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Where would you move to? London or commuter belt, SEN schools
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Chachachachaha · 12/05/2022 13:00

We’re looking to relocate from SE Asia to the U.K. in the next year. Housing budget is £1.1m or thereabouts, looking for a four bed house, ideally detached but willing to consider semi/terraced for areas closer in to London. Have two kids- one 3 year old with mild autism (they use the phrase Level 1 ASD here- equivalent to Aspergers) who is currently in an early intervention program, could probably do mainstream primary with support, one (so far) NT one year old. We’re looking for safe, leafy, well connected with fantastic schools and ideally specialist support available. Need to commute to Kings Cross and Westminster, ideally in under 30 min, and have family around Manchester so probably want North London/surrounds for ease.

So far we’ve identified Muswell Hill/East Finchley (but possibly out of budget) and St Albans/Hitchin. Any other ideas really welcome.

Also, for anyone else who has done a similar move, did you find education and location consultants useful?

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Sockpile · 12/05/2022 15:31

I live in Herts and there isn’t enough SEN support to meet demand, the system is in crisis. Many areas have the same difficulties.
Have a look on Facebook for SEN groups in the areas you are planning to move too to see what support actually looks like in those areas.

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Lilbunnyfufu · 12/05/2022 16:01

SEN schools are really hard to get into in London there are not enough places. we have really had to fight hard to get our DS 5 into one for September this year.
There was 250 kids needing places but only 75 SEN places available in special schools in our area.

If you think your DS would cope in a mainstream school with help I think this would be your best option depending on the area you move too.

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Geneticsbunny · 12/05/2022 21:07

With that budget I would move somewhere cheaper and pay for private education for both kids. The small class sizes 12+15 Vs 30 in mainstream will massively benefit any children with sen who would manage in a mainstream and might be enough alone to level the field for them. It is very unusual to have such an early diagnosis if they only have a mild presentation though.

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maskersanonymous · 12/05/2022 21:12

I wouldn't be assuming that private was better - having had the experience with state, private and specialist independent, the state actually did a better job with our SEN child which was not what I was expecting. I wouldn't also assume that mainstream will work. It might, but I would be trying to find somewhere where you could find possibilities in all three sectors (state, private and specialist) and be prepared to move between them until your child finds the right support.

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TizerorFizz · 13/05/2022 00:05

In my LA, you won’t get a special school place without a EHC plan naming the school. Most young children start their assessment in nursery but the local primary is usually where DC start. They are initially responsible for supporting SEN children but some will transfer to special school. However there are not many suitable schools available.

Many private schools simply won’t take SEN children or, if they do, might ask them to leave stating they cannot meet their needs. I would think independent was unlikely in the long term. If you want independent SEN, you need ultra deep pockets. Or you get an independent SEN school named on the plan. That’s not easy to get though.

30 mins to KX is Hertfordshire. You might like Brookmans Park, Potters Bar or, a bit further out, Harpenden.

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TizerorFizz · 13/05/2022 00:06

DC start assessment in nursery if necessary ….. that should read. It’s not always necessary.

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MozerellaSalad · 13/05/2022 00:16

High Functioning ASD would usually not get a special school place as they wouldn't meet the threshold and probably wouldn't get much classroom support in mainstream. They dont need an EHCP for support in mainstream in some LAs.

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MozerellaSalad · 13/05/2022 00:19

St Albans to Westminster is a good hour.

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Itscoldouthere · 13/05/2022 08:14

It’s a tricky one as aged 3 you don’t really know yet how your ASD child will cope with school.
My children are much older now but went to school in Muswell Hill and Hertfordshire with ASD.
Primary provision worked well but I think we chose the wrong school for secondary, so moved to private in Hertfordshire, but I think if we’d gone to a different secondary it would have been ok in London.
I think you need to decide where you’d like to live, London (even leafy North london) is very different from ‘the shires’ so I’d consider that carefully.
Having recently moved back to north London if you are considering Muswell Hill/East Finchley your budget is a bit light for a 4 bed and no way would it be detached. 4 bed terraces/semi in MH are more like 1.2 upwards larger semi detached are more like 1.4 upwards, schools are a major reason people move to MH, the catchments areas are small and that’s reflected in house prices.

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Chachachachaha · 13/05/2022 13:57

Sockpile

I live in Herts and there isn’t enough SEN support to meet demand, the system is in crisis. Many areas have the same difficulties.
Have a look on Facebook for SEN groups in the areas you are planning to move too to see what support actually looks like in those areas.

That’s really useful to know, thank you.

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Chachachachaha · 13/05/2022 14:01

Thanks @Geneticsbunny , @TizerorFizz @maskersanonymous Lots to think about on state vs private. I think we need to start identifying specific schools - where we are now there are lots of international schools, but only two can do both mainstream and support for ASD for example, and I’m sure different schools in the U.K. will have different capabilities. Finding somewhere to live with lots of different options seems like the smart move.

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Chachachachaha · 13/05/2022 14:03

MozerellaSalad

St Albans to Westminster is a good hour.

