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Independent School for SEN child

(16 Posts)
RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 11:45:20

My 7 yr old DS has mild CP, he has slow processing. His main difficulties are social skills, following instructions, age appropriate play, low working memory and independence. He has minimal SEN statement (no hours or funds) that is for a resource unit mainstream school. In last 3 years statement review was just update of provision that school comes up with. School is ok but resources are tight and he is kind of a guy who hides very well. He is falling through the gap. No friends and not able to follow curriculum on his own. I work very hard to keep him up with the class by doing Maths, Literacy etc at home. He is in lowest performing group.

Teacher doesn't care and says 'he is doing so good, aren't you proud', very very low expectation. They don't say anything specific because it will become their responsibility to find the solution. My feeling is that he is just getting by because he is laid back and doesn't fuss. Whenever we create a fuss, it comes to the point where relations with school will be ruined so don't go about it.

NOW, we are looking places in independent school, two school agree to take him. Both are good school non selective but not hugely SEN experienced, hardly any SEN pupil. They looked at statement and agree to support us. We think small class size and high expectation and order in his life is needed. We want to move him but not want to lose the statement (it was too hard to get it and impossible now to get a new one if we lose it). LA will definitely not fund indie school, not even worth trying, not rich enough to go to tribunal.

My questions are: how to speak to LA to move the support and we pay the tuition without involving legal (too costly?). If we keep him 1 year behind in indie will that be concern to LA?
No idea what and how to do it? Any suggestions?

HairyBigSpider Thu 26-May-16 11:54:47

I would be worried that the schools don't have enough experience or knowledge of your ds's SEN's. Have they fully explained to you how they will meet those needs? Have you considered asking the LA for a needs reassessment?

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 12:26:18

The problem is current school with huge SEN experience has just two buckets to fill pupil in, NT and SEN. They see him as ''he can't do anything", he is dragged to many disability sports events but excluded from science fair and mainstream sports events. They don't see individual at all. It will be better for him to be regarded as a person who can achieve. Moreover, his issues are the issues average children face may be not all issues at once. Does that make sense? None of his issue is huge.

sh77 Thu 26-May-16 13:08:48

My ds has AS and I suspect dyspraxia. We are at a lovely independent school. We wanted small class sizes. It is, in no way, geared up for SEN kids (as with a lot of independents). For now, the Head has been very understanding. My son's social skills and confidence have improved massively. He's coping at the moment but I know a time may come when he may not.

There was a thread in Education a couple of days ago about SEN and indie schools. I would first find out what support your child will get. Sounds like he needs to move from his current setting.

EyeoftheStorm Thu 26-May-16 13:17:02

DS2 has similar difficulties due to prematurity. He is almost 7 and has sensory problems. He is at private school and we kept him back a year. He has a spiky profile - slow processing, low working memory but great verbal skills.

I have experience now in state and private and I like both. This school is perfect for DS2, but it's hard to say if those two private schools will be perfect for your DS.

I didn't know when he started how well it would turn out. I didn't know that they would listen to what I had to say about DS2 who can be difficult. We have had a run of very caring teachers, but that is pure luck.

What were the pointers to it being the right school? It's small and non-selective. The boy who showed us round indicated the learning support room and said, that's where you go if you've got a hole in your knowledge, as if every child at the school might go there at one time or another. Other parents talked about the school doing well with square pegs.

It seems such little things to choose a school on, but our experience has been very positive. DS2 is never going to follow the straight or easy path, but this school is making things a bit smoother.

Did you prefer one of the two schools over the other? Can you work out why?

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 13:37:28

Thanks for replies!

I like first indie better, small village feel, no fancy building and working parents like us, plus it is 4 miles from us. This one has offer a small scholarship too (struggling?). Second one is 8 miles away, a slightly bit posh and big school with all the indie whistles and bells but more SEN experience (has few statement pupil). I like both of them but inclined towards first for less fees and less miles.
I have a feeling he will be ok in either, but struggling to let go of statement. its a safety net for future. Like you both, I am not sure how long indie will work and need the "non providing" safety to fall back to state. Wish somebody else just decide it for me. Is it too hard to keep the statement going in indie?

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 13:45:07

sh77 which thread in Education please? I looked for it but can't seem to find it. Thanks

EyeoftheStorm Thu 26-May-16 13:51:32

DS2 doesn't have a statement so can't help with that side of it.

I wonder if you can get a feel for the parents at the school. There are a small group of us within our class with children who struggle with various things. It makes for a nice inclusive atmosphere and there are people to vent to when necessary.

Sometimes, in other contexts, I forget that not everyone has a child like DS2 and can see a look of horror pass over their face when I'm a bit too honest!

sh77 Thu 26-May-16 14:14:08

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 14:15:07

I hear you EyeoftheStorm! I stopped being honest with other parents, either they laugh it off or look like a deer caught in a headlight. Oh! the joy of being a SEN parent. I feel so fake putting on a plastered smile everyday when in reality I just want to scream that its not fair. Feeling especially low today because my DS was taken to a science fair when they have taken all bright DC sad

I will try to connect with parents at first school then.

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 14:18:03

thanks sh77
what a horror angry

EyeoftheStorm Thu 26-May-16 14:28:28

Not fair! I think one of the best things about DS2's school is that they're looking at the individual child and their strengths. DS2 gets lots of encouragement and praise for the things he can do well and extra help for the things he can't. I'm not expecting the world, just some understanding of my child.

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 14:58:59

I meant he was not taken angry

sh77 Thu 26-May-16 18:45:20

Oh that's so sad. I do wonder what the hell goes through the minds of people who are supposed to be educating and caring for our kids. Maybe have a very frank conversation with the schools about their commitment to your child. Our Head said that they wouldn't manage ds out and do everything to help him. I hope time shows that to be true. I do have faith him as he genuinely is a kind human.

I do hope you can transfer your EHCP - call sosen. They are very knowledgeable and helpful.

RuinedLife Thu 26-May-16 21:03:47

I have called a few times to ipsea and sossen but they seem to recite section after section from code of practice, that makes no sense to me. Also I felt a push to go to tribunal and legal etc from them, I know for sure I don't have time, money or energy to go through this. I am just looking to fund tuition for indie myself and ask LA to transfer support, which anyway is minimal. Want to make sure that statement is there on 'stand by' if we need it in future. Can please somebody have similar experience?

Squashybanana Sun 29-May-16 10:11:05

Most LAs will have a problem with this unfortunately. SEN case law has established that if an LA names an independent school they are liable to pay the fees, even if the parents state they are happy to pay they cannot be legally bound to this and do the parents can at any point decide to stop paying the fees and the LA will have to do so. So many LAs will not name an independent school. Also be aware that once he moves as a parent you will no longer be able to access LA support services, such as Ed psych, speech therapy, outreach specialist teachers etc, but will very likely have to pay for any additional support your child needs (unless it is specified in his ehcp, but you say it has no support?)

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