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Need some advice ... how did you get your child into an SN school?

(11 Posts)
Laura223939 Tue 07-Jun-16 12:29:47

I have two DSes with ASD. Eldest had a hideous start in ms and was out of school for a year before he got a place in a fantastic special school. It's made all the difference to him.

DS2 is different in needs and character to DS1 - he's quiet and shuts down when he has sensory overloads, whereas DS1 is loud and violent when he's not coping. As a result, the school was very happy to get rid of him and the LA was left with no choice but to move him to ss.

DS2 will disappear in a mainstream setting. His nursery (who are 50/50 ms and sn kids) agree that he needs a small group setting to progress, and this is reflected in his paperwork. Developmentally he's around 16-22 months, still in nappies and has serious sensory issues. But he's quiet and compliant, he doesn't speak much at nursery (although he can) and is happy to be by himself. He will be utterly ignored in a class of 30 odd and he will never get out of the mainstream trap.

Currently going through the EHCP process - we have the meeting to draft the plan in July and then it will go to panel, and we are absolutely determined that he will go to ss.

BUT - the Ed Psych said that with lots of support, he could manage in ms. I am worried her report will reflect this, and she will be called by the LA in the event of a tribunal. I know the EP's report is the most important. Plus the ss is massively over subscribed as there is only that one plus an indie in our area, and all the places are already gone. My LA are very very pushy about getting kids into ms unless they really have no other choice and I suspect we will go to tribunal.

I need to go into the meeting with a plan to deflect this. I need to know what factors make the difference if you want an ss.

Please could anyone whose child went to an ss tell me how they did it? What do you think were the things that made your child ss material and the LA agree?

Thank you so much. I'm having horrendous sleepless nights over this. Finally clawing my way back from a severe bout of depression after what happened with DS1. NEED this to go right for DS2.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 07-Jun-16 16:54:02

LA's will always push for mainstream because its cheaper!

Is the SS you want an independent or maintained?

You may have to go to tribunal for an independent but SS but it depends on your LA!

Stand your ground with them and speak to IPSEA if you need help.

Good luck flowers

Laura223939 Tue 07-Jun-16 17:35:42

Thank you for your reply. The ss I want is maintained. There is hardly any provision in our area for kids below 8, the LA seem to push so hard to get everyone into ms and most people give it a try first. But having been on the receiving end of a ms disaster with DS1, I know DS2 will not manage and it will be impossible to get him out once he's in.

AugustaFinkNottle Tue 07-Jun-16 17:47:30

Ideally you need an EHCP which has provision in section F that your school can provide and a maintained school can't, but you won't get that unless there is expert evidence supporting it.

SOS SEN do some useful workshops etc on the EHC process and what should be in an EHCP, you might like to give that a try.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 07-Jun-16 18:31:33

I might be wrong and I will check but I thought it was your right to choose a SS to be named in the plan!

Obviously the LA can say no but then when the plan is finalised you can appeal.

As you have already held out once for a SS for your other son, I would just do the same for this one! You are his parent you are the number one expert on his needs!

Ineedmorepatience Tue 07-Jun-16 18:37:27

Yes its in the SENCOP 2015 page 172! You can download a copy online. flowers

AugustaFinkNottle Tue 07-Jun-16 21:07:03

Yes, it's your right to choose but the LA can say no if it's an inefficient use of resources.

Laura223939 Tue 07-Jun-16 21:58:38

Thank you everyone. Can you tell me what this "inefficient use of resources" means in practical terms? That they can say no because mainstream is cheaper? So far in the process the onus has been on me to prove he won't cope in mainstream, but SENCOP and the IPSEA website suggest it should be the LA proving the provision I want isn't suitable. All I keep hearing is that the school is full so he won't get a place.

MrsBobDylan Tue 07-Jun-16 22:14:34

I don't know how useful I can be but my ds started at a ss and is now year 1. It's a LA school and in my county they divide all ss up as moderate learning difficulty and severe learning difficulty. My ds' school is MLD and suits him very well.

We named it on his statement as soon as he got it at 3 years old and to our surprise they gave him a place. I think it helped that ds doesn't comply with assessments at all, so he didn't score at all on most of the EP assessments for ability.

Like you we were sure we didn't want our ds to start at ms although lots of professionals involved in his care advised us to 'give it a go'. However, ds is loud and physical when he's unhappy (and happy!) so I knew that he wouldn't get along for long in ms without us facing exclusion of some kind.

Good luck op, sorry I can't offer more useful advice.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 07-Jun-16 22:47:12

Basically it all boils down to money! If its going to cost loads to keep him in mainstream they will be more inclined to agree that he needs SS! If he is roughly 16-26 months developmentally he would need a fair amount of support to keep him safe and for toileting! He will need toilet training at some point. Many mainstreams would be put off by that. SS are used to toilet training and have the staff to support it. Toileting is not a reason to not go to mainstream but it is a factor that will impact on his inclusion.

uggerthebugger Wed 08-Jun-16 17:02:37

Can you tell me what this "inefficient use of resources" means in practical terms?

Basically, this - if there's a placement that can meet all your DS's special educational needs and can do it cheaper than your preferred option (with all costs taken into account), then your preferred option would probably be classed as an "inefficient use of resources," and therefore unsuitable.

"Unsuitable" here doesn't mean that the school can't do the job - it means that using it to educate your DS would be an unreasonable use of taxpayer's money.

And that's the line many LAs take in cases like this. They tend to:

a) make decisions based purely on cost;
b) automatically say that the cheapest option can meet all needs;
c) be economical with the truth about actual costs.

There is very little downside to them trying this on, so that's what they do.

That means it's very very common for cases like yours to happen the way yours is - i.e., where you have to prove that the LA is flat-out lying through its venal arse wrong in its contention that their chosen school can meet all needs and is the most efficient way of doing so.

My two DSs started special school in Y7 & Y5. To get them there, I had to get independent expert assessments, swallow the SEND Code of Practice, stand firm for well over a year against LA cockwomblery, and (for DS1) take it all the way to Tribunal.

It was worth it. Every last drop of sweat & tears.

Best of luck smile

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