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Trying again with a different title - advice please :)

(11 Posts)
lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 19:53:27

Basically, I went to see an infant school with DH & DD1. We are starting assessment for Statement. Preschool say 1:1 at all times will be needed.

The school was lovely, deputy head very keen & SN friendly.

But, she invited DD to stay in year R class while we looked around, and we said We say "She's a runner. She will escape, but if you want to..." Dhead asks girl to look after DD and asks teacher at far end of class to ensure DD doesn't get out into the play ground, and tells teacher at other end of class "if you see a girl with a pink tshirt, grab her!"

We go around school. Lovely, ramps inside as part of building. School very SN aware. "What about security?" "Oh we are very secure" We round playground to see wooden gates wide open into carpark "Oops, contractors, will tell them off.."

Work our way back towards classroom, to hear wailing.

DD has managed to get out into the playground hmm, teacher went to close (another open) gate, and as she turned around, DD had fallen over.

All very apologetic. Highlights DD's need for 1:1, but even still...

I told preschool today & they said that they never see that gate shut. Also, the leader pointed out that the nature trail isn't gated, and there is a gate (hopefully locked at all times)leading to the swimming pool and steep steps leading to the adjoining Junior school.

Do you think that the school's attitude to SNs (excellent) is more important than the environment, or vice versa? I hope DD will have 1:1, but you all know the battle it can be.

FlameHasAnotherChick Thu 22-Oct-09 19:58:23

that would be a deal breaker for me tbh. All the 1:1 in the world, there are lapses and if she is a runner then her being secure would be utmost for me.

i don't know how high our school rates for SN as a whole, but security and keeping runners contained they are very hot on

Goblinchild Thu 22-Oct-09 20:01:17

If the head has a good attitude, then she will be prepared to adapt the environment to meet the needs of your daughter. So you need to go around the school and make a risk assessment for your child, then give it to the head and see how far she is able to go.
Premises officer should be supervising contractors and safety, checking gates and doors etc.
Other gates need to be secure, not just for her. Other children are at risk too. 1:1 needs to be designated for her and not used as an extra pair of hands for all.
Or if the head/staff are sweet but disorganised, pink and fluffy but not practical, inconsistent and apologetic,look elsewhere

mysonben Thu 22-Oct-09 20:06:00

Hi, Lou,
I'm not talking from experience there as DS will only be starting reception next september.
However i would tend to treat this incident as a 'teething' issue, giving the school the benefit of the doubt , maybe they had not fully realised the escapologist capacity of your dd. Surely if and when she does go there in the end, they will get to know her and be more security aware iyswim?
Both attitude to sen and environment are equally important in my views, but it is easier to make ajustments to environment than changing another school 'not so good' attitude to sen if that makes any sense?

MojoLost Thu 22-Oct-09 20:06:24

My DS is also a runner, I would never leave him in a place where I wasn't 100% sure that he would be safe, even with a 100% 1 to 1 who will only be human and could lose attention for a few minutes

Having said that, since the head seems so approachable and open, i would discuss your concerns

thederkinsdame Thu 22-Oct-09 20:42:35

Ditto - with a runner myself who is at the same stage, the first thing I look at it howsecure the site is. TBH, if they can't do it when you have made it 100% clear and you are on site, then avoid as you will only spend the time she is at there worrying.

lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 20:49:07

Knew I needed a different title smile

Certainly need to look at the big picture.

Flame (congrats, btw!) - I know what you mean. I was slightly reassured that the DH told me they have a runner in Year R, who isn't statemented. They, the school are funding 5 mornings 1:1 (he is attending part-time while they sort it out & is a rising 5) while they negotiate with the LEA, and the LSA is wearing trainers to work!

Goblinchild & mysonben - Yes, the Deputy Head was very approachable. DD gets distracted at lunch times, and I mentioned it as we looked at the dining hall. She said that if a child doesn't eat at lunch time, and they are hungry, they sometimes take them out of class in the afternoon and sit them quietly so they can eat their lunch.

Mojolost - I was reluctant to leave her, but they assured me she couldn't get out, there was a teacher at each end of the classroom, and an old preschool friend was playing with her. But, you are right of course - I should have said no.

lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 20:51:37

thederkinsame, I think you might be right. The swimming pool is the biggest worry. It only takes one person to forget to lock that gate, which is out of sight of all the classrooms. [Shudder]

notfromaroundhere Thu 22-Oct-09 20:56:05

I would be concerned if preschool had said they have never seen the gate shut, as that is something I would expect given it is an infant school. May be worth emailing your concerns re gates and nature trail and see what the response is.

We're looking at schools atm and I do place a lot of importance on environment as DS1 will retreat into himself and by default not learn if he is in the wrong one. I just need a crystal ball to work out which is the best school for him before he actually starts(!)

lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 21:02:29

Yes, the gate leads to the car park, which is then gated from the road (these gates were shut). But of course, the risk there is being run over.

The nature trail is not gated, and it is that which leads to the swimming pool, with just one gate between them. The nature trail is behind a bank of trees, so completely hidden from view.

thederkinsdame Thu 22-Oct-09 21:17:41

I am totally with you on that Lou. It only takes one mistake, and the swimming pool is too big a risk IMO.

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