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How to get an Independent placement?

(17 Posts)
LacedUp Thu 16-Jul-15 14:55:43

Quick story. DS6 is 6, non verbal ASC, home-schooled. Happy boy smile.

We have decided he needs more than we can give him at home, so are in the process of getting an EHCP and have found what we think is a fab independent school not too far away (day pupil only). There is however, a well regarded state SN school near us for ASC kids.

How do we build a case that DS should go to the independent school - the EHCP is key I guess, but we don't have much 'evidence'. LA Ed Psych has been but we've not seen report yet.

Any words of wisdom?

PandasRock Thu 16-Jul-15 15:22:04

The only way is to show that the state SN school cannot meet his needs.

Why do you not want him to go to the state school? (Genuine question) you say it is a well regarded school - do you agree with this? If not, then does the independent school cater better for whatever the state school is lacking (in your opinion), and is this something which is crucial to meet your ds' needs?

My dd1 attends an independent SN school. We had to prove that mainstream, state SN school, and a separate independent SN school (much cheaper than the one she is at) couldn't meet her needs. For most of that, it meant her attending the placement in question to prove they could not meet her needs.

I think you would find it very difficult to get funding for an independent SN school without direct evidence that the state SN school cannot meet needs - it would be a misuse of public funds to pay out more for a 'better' (ie more desirable) school if the state school can meet needs.

2boysnamedR Thu 16-Jul-15 15:28:54

I only know of people getting indi after state placements fail. Think that's a fairly standard path?

My youngest boy is going to a asd state school. I will only persue indi if he turns out to be capable of oassing gcse's as that one thing state sn doesn't cater very well for.

I think you need a really good case. You'd undoubtedly have to appeal and to win costs money. I'd only do that if I thought I had a strong case

I can not tell you how stressful appealing is.

LacedUp Thu 16-Jul-15 15:43:25

Oh...ok sad. We are new to this, can you tell?

So, looks like DS has to fail first, then we have to go to appeal etc etc.

Great.

Reason for independent school - it has a great reputation, really works with the parents, children flourish.

State school - seems to emphasise PECS and signing - we want DS to speak!. We have looked around and it seems fine, just not as good as the independent, which felt amazing.

I get what you say about public funds. No way we could pay for the independent ourselves though.

Looks like it is going to be a long and rocky road.

Any advice about getting the EHCP to be the best it can be? Should we be doing anything towards it (we have filled out a parental views form (v long)) but don't know if we should be talking to anyone/doing anything else?

Ta

Icimoi Thu 16-Jul-15 16:00:56

Have a look at the Code of Practice, especially chapter 9 and paragraph 9.69 where it lays out what should be in the EHCP, and really insist on the requirements that all your DS's needs should be specified in section B and that there should be detailed and specific provision in section F. If possible, try to get it written in to the outcomes in section E that DS should learn to speak, and get provision written in to section F about the support he should get in order to achieve that, including a speaking rather than a signing environment. But you will really need independent evidence for that, probably from a speech and language therapist. Also try to get things written in to section F that the independent school can do and the LA one can't, e.g. maybe small classes?

Try phoning SOS SEN or IPSEA. Ideally go to one of the workshops that SOS run, though I suspect they're stopping now till September.

Anomia10 Thu 16-Jul-15 16:05:11

Actually, the Children and Families Act 2014 says in Part 3 Section 19:

"(d) the need to support the child and his or her parent or the young person, in order to facilitate the development of the child or young person and to help him or her achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes."

I've been in workshops where the barrister has commented that there may be some case law on "best possible educational and other outcomes", where parents are seeking "Eton", because its no longer just a question of an "adequate education".

However, I would still do as other posters suggested - look at the mainstream school in detail, and come up with evidence as to why it can't meet the SEN, whereas the independent school can. (We did get an independent specialist school, without failure in mainstream first though)

Anomia10 Thu 16-Jul-15 16:05:49

PS - I should clarify - some case law in the future!

2boysnamedR Thu 16-Jul-15 16:16:20

Oh Eton, that would make a interesting appeal.

No you don't have to see ds fail first. You might just need to see state fail wink which isn't the same thing.

I am only talking about what I know in real life ( ie real parents I have spoken to face to face).

That's four parents I know who had children in state. Two in ms unit, one in sn school, one in ms. One only did six months in the unit, another did three years but had no where suitable to meet needs for junior, one with a 1:1 in ms who was doing very well, the other two I think ( memory fuzzy) did a few years. Some parents threatened appeal but none got to appeal stage.

