Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Panicking over choosing school(17 Posts)
As the title suggests, I am panicking about finding a school for DS who is 3 and has autism.
I am very aware that we need to start the EHCP process for school in September 2017. However, the school choice is completely overwhelming.
1. The school nearest to us is in special measures because it is so poor.
2. The local special school is even more dismal.
3. We live in a heavily subscribed area where the schools are bursting at the seams.
4. There is one school in the next county but only a couple of miles away that has an asd unit but says it is for 'severe learning disabilities' and not sure whether right for DS and his twin brother.
5. Putting DS in a busy class of 30+ children wouldn't sit right with me.
6. There is a smallish non-selective prep school literally down the road but don't know if they would take him. Can you name a private school on an ehcp??
7. Would love a specialist asd school but none at all in area.
8. Have looked at private montessori primary although only rateD 'good' at ofsted.....again, don't know if they would take him or could be named on ehcp.
9. Have considered home educating with private tutor for important subjects....but what about his brother?
10. Arghhhh....I'm so confused!
Visit all the possibles while you wait for ehcp admin stuff. You choose last so can do the rest of it first.
I personally wouldn't HE unless he is in crisis.
Thanks zzzz, you're always so helpful and a fountain of knowledge
Do you know if an independent school can be named on an ehcp?
is it am MS private school? From hear say, private MS school don't seem to be very accommodating re SN and if your DS has complex learning needs, then they may not take him in any case. I only know of very HF children with ASD in private MS schools.
agree with zzzzz, the school naming bit comes in the later stages of the EHCP so would leave that open for now and see what the reports say in relation to his needs and I would also visit as many schools as possible. I wouldn't read too much into ofstead reports either. 'outstsnding' does not really into 'outstanding' for SEN pupils.
Do you have a local parent groups yiu could connect with. we have one locally on Facebook and it is a mine of information.
Regardless of the ehcp, looking through my list, which school would you advise?
I don't think anybody here can tell you. you really need to visit the school I think.
Visit the schools, and ask questions based on what you know now of their needs. Make sure you see the SENCO, and see how EHCP's are shared with staff etc.
A great SENCO is worth their weight in Gold.
Special measures may be a good thing. It often means small classes, extra resources, and a massive push to raise standards.
It could even mean you magically
because no-one else is stepping up, given all the annoying hyper-ambitious types have gone elsewhere get strongarmed in to be the token pushy parent, lead person on the PTA, parent governor 'with special responsibility for SEN' etc- none of which goes amiss if you have the energy
My preference would be for Montessori education but only if they have experience of and can demonstrate good practice in supporting sen. This is purely because Montessori (done well) suits MY ds.
My second and to be honest equally likely strong contender would be the local ms. Again you would need to go and see them and see what their attitude is like. I wouldn't be particularly perturbed by special measures etc. You should be focused on what his life experience is like there.
Walk into each school and imagine your ds being there. Are the teachers and TAs kind/approachable/trustworthy? Is it very noisey and big? Do they have quiet places? How would you feel about these people taking your child to the beach on a school trip? How would they manage him wetting himself or throwing up? Is it too quiet/too noisey? Do the other children look happy? How do you talk to teachers and staff? Imagine your ds has had someone be unkind to him or perhaps has hurt someone else, do they look sensible and kind and easy to talk to?
We chose the wrong state school for us first and are now in heaven at the right for us school. What makes it right is the staff, the location, and the size of the school. We travel in order to get to it.
You can name a private school on an ehcp but you need to show that it will be better the state option (ie there has to be a GOOD reason)
My DD was at a small, non selevtive prep for the first four years of education and it was very inclusive.
It shouldn't be, but it is MUCH harder to get funded support in private schools, but you can of course pay for what you think is appropriate. (In hindsight I would say watch what you pay for quite closely for "value for money", because ultimately you might find that cash better invested in his future needs than TAs etc).
I would hope to send my DC to the school closest to us. There are are no doubt exceptions, but in general I have heard from other parents that private schools are not as accommodating for SEN children.
Being in special measures doesn't necessarily mean anything is too awful these days either!
So visit it with an open mind and see what you think, is my recommendation.
I think my experience is that the support and inclusive atmosphere is just massively better in state school. Easier for my ds's siblings too as there are many disabled children within the school and so they not only have that normalising things but all the other siblings as well.
NB many prep schools will only keep children with significant Sen till the end of pre-prep (or end year 2) which leaves you a bit high and dry. Ask point blank not just if he can stay throughout but how many other children with additional needs they have in each part of the school.
They can all be good. It's the school itself and it's ethis and understanding that makes it good - not the Ofsted report or the type of school.
Visit them all as suggested an imagine your DS there. Write your list of questions about things that will be important for DS to help him manage. I have learnt to try and avoid asking direct questions about what they'll do for my DS but rather generic questions on visits about how support looks in the school. For example "what facilities and reasonable adjustments do you make for sh lifted with social communication difficulties during unstructured times such as break?"
Their answer will inform you about what their knowledge is and ability to meet his needs. Eg - if they say they have a lunch club run by a TA and explain how it's run you know they are likely to have a good set up already and already has an awareness.
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