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Advice please about special schools for autistic children

(14 Posts)
Shybutnotretiring Mon 22-May-17 13:18:40

Hi, I am in the process of getting my DS (with ASD/ADHD/LDs) moved from mainstream school to a special school. The school I want him to go to has offered him a place (the good news), but the local authority are still pursuing an alternative school that I don't want him to go to. They are both independent schools for autistic children but the fly in the ointment school is slightly cheaper. I have already explained to the local authority why I don't think the fly in the ointment school can meet his needs but they won't listen to me. Can I do anything to stop them?
Many thanks in advance for any advice/experience.

ouryve Mon 22-May-17 13:26:38

I would contact SOSSEN or IPSEA for specific advice but in your situation, you would need to refuse the place the LA offers. They should provide you information about what to do if you don't agree with the final EHCP, naming the school you don't want. You should be invited to mediation - you don't have to go through with this if you feel it will get you nowhere because you've already stated your case. From that point, you can appeal to SENDIST. Your reasons for refusing the placement offered will have to be related your your DS's special educational needs as listed in his EHCP - if that's woolly with unspecified phrases like "have access to" and "may benefit from" then you should appeal those parts of the EHCP, too, as they makes anything that follows pretty much unenforcible.

Shybutnotretiring Mon 22-May-17 13:51:04

Thanks very much for explaining all that. I am pretty sure (haven't looked at it for a while) that his statement doesn't provide anything to differentiate which of the 2 schools he should go to. The school I don't want hasn't seen him yet so not yet at the stage of them finalising naming the school but feel I need to get myself ready should it come to it. Especially as the school I do want has specified that the offer is only open for 6 weeks. SOSSEN helplines re-open at 2pm...

youarenotkiddingme Mon 22-May-17 16:41:30

Yes it's a case of proving why la school cannot meet his needs.
You've already made your own judgement so you must have some idea why the other school is best fit in your opinion?

It's finding a way to word it that sossen can help with

Tainbri Mon 22-May-17 17:43:18

We had a similar situation and the "deal" was struck with me transporting him to the school of our choice. Their choice of school would have meant they would have had to provide transport (a taxi) which would have cost them a lot more in the end.

Shybutnotretiring Mon 22-May-17 22:54:33

My main objection is that I think the LA school caters for severely (classically?) autistic children and also for very academically able autistic children but that my DS would fall between those 2 stools. Further it will only be for 2 years (he is currently in year 4) before starting the whole rigmarole again (cynically, suspect that is what the LA have in mind - that it will be an opportunity to push him out to something cheaper for secondary school). It's in a built up area (none of the forest school he loved at my preferred school) so although both schools are a similar distance away reckon he'll be spending a lot of time in traffic jams. I also caught a whiff of a parent blaming attitude (I know it's not supposed to be about me, but I am sick of that): that parents expected too much from Ritalin, that the school hadn't been told when a child had had virtually no sleep.

On the other hand, my preferred school is really well known for expertise in the interaction between autism and learning difficulties, and caters for all levels and variations of autism. In particular, no other school seems to have heard of let alone cater for visual processing issues. And most of all DS loved the preferred school saying he felt safe there.

I would agree to transport him to my preferred school (although would probably mean DD having to change schools - guilty pangs) rather than not have the placement.

Sorry, wittering on!

Tainbri Tue 23-May-17 07:57:18

If it's any help, what you're saying is exactly the arguments I used and actually, we were fighting for the Y4 placement at the time and used it as a positive, i.e., think of all the hassle I'm saving you in finding another school. he's now Y8 and at the transition stage they reconfirmed the placement and I'm now actually entitled to transport as there seems to be a lot less secondary provision available. Ultimately everything comes down to price but the 2014 children and families act does put a lot more weight on the parent preferences and family involvement with the EHCP than it did with the older statements. Obviously the LA will be keeping that one quiet so get a copy of the act. Don't give up on what you feel your child needs and what you feel is best, you are his advocate.

Shybutnotretiring Tue 23-May-17 09:21:59

That's a good argument - after all saving hassle ultimately means saving money. Yes, no surprise that when I demanded that they transfer him onto EHCP they brushed it aside. Part of me thinks what if it's a choice of current mainstream or the LA school but I know I need to hold out for my preferred school.

PandasRock Tue 23-May-17 10:37:49

Is there still a discretionary parental choice? When we were finalising dd1's school choice (7 years ago), if the difference between the school costs was less than £6,000 then parental choice as allowed to win out (everything else being equal).

We weren't able to use that, as the cost difference was much greater, but like a pp we struck a deal over transport, as the cost of LA preferred school plus transport was equal to the cost of the school we wanted, so there was no reason for the LA to refuse.

Interestingly, our lawyer said afterwards I should claim for transport, as the deal was not legally binding - the LA named the school on dd1's statement, which automatically made it the nearest suitable school, and so she was eligible for transport (school is 15 miles away). I didn't, as it wouldn't have suited dd1 to go on transport. If you do strike a deal over transport, make sure you claim fuel costs for transporting your ds yourself, it's a simple form, and every little helps.

Shybutnotretiring Tue 23-May-17 11:01:42

I think the difference is £15,000. So too much for the parental choice thing but maybe OK for the transport deal? But yes, I do worry about the long journey anyway. I am not sure how many taxi drivers have an in depth fascination/knowledge of Marvel Avengers! Good tip re fuel costs.

Allthewaves Wed 24-May-17 15:30:43

I'm only just starting but the visual processing bit jumped out - might be a good hook if u can prove the school they r pushing dosent cater

youarenotkiddingme Wed 24-May-17 17:43:26

Yes the visual processing jumped out at me too.

I'd email each school and ask them what training they've had in VP and how they support children in the school with sick difficulties.

If, as it seems, you get an email back from one saying they do x y and z and the other isn't specific you have your argument.

Mary21 Wed 24-May-17 18:07:13

One thing we were advised to bring into the argument was "appropriate peer group" you can say not availible at school 1 but is at school 2.

Shybutnotretiring Wed 24-May-17 22:07:47

Thanks for all the advice, which I'll be marshalling when the time comes...
LA school is coming to see him tomorrow. Of course I really hope they decide they're not appropriate (it has happened before!) and save me the trouble.

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