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Help wanted re:school applications for primary for 2008

(12 Posts)
TotalChaos Sun 16-Sep-07 23:34:49

DS is due to start September 2008, so I need to apply by end Nov 2007. He has severely delayed speech and understanding. However he has no diagnosis as yet, he isn't due to be seen by joint clinic (SALT/paed/ed psych) until Jan 2008.

Other than looking at Ofsted comments on SN provision, and phoning up the school to get a feel for how they deal with SN, what other advice do you have for choosing a school? Ideally I want DS to go to a language unit (the city has 4) but I cant apply directly to one (or assume that he will be given a place) so need to apply for mainstream schools. I will almost certainly be applying for a statement for him - should I mention this to schools when I apply or not?

Any advice welcomed gratefully.

Niecie Mon 17-Sep-07 00:10:07

Not an expert on this as my DS doesn't have severe problems so there was never any possibility that he would have to go to a specialist unit. However, it would probably be a good idea to go to the schools you are interested in and talk to the SENCO's there to see what they suggest. Most schools seem to have some sort of open day/evening and that would give you a better feel for the schools and what they are like.

How do you get into a language unit then? Do you have to be referred? Are they attached to mainstream schools that you could apply to?

There is a box on our application forms which asks if the child has a statement and another which asks if you are applying for a particular school because of medical reasons which include medical physical and psychological conditions. However you have to have a letter from your doctor or psychologist to explain why it is essential your child attends a particular school. Don't know if your GP could do this for you in the absence of a dx. Maybe that is another question to ask the SENCO's.

Alternatively, I live in Hampshire and there is a number in the back of the notes booklet which has a number to call for the SENCO which covers the whole of the area rather than one school. Perhaps you could call one of them and discuss the options within your area.

Bit of a nightmare though isn't it - especially as everything seems to take sooooo long to sort out.

TotalChaos Mon 17-Sep-07 00:17:15

Thanks for your help Niecie. SALTs do the referral to the language unit. it's not possible to apply directly to the language unit, and being at the mainstream school which houses the unit doesn't speed up getting into the unit iyswim.

Niecie Mon 17-Sep-07 00:39:47

I wondered if being in the mainstream school would perhaps give you access to some of the facilities or expertise in the language unit even if you aren't actually part of it. Also the SEN might be a bit more switched on to your DS's needs there.

As I say, I don't know how it works but maybe worth a visit?

TotalChaos Mon 17-Sep-07 10:38:41

Niece - to make things more involved, we have just had an offer accepted on our flat, so would be moving say three miles away. If we don't move in the near future, then one of the schools with language unit is about ten minutes walk away, so would be an obvious choice. But if we do move, then none of the schools with language unit will be that near, so I might be better just finding a school that appears to be very good with SN.

coppertop Mon 17-Sep-07 10:53:31

I'd contact the Early Years Inclusion Team. The Area SENCO is usually involved in helping with the transition to school and may have good advice about the units/primary schools.

TotalChaos Mon 17-Sep-07 10:57:30

Thanks Coppertop, never thought of that!

LIZS Mon 17-Sep-07 10:58:42

You normally get a space to write on the forms any additional information so it would be worth explaining your ds' situation and hedging your bets with choosing schools which have a particularly good record in that area. Can you arrange to visit them and speak to SENCO/Head ? Does your ds have a any SALT etc atm , they may well be able to advise of the most appropriate ones for you to look at (they probably visit school regularly themselves).

TotalChaos Mon 17-Sep-07 19:30:56

Thanks Liz for your reply. NO NHS SALT yet, only a private SALT who works in a neighbouring authority, so can't advise on schools.

TotalChaos Tue 18-Sep-07 13:23:02

AARGH. Spoke to Neighbourhood Early Years Service. Absolute waste of time and breath. There's nothing they can do until DS is assessed, other than suggest he goes to Surestart centres/any language groups that are available. Oh and she can't advise on any schools - as all schools are able to deal with SN/speech problems these days angry

TotalChaos Tue 18-Sep-07 13:40:35

Thankfully spoke to somebody else (a local headteacher) who has restored my faith in humanity, and has taken the time to explain the local system to me.

ladygrinningsoul Tue 18-Sep-07 13:58:42

Hi TC, I'm in the same position re applications (even though DS has a dx). We are due to have a multidisciplinary meeting in Jan 2008 to discuss whether to apply for a statement for DS, depending on how his speech has progressed by then. As I understand it the statement would then name the school considered to be that where the extra help could best be provided, maybe the language unit, maybe elsewhere (for instance, some schools have social skills groups). And what we should do now is apply for the school where we feel his needs would be best catered for without a statement. I'm going to take the tours which are happening in a couple of weeks' time and then see if I can meet with the SENCOs from each of the schools to talk about what they could do for him.

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