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S.E.N and choosing a school

(4 Posts)
myBOYSareBONKERS Sun 23-Sep-12 15:15:42

My son has just been diagnosed as having mild-moderate autism.

He is in main stream education and although he "copes" he doesnt reach his potential due to his issues.

It is highly unlikely he will get a statement as he doesnt exhibit behavioural issues (At least not at school anyway hmm

Even though he is only in year 5 we have been advised by his head teacher and psychiatrist to look round the secondary schools now to get an idea of what they can offer him. But I dont know what I am looking for or what to ask!!

Has anyone got any thoughts or suggestions?

Many thanks in advance. I am also going to put this in the special needs section.

Holly66 Sun 23-Sep-12 22:40:53


Hope I can help. I work with SEN children in a mainstream secondary school.

Firstly I will be honest and say that getting a statement will be difficult. I have students who I believe desperately need statements but I know they wont get one, it is extremely frustrating.

Secondly you are doing absolutely the right thing by starting to look now. I would advise to start going to secondary school open evenings. Most schools are having these right now in preparation for the new year 7 intake for next year but you can still go even though your son is in year 5. You should ask to speak to the SENCO (Special education needs co-ordinator) and ask them about the facilities and support they can offer. This can vary an awful lot between different schools so it is a good idea to start looking now. Some schools will offer social groups and homework clubs which are there to help deal with particular difficulties. Autism is such a wild area so it is hard for me to guess where your son needs support but most of my students on the autistic spectrum require help with their social skills and organisation. We also provide emoitional support for a lot of our autistic students. For example we keep their lockers in our room. This means we see them every day and can check that they are ok and we can help them with getting things ready for their lessons which can be very helpful when they are new year 7s.

At my school our students are put into the following groups.
School Action: This is where we know that they have a special educational need and we provide a Learning Teaching Strategy Sheet and an Individual Educationa Plan for the student which allows teaching staff to see how best to support them.
School Action Plus: Exactly the same as before but the student is also entitled to 5 hours a week Learning Support Assistant time. This can be used either in lessons where the student requires extra support or in one to one sessions.
Statement: The same as School Action but the student also has a large number of LSA hours.

One of my most severely aspergers recently got an A* 2 As and a B at A-Level and has just gone off to Nottingham uni to study Maths. We provided a lot of support in preparing him for university and living on his own.

Hope that helps. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

tghrmum Mon 24-Sep-12 15:42:38

Great Advise Holly66 we are in a similar position to myBOYSareBONKERS. Our DS is in year 6 and has a Statement. Both High Schools in our area have been critisised by Ofsted for failing Special Needs Children which fills us with dread. Will ring around the Senco`s.

Holly66 Mon 24-Sep-12 16:27:43

Hi tghrmum

I think the key thing is to sound like you know what you are talking about and make it clear that you know what they should be doing for your son. I know many a parent who has dreaded the move to secondary school and I have several who moved in order to get their children into better schools.

Ofsted are now being very careful about making sure SEN students are being cared for in the right way. My school failed to get ou standing overal because they were not using the resources we were providing for them. Unfortunately in my school a lot of teachers still have the opinion that SEN students don't have a right to be there or that they can't do as well as the other students, this of course is a load of rubbish. I have plenty of SEN students who do better than the mainstream ones.

If your son is statemented then i'm guessing he will have a number of LSA or TA hours? If he does then they key thing is to make sure he is getting that support.

Let me know how you get on.

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