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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Blimey this deciding on a school thing is a tricky one isn't it?

(24 Posts)
mehgalegs Tue 16-Sep-08 14:46:37

We have just had DS4's srtating school pack for Sept 2009.

I always assumed he'd go to local MS. I have talked to many people about it (other parents, SALT, OT, theraplay group leader and portage worker) and they are all so on the fence as to whether MS is best or special school or MS with SALT unit.

The statementing process is under way for him but how do we decide which school (by Nov 7th) before we know if he will have a statement.

We are meeting with head and SENCO of local MS school where my big three go and also visiting nearest special school next week.

I need someone to tell me what to do wink, I am hopeless at decisions and this is a whopper.

2shoes Tue 16-Sep-08 14:52:07

sorry I can't help except to wish you loads of luck(and to tell you not to follow the diversions round your town at the weekends.......took me over an hour!!)

dustystar Tue 16-Sep-08 14:56:15

Have you read the latest Ofsted reports? I would try to have a look around the schools while the children are there as well as meeting with the head and senco.

mehgalegs Tue 16-Sep-08 15:51:45

<2shoes -it is a nightmare, you should have popped in although I probably passed you as we were heading to Lewes.>

dusty - I know our local school well, it has an excellent OFSTED but little experience of children with SN. The special school has an ok ofsted but small classes and obviously lots of experience.

We are going Thursday am to special school so hope to see it in action.

TotalChaos Tue 16-Sep-08 16:07:08

read the ofsteds, visit them all, and talk to heads and sencos. And don't panic about having to make a final decision by November - SALT unit places in particular can be arranged at v short notice if ed psych/LEA are willing. There is usually I think a pre-school panel that decide on allocations to special schools/units etc - they don't operate to the November before the September time scale in the same way as m/s. (probably because waiting lists for all the professionals are so long.....)

vjg13 Tue 16-Sep-08 18:13:19

It is a really hard decision and we would do it differently if we had our time again.

It may even take 2 or 3 visits to each school and it can help to take a trusted professional with you.

Good Luck smile

TotalChaos Tue 16-Sep-08 18:28:19

excellent idea by vgj to get a trusted professional in - I felt far more reassured about DS's m/s school (then nursery) once private SALT came out full of praise.

vjg13 Tue 16-Sep-08 18:49:50

Our experience has been that mainstream works 'okish' for the first few years but as the gap widens with the other children this becomes a real problem. sad

There has been some research with children with down's syndrome that has shown that the children educated in MS do lack peer friendships in contrast to those in special schools. sad

TotalChaos Tue 16-Sep-08 18:54:09

vgj - yes I am quite alert to the possibility that things may go pearshaped in future in m/s, this year (reception) should be relatively plain sailing, Year 1 may be more of a watershed - so I may end up pushing for DS to be transferred to a language unit.

vjg13 Tue 16-Sep-08 19:07:14

TC, I'm sorry if that came across that MS was the 'wrong' choice. I was thinking of the original post when I put that.

There are children who are well supported educationally at my daughter's school. We have just found it to be the wrong school for her.

TotalChaos Tue 16-Sep-08 19:25:10

vgj - no I think that's a very sensible and pertinent comment (particularly since DS has just started reception). hopefully the gap is narrowing - at 3, DS was severely delayed in language, 18 months on he is moderately delayed but I don't feel relaxed about the future.

anonandlikeit Tue 16-Sep-08 20:04:51

I think you can only go with your gut feeling for what is best.
Visit the schools & get the feel of the palce, take your ds & see how they interact.

We were fortunate in that we had experience of the sn school via the preschool service & his physio etc BUT in the end we new the local M/S village primary was the best for him at the moment.
Although I suspect this may change as he gets older.

if you make your choice & the statement doesn't support your decision how easy will it be for you to change?

mehgalegs Tue 16-Sep-08 20:37:44

It's hard. I can feel the SALT, who is the main professional we see at the moment and also a sort of friend as her son is at preschool with DS4, I can feel that she is trying to direct us towards the SALT unit or the special school.

