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Mainstream Secondary School(10 Posts)
Hello everyone I am currently looking into secondary school for my special needs son with physical disability.
Anyone that can give me advice on secondary schools will be mostly appreciated thanks
@TINAS777 Hi, hope you are ok. It would be helpful if you can give us an idea of your son's needs so we can best help you. Choosing schools can be really stressful. 🙂
@Niffler75, thanks for your response my son is 10 years old and falls under the Cerebral Palsy umbrella. He has good communication, listening and understanding skills but is only taking a few steps unaided so uses a wheelchair to get around.
Others are likely to be more expert on this matter - I'm just a primary class teacher and my experience is limited to one example of a wheelchair user in my Y6 class.
All schools will have an accessibility policy and must be accessible for wheelchair users. However, not all will be completely accessible.
A wheelchair user in my Year 6 class had chosen one school (he also had some learning needs). It was quite a small high school and had a good reputation for supporting pupils with SEN. It was also his local high school. However, the school said they couldn't meet his needs because it was an old building and the student would only have access to the ground floor as there was no lift. While the school could have organised the timetable so that all his lessons were on the ground floor, they felt that the child would have missed out by not being able to access the whole building. I think there were also issues with outside spaces not being wheelchair friendly (cobbled ground?). I'm not knowledgeable about disability law, but I think that the parents could have insisted that the child did go to that school and that the school must make adaptations, but they decided not to.
They decided to go with the local authority's suggestion of another high school - bigger, with 3 floors, but with lift access and wide corridors - designed with full accessibility in mind. It does mean he's unlikely to ever be able to get to school independently, as it is quite a couple of miles from his house, but at least he's fully independent once he's in school. The school also had other wheelchair users already attending, which was important for this child to help him accept his chair. It also meant that the staff already had experience of teaching wheelchair users - especially important for school trips and PE.
I hope that helps in some way. I guess if I were to give advice, it might be something like - view several schools, see it from your son's perspective, do ask if there is anything that he wouldn't be able to access. But also, all the things that any child wants out of high school - where are his friends going? What are the facilities like? Does the school have a reputation for any particular subjects? Does he like the uniform?
@solidaritea, thanks for your response. Transition into another school is a big step to take so I know I will have to think about this properly before making this big decision of his life.
Does your DS have an EHCP? I ask because if he does the process is different to the normal admissions process. Also, if he does have one are you looking for a mainstream school or an additionally/enhanced resource provision attached to a mainstream school?
@solidaritea, if you don't mind coukd you send me the name of the school that has experience with other wheelchair users. I could have a look at it thanks.
If you live in Camden the LA have an outreach team who support transition to secondary for primary pupils with a physical disability.
Additionally resourced provisions cater for academically able pupils too! They are units who have staff specialised in providing support for the disability the unit caters for e.g physical disability, ASD, VI, HI. DS could still access MS classes where appropriate.
Camden have 2 secondary schools with physical disability ARPs. Hampstead and Regents High. I'm not local so don't know them. Those schools will have experience of pupils in wheelchairs and the resources to meet their needs. Even if DS has a MS place in a school which has a PD ARP he would benefit from their experience and resources.
I don't think Westminster or Islington LAs have PD ARPs. Have a look on school websites to see their SEN reports and accessibility policies.
@10brokengreenbottles thanks very much this is very helpful