maintain friendships. Typical ASD behaviour really. Mainstream junior were unable to tolerate him in the classroom and so segregated him from his class and he was "taught" for the best part of a year in the school library, by a LSA. This sent his anxiety around school sky high and resulted in attempted escapes, hiding, and standoffs between DS and school staff. Multiple fixed term exclusions were converted into a permanent exclusion at the end of the year, upheld by the governors. Despite the IRP recommending the governors reconsider their decision, the governors upheld the exclusion again. Annual Statement review in September (to which the school failed to turn up) agreed DS requires a specialist placement, BUT 2 maintained special schools we liked turned him down. He is 'too able' (apparently). Amended statement named one of the other local primaries that I saw in July, who said, at the time, that they could not meet his needs.

As such we are appealing sections 2, 3 and 4 of his amended statement of SEN (32 hours) because it is so poorly written and have a tribunal in June but, as yet, have been unable to find a suitable school. We have a private EP booked for the beginning of March to see if we are missing anything. DS has been tested for and is definitely not ADHD.

Since July I have researched and visited MANY schools and thought I had found the perfect one - OOC indie, small classes for ASD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, other SLD and SN but mainstream curriculum. Unfortunately, after 3 day assessment they determined that his 'impact' on the group was such that a place could not be offered. I can only determine that he may have been physical towards another child, and upset them. I could get little information out of DS, other than the thought the school was 'good' but that some of the other children were 'annoying'.

Does ANYONE know of a school within a reasonable distance of mid Essex that would suit my son and would offer him a place?? I'm not keen on the idea of home education .....

Many thanks smile

senvet Wed 11-Feb-15 21:16:10

Egerton any good?

Maybe have a look at getting a good sensory OT to assess and see if there are any sensory interventions that could be effective.

That said, it sounds more like SALT social communication stuff would be right eg social stories and small group therapy, but I suspect you are veterans of those.

bighairyspider Wed 11-Feb-15 21:28:29

Ryes College?
This guide might be helpful.

Labeler Thu 12-Feb-15 09:01:48

Thank you bighairyspider, I have not seen this guide before, although I am very familiar with the Gabbitas one! Ryes College is for 11-19, DS is still primary (Yr4).

Sadly, senvet, Egerton turned him down. I thought they were the best fit for his ability and SN.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 12-Feb-15 09:34:42

It is not the right place for DS2, but there is a recently opened free special school in Haverhill (Churchill) at which Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge have placed pupils. According to HT last week, none of the current pupils 'won' the place at tribunal. They will only take HF ASD and follow the NC. They take DC from year 4. Nearly all their current students including the small KS2 group have been permanently excluded or unable to attend.

Labeler Thu 12-Feb-15 11:36:05

Thanks KeepOn. We actually visited Churchill back in November and I was really impressed with their secondary provision, but thought the primary provision was limited (as you state, very small numbers at KS2) and I didn't think DS would cope with the journey (1.5 hours each way on winding country roads for the next 10 years). Why did you think not suitable for your child? You must be based around here - Essex/Suffolk?

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 12-Feb-15 12:11:29

Academically it was the wrong placement (DS2 is 'twice exceptional' i.e. also on the 99th percentile for ability) and tbh he could easily have done the maths I saw the year 8 class doing, he is not out of school due to anxiety and is unlikely to be excluded (often disengaged and in a world of his own but 'well behaved' iykwim) and has not yet been turned down following any trial placement.

It is interesting that you were concerned with primary provision. I think that the secondary provision looks good on paper but does not work in practice. The school is now having to rearrange so that core GCSE's are taken on site as so few of the KS3/GCSE pupils are able to go to the attached academy for lessons/exams.

I think the HF in terms of educational placement is misleading - it just means that the DC do not have MLD.

Labeler Thu 12-Feb-15 20:40:20

I find it really difficult to accept that a child such as mine that seems to need, as senvet says, SALT social communication interventions such as small group therapy, was discharged from the SALT caseload, excluded from school and isolated from other children! How can you do group work without a group? Although his anxiety is now greatly reduced, all the social skills he learnt to Year 2 are slowly ebbing away. I spoke to the SALT directly to get him re-referred, but they said they can only help when he is in school. OT said the same, "Call us when he is back in school."

cansu Thu 12-Feb-15 20:44:05

What about Doucecroft School in Colchester? It is an independent special school for children with Asd of all abilities.

lookingforsunshine Thu 12-Feb-15 20:49:52

Don't think they have any schools near you but Witherslack Group of Schools are excellent. I know they've opened number of new schools in last few years so there may be some down south. They would be able to cater for your son's needs. They have facilities so that students can board MOnday to Friday. Plenty of students come from quite far afield.
They've got a website. I suggest you give them a call and see what they recommend. They are excellent.

Sahkoora Thu 12-Feb-15 21:44:33

I have been to look around Doucecroft and it was amazing. There wasn't a peer group for DS there in the end but it really was lovely.

It is residential too if you are a way from Colchester.

Labeler Thu 12-Feb-15 22:01:23

Doucecroft was one of the first schools I went to see, and discount actually, as I didn't find it to be a good fit for DS. Residential really isn't an option for us, his home is where my boy feels at his most competent and calm. And I really can't see him being separated from his extensive Lego collection ;)

MeirAyaAlibi Thu 12-Feb-15 22:04:12

Could a local maintained special meet his needs if he had specialist teaching for the 'academic' bit? Because from what you've said, the LA will otherwise be looking at specialist indie residential- arm & a leg in terms of costings.

he talks A LOT
is reactive when he feels slighted
or if he witnesses rule breaking
and interferes unnecessarily
causing other children to complain about him
so unable to form and maintain friendships

These are big problems. But they're also teachable skills- not in mainstream, but fairly straightforward for a competent teacher in a special school.

2-3 years of intensive social skills work, plus maturity, plus the SLT/OT expertise mentioned above- might open up his later options.

Labeler Fri 13-Feb-15 15:37:01

Actually this is a really good idea, and not something I had ever considered as being possible - is it possible?? I have no idea but I will definitely take this forward. I really liked our local maintained special school too and was gutted when LA said DS didn't fit the profile for that (or any other maintained) SS. Thank you MeirAyaAlibi!

WintersDayTOWIE Fri 13-Feb-15 16:28:24

Be careful with your LA. They have one of the worst reputations (with appalling statistics to back this up). Watch your back with them.

WonOneLostOne Fri 13-Feb-15 18:59:09

That 'get lost you're out of school' is probably illegal- especially given that the reason he is out of school is disability. I know the statement is rubbish- but does it have anything- even the woolly 'access to SLT/OT advice' would give you adequate grounds to challenge this.

It may be worth making a formal complaint to both the therapy department's very top boss (probably an NHS senior manager wherever they're based) and the head of children services (or whatever they're called) at the LA. But, as said above, be aware that some LAs have a reputation

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