My feed

to access all these features


I'm a deputy head in a large special needs school in London AMA...

82 replies

Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 18:57

As title says...

I work in an inner London state special school catering for kids 3-18 and have for 9 years. I totally love my job and the kids and feel so proud when they leave us to go on to colleges or sometime even employment.

I make decisions about placements for our local authority and represent my school on borough wide panels as well as in education tribunals.

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 19:39

Sorry I don't know the school- very different area of London to me.

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 19:40

Thank you very much and best of luck for you and your daughter- I hope she flourishes in her new school.

OP posts:
Harleyisme · 29/07/2018 19:49

Thank you abney. We have Salt, pediatrician and health visitor support us so far. Peadiatricion and HV have both said he needs support. SALT won't say much. We pushed for a EHCP which ment an EP had to do an assessment which to be honest didn't feel right the report doesn't match up to things she said to us and we haven't meet with them since about it. In the end EP helped by the council turned it into a blame me time. It was all so confusing as EP report contradicted all of the nurseries reports all his inclusion teacher reports he's had additional inclusion funding and support though out nursery so it makes no sense at all. The tribunal judge was so confused he sided with la and EP and told us to get more evidence and try again.
Thank you for your answers and I agree with Kate you do a fantastic job.

Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 19:57

Sorry to hear that! Sounds like you've had a rough ride, it is hard to tell in such young children but please keep going, I see parents exhausted by this all the time and feel so bad to be part of the system that lets them down, your child is lucky to have a parent fighting their corner, good luck with everything.

OP posts:
Harleyisme · 29/07/2018 20:00

Thank you abney much appreciated and I will ever give up my ds Is worth way more 😀

imip · 29/07/2018 20:01

Hi OP, I’m a mum to 2 dds with ASD in a mainstream setting. I fought tooth and nail for my dd EHC plan. No one could see the masking she did at home, the self harm, the constant running away. It’s been a battle to be understood. Just wondering about where dds like mine ‘fit’ in the education system. Quite cognitively able, copy their peers in terms of how to interact socially, but extremely anxious. I know mainstream is the right setting, but as secondary approaches, I fear the battle of getting the new school to understand her needs. It’s be great to have a school that properly understands sensory needs, food issues dd has - all these seemingly ‘minor’ things that actually have a strangle hold on her life (1 dd presents with more challenges than the other). I love to be an advocate of inclusive ed, but I feel MS has a long way to go, Resourse provisions are full of kids who really need to go to SS.

Also wondering, since your in London, your take on the SEND funding crisis.

AmazingGrace16 · 29/07/2018 20:09

Hi OP.
I'm a mainstream teacher of a shortage subject training to be a senco. I'm about to go on mat leave and want to do as much SEND CPD as I can in the next year. In the future I would like to transition from mainstream into a more specialist setting. Any tips for doing this or any self directed CPD you would recommend?

Takiwatanga · 29/07/2018 20:10

Thank you Abney, it's wonderful to have some of your insight.

Takiwatanga · 29/07/2018 20:17

One last thing... Do you think a child diagnosed at 2 with asd and an ehcp by 3, with a full time 1 to 1 could go on to be independent as an adult. An awfully hard question, I know, but I can't help worry if my son needs this input already, is it an indication he will always need such heavy input? Do you see a pattern with kids this age and how they go on to develop?

Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 20:25

Girls with ASD can be so complex - it's an area we are now receiving much more training in, it is amazing how much they can mask but obviously it takes its toll on them and usually the parents bear the brunt of it,

I would say a cognitively able girl with ASD would be ideally placed in a base or unit attached to a mainstream. As I said before it can be seen as the best if both works but in any event make sure the school you choose had great pastoral care as it sounds like this could help a lot. I understand your concerns about the units being under pressure to take children that special schools can't but I would investigate these thoroughly if you haven't already done so. Good luck

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 20:26

Oh and with regards to the funding crisis we have not seen the same tightening as mainstreams and funding has remained quite stable so overall we've been lucky.

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 20:29

That's amazing you've decided to be a SENCO it's not an easy job but very fulfilling especially in a mainstream school with an inclusive minded head,
I would recommend Makaton training as well, anything on ASD and ADHD and best of all make really good links with your local special school and ask to spend some time there- it may be possible to link this to your assignment for the NASENCO award which may make it easier to justify getting out of school for a few days!

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 20:33

I get asked similar questions a lot and if only a had a crystal ball.... it's impossible to tell I'm afraid at this age,

Some children will need extensive lifelong support and some go on to mainstream and their EHCPs ceased and then everything in between!! However as I said before early intervention has proved extremely effective in ensuring these children meet their potential to the fullest (whatever that may be) so it's really great you've got such support so young- I would really see that as a positive for now, you will always worry I know so sorry if this doesn't really answer your question!

OP posts:
Takiwatanga · 29/07/2018 20:41

Abney it's OK, I'm sorry to ask such a tough question. I just wondered if there was a trend you'd perhaps noted in your years as a headteacher , for example those diagnosed early tend to need more specialist input as adults etc etc. I guess I'm scared of the unknown and would rather be aware of what we face, but no one can say. I find that so painful and hard. I am lucky he is doing well for now though and trying to focus on all his positive strides forward.

WellTidy · 29/07/2018 20:45

What are your thoughts on ABA an do you have experience of an ABA programme in school or outside school?

lozengeoflove · 29/07/2018 20:48

Do you need an English teacher? Grin

zen1 · 29/07/2018 20:53

Hello Abney

I have a child with ASD and a speech and language disorder who is due to start secondary school next year. I have been visiting various specialist schools ( both LA and section 41 schools) and can see him fitting in well at a couple of the Section 41 schools. My LA (also London) tend to try and shoehorn all children who require specialist secondary provision into their ‘one size fits all’ school for MLD, even if their needs are very specific and would not best be met in this placement.

From your experience re placements and in SENDisT, what advice would you give somebody who wanted to challenge the LA about their placement?


From your experience

zen1 · 29/07/2018 20:54

Sorry, don’t know how those three extra words appeared at the end of my post!

Eenymeeny123 · 29/07/2018 20:58

Is your school for mild learning disability or moderate learning disability or both.

Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 20:58

Sorry I have heard of any study or data saying that- I think early diagnosis can be so dependent on things other than the child eg parental acceptance, whether the child goes to nursery or stays at home until school age, availability of services in an area, parental disability or lack of English so any day would be skewed IFSWIM
I think the current thinking is that specialist Nursery places are hard to come by but can yield amazing results for children and families so I am sure your child will do well. You may also be able to access more parental support in such settings and this may help to know others going through the same as you.

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 21:00

Sorry- 'I haven't heard!'

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 21:05

You ask a tough question as obviously I do represent the state sector in tribunals, however I do agree that not all children can be educated in local state provision,

I think you have to be very very clear about which provision in your child's EHCP that the state school cannot meet and how the private school would be able too, that's basically the job of the judge to work out, the provision recommended should be backed up by professionals where possible and backed up by evidence that it works!

A word of warning I would have about private schools is to remember they are a business selling their 'product' to you, I know some private schools have marketing experts on staff and so on.. sorry if that sounds patronising - if you truly feel it's the only place that can meet your child's needs then of course you have every right to go for it- good luck

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 21:06

Its classified as MLD and ASD

OP posts:
Abneyandteal19 · 29/07/2018 21:07

Lol!! Do you mean me personally or my school?? Wink

OP posts:
Eenymeeny123 · 29/07/2018 21:10

Yes I understand that but what I don't get is that mld can both mean mild and moderate learning disability. Does the criteria of the school mean they have to have a certain iq to eligible for your school

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.