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Asd-friendly schools in Kent? There must be one?!

(8 Posts)
RoaringFirePlease Wed 16-Dec-15 21:58:24

Hello, we are shortly moving back to Kent after being abroad for a couple of years. In all honesty, I am staggered (and really upset) by the hostility of the state schools I've contacted who mostly would rather not admit an ASD child into their school. I know - I need to grow a thicker skin.

DS (6) in Year 1 has high-functioning autism, but no ECHP yet (as we've been abroad). Diagnosis was via NHS before we moved abroad.

We will be near Folkestone. Any advice about state or private schools? We are visiting a few in the next few weeks, but some schools with spaces won't even let us visit because they say they can't support our son.

Any advice most gratefully received. Thanks in advance.

tethersend Wed 16-Dec-15 22:02:47

As he does not have an EHCP, schools cannot just refuse to admit him. If they have spaces, and you have applied, then they must offer a place.

In exceptional circumstances they can refuse to admit a child, but unless he has a statement or EHCP then they have no way of knowing whether or not they can meet his needs.

Have you applied for a place?

tethersend Wed 16-Dec-15 22:05:16

I should add, I'm talking about state schools here.

RoaringFirePlease Wed 16-Dec-15 22:57:00

Hi tethersend. Thanks for the replies. As we are not resident in the UK for a few more weeks, we cannot officially apply yet. We are, however, in the UK over Christmas and therefore will view 3 schools at the start of January.

Thanks for confirming that they can't refuse a place. I thought as much and was due to ring the council tomorrow to check the exact position. We are then going to contact the relevant schools again and 'remind' them of their obligations.

We are grasping to the hope that we might find a school that will work with us, rather than having to battle them every step of the way. Being refused even a visit to see a school in the first place seems a really bad sign. One such school is not even a popular school but maybe their attitude is why they have spaces!

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Wed 16-Dec-15 23:29:44

Hello roaring smile

If you think your DS will need an EHC plan and it's at all possible to do so, I would suggest a move across the border to East Sussex, which isnt too far from Folkstone, as you are much much more likely to get good support from the LA in ES in my opinion.

We live in East Sussex but DS3 goes to school in Kent, so ES provide funding for extra help/have managed transition to reception/put support and resources in place. Staff at school have expressed amazement at how supportive ES is and level of intervention/resources compared to Kent. I have also found the ES SEN team very good to date. I have friends with children with SEN in Kent who have been driven to home ed/pay privately due to LA making it so hard/impossible to get reasonable level of support any for their children.

The headteacher at the school (which I'm so glad DS didnt end up going to) in our little tight knit East Sussex village, however made it quite clear DS wasnt welcome there, which was very upsetting. I didnt even get a reply to my email requesting a place. When I saw HT in the village a couple of weeks later and asked if it had been received I was told it had but I really should consider special schools/other schools first. The not in my back yard attitude is dreadful but I gather not unusual.

We were very lucky DS's school welcomed us with a "we will do everything we can to help you and your DS" approach, and they have put in so much time and effort to do their very best for us, so there are schools out there who dont take the NIMBY approach. I hope you can find a school with a similar positive outlook to your DS.

RoaringFirePlease Thu 17-Dec-15 20:35:02

Hello Artichoke

East Sussex sounds heavenly!

If we knew we would definitely get an ECHP we might be tempted to move across the border, but with numerous moves due to DH's work over the last few years we had planned to stay put in Folkestone for a while if possible especially as we have bought a house there. But to know that there are options if all else fails is reassuring (I try to have a back up plan in my mind to stop me panicking when things look bleak!)

Actually, it is really nice to read how someone's child is getting the support they need for once.

Artichoke - could I ask please, do any of your Kent friends that you mention rate the private schools they are at and which schools are they if you don't mind my asking? Many thanks

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Fri 18-Dec-15 18:18:04

Friends have been fairly happy with most private choices (one was a disaster), although the children dont really enjoy school as such, bullying has been an issue and after pre prep at one school extra learning support wasn't included in standard termly fees I believe. Their schools are/were a significant way away from Folkstone so probably too far travel wise for your DS

Sorry I cant be more helpful on that front

Small classes and nurturing teachers have been the most beneficial things for us, DS1 had these at pre prep, DS2 and 3 at state primary, all have made / are making great strides with this combinatìon

RoaringFirePlease Fri 18-Dec-15 22:29:27

Thanks Artichoke. We are a bit cut off in this corner of Kent for private schools. We bought a house here before knowing DS had issues.

We will carry on with our school visits and see what turns up. It so hard to know until you meet the school and judge their attitudes for yourself. Many thanks for your input.

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