Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
Mainstream or special school for son with aspergers(8 Posts)
Hi, my son has just been given an EHCP after years of horror at mainstream school, culminating in full on school refusal then serious self harm. He is currently signed off school. We think at the very least he would need a school with a resource base, but ideally a specialist school for kids with HFA. He has serious anxiety and significant sensory issues. All the resource base schools are full up with waiting lists. How likely are we to get a specialist school without a fight? Has anyone had this experience? It has been hard enough getting the EHCP.
What does the EHCP have listed for the placement? Is it mainstream with support, resource base or SS? If nothing is named it can't be final. Go back to the LA with a list of schools you want them to consult with and ask them to sort it.
DD1 is in an independent specialist school. We didn't have to fight. Although her draft EHCP was written for mainstream with support (because this was what DD wanted) the day before it went to panel I found out that all the mainstreams had said they couldn't meet needs. So I named the SS and it went through first time.
I'm not saying this is a typical experience, but it was ours. No fight (lots of stress though )
Thanks for the reply. They haven't written the draft yet, they still haven't even got all assessment reports back, so I'm probably a bit ahead of myself, but I know there's no way he can go back to his school or another mainstream either at the moment. Good to hear that you didn't have a fight, melawati. Gives me a bit of hope!
If you're at the assessment stage, I think this is a really good time to have proper look around at any settings that you think might be at all suitable. It gives you a good idea of what might or might not suit your DS, and what might be possible. Then you can narrow it down once you get the draft. Ask professionals involved in his care to suggest placements that have gone well for DC similar to your DS (this was how we identified the school DD is at now). Parent Partnership /IASS weren't good at suggesting placements but they were great at getting me meetings with Sencos once I had done my research.
We got an ASD base placement for DS1 without a fight but there were 5 spaces available as it is a brand new provision. The parent request was way in excess of that and when we looked around we were their 44th enquiry! We didn’t even have an Ed Psych assessment and I thought we had no chance tbh.
The Specialist Teacher told me to write a letter detailing how the provision available at the unit was what DS1 needed. I broke down what they do, why DS1 needed it and how mainstream didn't have the resources to provide it. e.g Specialist counsellors onsite, speech therapists in x times a month, Teachers already experienced with ASD, lifeskills training etc then why DS1 needed that and what that would achieve.
I doubt it had much impact and I'm still mystified as to how DS1 got a space. I do think it's a useful exercise to do to clarify what support is available and if that will meet your child's needs.
Ok thanks frayedhem, that is useful advice, didn't think of that. Thanks so much for the replies, really helpful.
We were told that our case had to be that mainstream could NOT meet needs rather than specialist provision was better. We were helped in this by mainstream HT's saying that they could not fulfill the requirements in the plan such as small class sizes.
I would also though recommend you chose your specialist provision very, very carefully. You need to look for one that manages the behaviour of children well (a lot of the children that are placed in these schools have had challenging behaviour in mainstream) and is flexible. Try as many visits as you can and do not be beguiled by smooth talking HT's who promise you the earth but rather watch how the teachers interact with the children and how they deal with behavioural issues.
Make sure you talk to the people assessing him, especially the educational psychologist, about the problems he had in the mainstream. Whether you get a place in a special school will depend a great deal on whether the provision set out the in EHCP is support that is only available in a special school, e.g. small classes, specialist teachers, quiet environment, therapists on site etc.
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