So from my perspective ( which might not be representative) is that once your in sn needs school you have so many more doors open about where you can more onto. It the " we tried this, but it just didn't work" argument. Which is pretty strong for my la to back down. They are one of the worse there is

stuckcanuck Sat 18-Jul-15 17:51:34

If there is a very good state school why do you need the council to pay for an independent school? I'm in the process of appealing for funding for a non maintained school but we have a heck of a lot of reasons including medical. My dd has been to a couple (we moved towns) brilliant state special schools which only let us down on the medical side. If the state provision is good then you are unlikely to succeed in getting funding, particularly if you have been home schooling (well done btw, i wish i had it in me to have done that for either of my dc). You would have difficulty getting funding even if the state school was failing your child. that's just how it is now.

Not sure if it was mentioned above but you need to show 3 areas of need not being met - medical, social and educational to get the funding.

stridesy Sun 19-Jul-15 18:28:28

Do the sen LA schools in your borough have places?That was the reason my son was given an independent school plus a lot of sen schools couldn't cater for him as hf but mainstream failed with full time statement.

pastizzi Sun 19-Jul-15 18:37:39

My son is at an indi school and he has never set foot in a state school. Neither have many of the children in his school, so it's not always as bleak as all that.

Well-regarded does not equate to being somewhere that can meet your ds's needs. Every child is different. For us it was a particular methodology we were after, that wasn't available in any local schools, but we did visit everywhere in the area and thus were able to detail very specifically why those other schools wouldn't meet need.

ouryve Sun 19-Jul-15 19:32:20

You say you want your DS to speak. I want my youngest DS to speak, but, at 9, that's only starting to happen. Can your DS use speech reliably or does he struggle to communicate in that way eg could he ask you, using his words, for a drink? Can he do that in a room full of other people as well as he can with you? Do you have evidence that PECS would prevent him from communicating using speech?

When you argue for an Indie placement, you need to forget the "I want" and get down to "he needs" and present the evidence for it.

ouryve Sun 19-Jul-15 19:34:35

Not sure if it was mentioned above but you need to show 3 areas of need not being met - medical, social and educational to get the funding.

Where do you get that from? Is it laid down in law or your LAs own policy?

2boysnamedR Sun 19-Jul-15 23:42:31

I'm not sure that medical is a nessesity here either. Most kids I know in indi have asd and or ADHD and no medical ( unless you could the dyspraxia type things like needing OT).

We have a ABA indi in county. I went to look last month but with a ratio of better than 1:1 I'm going to try state before I even think about that one.

My ds is non verbal too. He does very little pecs and about three makaton signs. The state school is great for that. I'm hoping that once he realises comunication is a good idea he might find talking is a good idea wink non verbal is hard.

Do you know any parents in the indi school? Again there's a great speech school in county. I was bout in touch with a few parents so I know how they got places. That would be a great place to start.

I just feel that after three appeals sometimes you have to see bigger picture and long term goals as well. It's not easy appealing. You don't want to waste money and effort unless your more than 60% sure you will win.

My advice is appealing is worth doing but never underestimate the mental cost on everyone in your family. I only appealed as I felt I had no choice. I almost walked away at the third one as I woke from nightmares most nights. It's a marathon.

ouryve Sun 19-Jul-15 23:51:51

Exactly, 2boys. DS1's migraines are incidental rather than instrumental in his need for his specialist placement.

And agreed on the mental cost. DS1 has a wonderful 1:1 (trained to the right level from below the right level but with wonderful untrainable empathy) in local inclusive MS primary. SENCO was worried I'd pull him out, as I pulled DS1 out in year 5, but DS2 is doing fantasically and lapping up the social experience and doing a lot of his own stage managing, so avoiding being school pet. I'd love this until he's 16, but I know there;s only 2 years left until the end of year 6, so I need to audition schools to fill the shoes of those he;s been entrusted with so far. There's 1 possible indie school, one possible state SS and1 maybe state SS, so far. None of them are local state SS, which is in special measures and I agreed when it happened, just based on my own dealings with them, so far. So, I have a year to get a case together based in needs, not wants. And a future hope that LA know I don't talk crap, based on previous dealings re: DS1.

ouryve Sun 19-Jul-15 23:56:11

And, re PECS, DS2 cottoned onto it at the end of year 2, so 2 years ago. He's now moved away from pictures and onto words. And verbal nags.

DS1, was sort of verbal at an appropriate age, but always struggled with actual communication. PECS got him over a period of selective mutism at nursery. SALT also used it to teach him the beginnings of sentence structure, same as DS2.

We've gained an indie SS placement for secondary (starting this Sept) without trying and failing at MS secondary (DS in year 6 now). His primary schooling has failed inasmuch as he hasn't achieved what he is capable of either academically or socially, but he has been nurtured through and has been happy there. We planned to send him to the local MS state secondary which has an excellent reputation for SNs, but as we got independent assessments done in support of appeals it became clear that they would not be able to support him to reach his potential without it costing more in additional support than the indie school fees. Although we appealed at two points we did not have to go as far as tribunal. However it cost us a lot of money in professional reports and solicitors fees and was still very hard emotionally and logistically even without tribunals.

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