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Private Education or Mainstream School

(12 Posts)
ButterfliesnWaterfalls Mon 14-Sep-15 15:13:37

Hi all,

I wanted some advice regarding Primary Schools.

Currently DS is at an 'outstanding' nursery and is in Pre-School, and is doing really well. They have upto 24 children with 3 adults in the setting.

I will be looking at some local Primary Schools to send him to. I've selected three which I will be going to see and have a meeting with their SENCO. All three are Mainstream, as DS is 'mild' in the Autism Spectrum and the paediatrician suggested mainstream to see how he copes.

I am leaning towards Private education as they only have 15 students per class. (And DS's grandparents said they will help with the cost, so financially, it's affordable).

I guess my question is: What would you do? Where would you send your child?

LIZS Mon 14-Sep-15 15:20:02

Is the private school experienced with, supportive and accepting of children with sn/Sen? Class size doesn't necessarily mean so. You really need to ask them in some depth about how they can meet and accommodate his needs. Also would they expect you to fund or be available for any extra support. A friend had to go in for every swimming lesson for example to look after her Ds, but ended up helping them all change too. Likewise school trips.

ButterfliesnWaterfalls Mon 14-Sep-15 15:33:24

I'm having a meeting with the SENCO lady this Thursday. I'm getting my questions ready for that meeting now. What type of questions should I ask? So far I have:

What policies do you have in place to support Special Needs?

Do you currently have other SEN children, and are they happy here?

How would you specifically support my son's needs?

Do you have differentiation for Reception classes?

At the end of Reception year, what do most students achieve?


I guess I can ask about that? I mean I'm trying to teach my DS to dress himself to prepare him for school next year. I don't know if I would be able to go into school to help him?

flyhigh Mon 05-Oct-15 18:44:37

My advice is to be very careful!! Many independent schools will lure you in with promises about how great they are with their small classes and so on. However, when push comes to shove the schools are very dictated to by those that pay them.......the parents!! If your child starts to become disruptive then be prepared for the parents to complain and the school to start siding with them. I am talking from (sad) experience and am a parent who has children in both sectors.
Good luck.

chuffinalong Wed 07-Oct-15 16:19:16

I would say not to send him to a private school. My daughter was at a private school from the age of 2, to the end of the 1st term in year 1. The nursery was brilliant, but as the school became more demanding for her, it became apparent that they had no idea re special needs. We only realised she had special needs from the age of about 4/5. She became school phobic and we ended up having to home educate her. She's now in a lovely small state primary with a one to one worker and is very happy.

ButterfliesnWaterfalls Thu 08-Oct-15 16:15:00

So I went to see the Private School and asked all the questions. They seemed hesitant with their answers. I don't think they had any experience with Autism, although they did mention they had 'high functioning autistic children'.

So I came out of there loving the building/scenery/uniform, but hating the fact that the teachers would not be able to understand/deal with him.
I decided we wouldn't pursue the Private School, however, the next day I received an email from the admissions dept saying the school will not accept my son -_-

What's the point of spending £10,000 per year if they cannot cater for my child? I guess they thought I was asking too many questions, and they like children who are 'normal' and will get good grades, so the school will be one of the top performing schools.

LyndaNotLinda Thu 08-Oct-15 16:36:33

Butterflies - think you just found out that when you have a child with SEN, you don't have quite as much of a choice as people with NT children

There are some private schools that specialise in SEN (but which aren't special schools) but they're few and far between. Sorry you found out in such a hard way sad

chuffinalong Thu 08-Oct-15 16:36:50

I'm not surprised re private, but do feel for you and your son.

I was talking to my daughter recently about schools and the fact that we had to pay for her last school and it wasn't as good etc. She said "Oh, so is my school free? You don't have to pay?" I said that was right, so she said "Oh, that's good. It makes me feel more wanted. They actually want me there and not just to get money."

I hope you find a school which makes your son feel wanted too. wink

ButterfliesnWaterfalls Thu 08-Oct-15 16:59:56

I have seen a nice Primary School, quite close by, mainstream, spoke with the SENCO and felt so relieved as the school has a great SN department. Even Special Needs Teaching Assistants.

It's a small school, with 240 children, and seems perfect, as they have an open door policy. So I can talk to the teacher/SENCO whenever I feel the need to.

I hope my DS is happy there.

Thank you all so much for your support =)

QueenStreaky Sun 18-Oct-15 17:56:20

There is a third option, but I don't know if it would be possible for you. Could you home educate? If I had my time over again, I wouldn't send my son (autism and ADHD) to school. Huge promises were made about support but he got nothing relevant in practice, and he was badly harmed by the experience. HE allows you to work at your child's pace and include lots of social, emotional and personal development as well as academic work. There will probably be a community of home educators in your area that you aren't aware of. Maybe you'll consider that as another option before you decide.

ButterfliesnWaterfalls Sun 18-Oct-15 20:57:03

Hi QueenStreaky: Yes I have considered that, but I will probably have that as a last option. I will see how he gets on at school and if he has a strong support network. I can always home-school him if I see him struggling.


WeOnlyPlannedTheFirst Fri 23-Oct-15 19:50:22

My 4 year old has just been diagnosed with autism and has started at the local state primary. They have agreed to having him just 1 day a week for now and I will be increasing it when I have sorted out my work hours and some wraparound care.
Anyway his psychologist report suggests he needs 1:1 extra support. From what I've read on EHCP's if this is determined as essential for him then it has to be funded. So I can't see any benefit of smaller class sizes as per a private school anyway.
Looks like the EHCP process will be long winded so I'm hoping for reception year to be him getting used to school and routine there, and help in place for Year 1.
Home Ed is a back up option but I'm going to give mainstream school a good shot first but I think it's necessary to push and fight for the extra support.
I'm optimistic as the school are working with me so far with regards his part time attendance etc and allowing him to choose activities so I'm hoping this collaborative attitude stays!

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