As I put him to bed tonight I felt so sad for him, the thought of sending him to a school 8 miles away were he won't know anyone instead of the village school which his three brothers attend as will all his peers from pre school really gets to me.

I can see that he probably would cope with Reception at MS, from the way he interacts with his peer group now, but yes, the gap will probably widen and so MS may not be the answer. On the other hand he has progressed so much this past year he may continue to progress and the speech etc will come - who knows, ramble, ramble sorry I do go on ...grin

vjg13 Wed 17-Sep-08 08:01:11

When we have visited schools (for my daughter's secondary provision) and we have been to a lot! I've seen children who I have thought are older versions of her IYKWIM and it can make it easier to imagine her there.

vjg13 Wed 17-Sep-08 08:03:59

Sorry, forgot to say that my daughter did 1 year at a MS school and then changed but adapted brilliantly to the change even though she left her peer group behind.

mehgalegs Sat 20-Sep-08 12:35:08

Visited local special school on Thursday. Really lovely. Head was also very nice and very patient with my endless questions.

Also heard from LEA that DS4 will be undergoing Stat assessment so here we go!

mumslife Sat 20-Sep-08 21:51:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

choccynutter Sat 20-Sep-08 22:35:03

Hi new to this site but your disscuion caught my eye as i am going to be having to make same desion soon too, my son has autism and currently does 2 days in a ms nursery and 3 in sn and has really come on since being there in january . me and my partner have gone over and over the whole ms and sn thing and we are airer towards sn now after much thought because we feel our son would not cope in a ms. you have to look at everything and decide what you thinks best and remember if it doesn't work out u CAN change ur mind good luck xx

choccynutter Sat 20-Sep-08 22:38:49

by the way you can put down ur ms and still get a place at sn if u decide to change

HayleyK Mon 22-Sep-08 00:00:14

sorry to hijack, but does anyone know how you find out about mainstream nurseries or schools with SALT units? I hadn't heard about those. I thought the choice was either ms or sn...

choccynutter Mon 22-Sep-08 11:35:02

if its a support for child that you are after most schools willget funding if ur child is stamented all though there are schools that have SALT area added i think u may be able to google it look Hayleyk

mehgalegs Mon 22-Sep-08 18:27:24

We had a meeting with head and SENCO at the village school today. My other three all go there. It's a very good school but there experience of children with SN is linited. They have never had a child start the school with a statment aleady in place although they have had several who have been statemented after concerns were raised once they had strted school.

Head very positive, SENCO a little unenthusiastic TBH.

Still very undecided.

TotalChaos Mon 22-Sep-08 21:53:45

Hayley - I would start by looking at the website for your local speech therapy department, it should mention any units on there - if not, ask the council education department. re:nurseries - look on the ican web site (

mega - did you get a chance to speak to reception teacher to get a feel for how positive she will be? If head is good then I think that would compensate for a lukewarm senco.

Sidge Mon 22-Sep-08 22:05:37

My DD2 has started school this month. We applied for a place at the local ms school where DD1 had gone but weren't sure if it was the right place for her - as lovely as it is and even though they were keen to have her, they just don't have the experience with non-verbal children, and children with more complex needs. They would have been learning with and alongside her, which I thought may lead to a lack of progress

I was reassured that when a statement is in place it will override the normal application process, and we could basically name whichever school we wanted for her (within reason) and if they agreed it was appropriate then she would have a place there. In our LEA you can't apply to special schools in the normal way, you request it on your statement.

We chose a school with an integrated language unit - even though she doesn't access it in Reception the staff have tons of experience and are on hand if we need them, and the SALTs are available for the Reception staff and her 1-1. The school doesn't have a fabulous Ofsted but it had such a lovely atmosphere, the staff were so welcoming and not fazed at all by DD2s needs. I think they actually relish the challenge! They have a lot of children with SN and SEN, which probably doesn't help their results but makes for a lovely school with some really experienced and dedicated staff.

I hope you find the right school soon smile

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