Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on special needs.
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Secondary transition question(5 Posts)
This is stressful! I went into the secondary transition process for my DS thinking I could be strong in the face of anything and I'm panicking at the first hurdle! Maybe someone can quickly advise on this.... Have submitted preference letter for a specialist school which is perfect for him - he is very able but has processing issues (ASD) which makes mainstream difficult. Currently has full time 1:1 who mainly has to prompt him to pick up a pencil etc!
LA has, as predicted, sent his info to a local failing secondary with an ASD unit. Our v experienced EP has said it isn't an option - any kind of mainstream classes would not suit him. He needs small class sizes or will end up being isolated/having an LSA glued to him throughout teen years.
The unit head has been in touch with his primary school asking to observe him. Can they do that? Even if we are not at all considering the school as a placement on advice of a professional? Not sure whether we just ignore the request and appeal any decision, or does that make us look obstructive?
Can't get hold of any helplines/advocates this close to Christmas
What we did in this situation was play along with the LA and visited their preferred school. This was invaluable because it gave us the ammunition to say it could not meet academic needs. And this was acknowledged by the HT. On the other hand the LA's school may be absolutely, fantastic saving you the stress of an appeal (unlikely but theoretically possible). We did have to lodge a tribunal appeal but the LA backed down before it was heard. Did drag out far too long which meant he didn't really get any transition but at least we got the school we wanted in the end.
Definitely look at the school they're suggesting. You just never know. Ds is in Y11 in our local 'crap comp' which was in special measures when we applied, but it has been amazing.
Having said that I probably wouldn't choose a school with an autism unit as they can be quite inflexible and rigid in their approach, it can be a bit sheep dip. I think you can end up with the worst of both MS and SS worlds and few of the advantages of either.
You might get lucky: LA dredged up a unit for DS when I wanted a specialist school. I got on the phone to arrange a visit which saved a lot of hassle as it turned out there was a misunderstanding about what year he was in and they had no place to offer him. Another school I didn't want observed him and decided they didn't want him either!
Thanks all, really useful points. I'll call the school after the holidays and make an appointment to visit and take it from there. He needs small classes according to all the professional reports we've had done this year so it may be that we have the evidence we need re specialist school.