I’d hoped it would be shorter, but that sounds realistic. St Albans looks good for Kings Cross but not so much for then getting across London to Westminster. Thanks!

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Chachachachaha · 13/05/2022 14:09

Itscoldouthere

It’s a tricky one as aged 3 you don’t really know yet how your ASD child will cope with school.
My children are much older now but went to school in Muswell Hill and Hertfordshire with ASD.
Primary provision worked well but I think we chose the wrong school for secondary, so moved to private in Hertfordshire, but I think if we’d gone to a different secondary it would have been ok in London.
I think you need to decide where you’d like to live, London (even leafy North london) is very different from ‘the shires’ so I’d consider that carefully.
Having recently moved back to north London if you are considering Muswell Hill/East Finchley your budget is a bit light for a 4 bed and no way would it be detached. 4 bed terraces/semi in MH are more like 1.2 upwards larger semi detached are more like 1.4 upwards, schools are a major reason people move to MH, the catchments areas are small and that’s reflected in house prices.

Thank you, this is really useful. Was there a problem with the first secondary you picked that’s likely to still be an issue now? If so, it would be really helpful if you could drop me a PM about it.

We spent six years living in central London so are pretty confident about living there (in fact, the Shires make me much more nervous than London does!) but I think it will be very different with kids than it was when we were young and fancy free.

I’d agree with your assessment of our budget. It’s not quite enough for Muswell Hill at the moment. Do you have any suggestions for areas around there which are similar but cheaper? We were looking at Golders Green as well which seems a bit more in budget.

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MozerellaSalad · 13/05/2022 19:24

Chachachachaha

MozerellaSalad

St Albans to Westminster is a good hour.

I’d hoped it would be shorter, but that sounds realistic. St Albans looks good for Kings Cross but not so much for then getting across London to Westminster. Thanks!

Its as quick as you are going to get
The Victoria line is the fastest and its about 20 minutes from Kings Cross To Pimlico and then a walk (aka known as the death march of the civil servants- past my flat)

Where in Westminster?

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Winkydink · 13/05/2022 19:31

I have a DC with mild autism and private school has been the best option where we live in London. He wasn’t affected enough to qualify for the specialist schools, nor get 1-2-1 TA in a state primary. We went private and paid ourselves for SALT and OT and benefited from the small class sizes. His SALT and OT both did sessions at his school and raved about how it was a brilliant environment for him. (Both professionals spent a lot of time in the local state schools too, so were in a position to compare).

DC is now in a top independent secondary and there are c.15 children with HFA (mild ASD) at their school. They have dedicated sessions every week with the learning support team to check on how they are doing and if any issues they are dealt with quickly and supportively.

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Doubleraspberry · 13/05/2022 19:33

I worry, reading your OP, that you will find the UK a very different prospect for your children than you have been used to. It is extremely unlikely for example that a three year old here would have a diagnosis of high functioning autism. The waits for diagnosis are years long, including even obtaining referrals, unless you go private. When you say your child would cope in mainstream with support, what support are you imagining? I’m not meaning to be rude at all but resources are incredibly scarce in many areas, and is funding, so you may not easily get what you think your child needs.

I would be looking closely at your possible areas. Maybe join some SEN parenting groups there. Look at the ratings of the SEND provision. Check out local SEND offers.

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Bellisima234 · 13/05/2022 19:57

If you want Specialist support within mainstream you will need to apply for an EHCP otherwise it will not happen. I am in Herts and my DS does have a 1 to 1 in mainstream but it was a long drawn out legal process to get this. Most private schools are not interested in SEN sadly. Frankly if you have great support where you are I would stay if it is feasible.

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Elsie2022 · 13/05/2022 20:11

I live in East Finchley and love it. I chose to buy a flat in East Finchley over a house in Hitchin as a FTB as I didn't want to commute. If you are relocating from a city state in SE Asia, that is my home country :) and if you have lived for years there, I think the home counties would be a bit of a shock but I adapted very quickly to z3 north London and it feels like home to me. I do know someone from my home country who is very happy with Hitchin so I guess everyone is different..

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Elsie2022 · 13/05/2022 20:13

@Doubleraspberry

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Elsie2022 · 13/05/2022 20:16

@Doubleraspberry I am from the most developed country in SE Asia (which I suspect is where OP is relocating from) and I have a cousin with autism back home who was in special school all his life. I can't speak for OP's experience but I think the UK is miles ahead with helping kids with SEN. My home country is good for bright kids and average kids and not much in between. And I have cousins who attended international school too so I am not just talking from the perspective of a local who only has access to local schools.

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MozerellaSalad · 13/05/2022 20:28

Elsie2022

@Doubleraspberry I am from the most developed country in SE Asia (which I suspect is where OP is relocating from) and I have a cousin with autism back home who was in special school all his life. I can't speak for OP's experience but I think the UK is miles ahead with helping kids with SEN. My home country is good for bright kids and average kids and not much in between. And I have cousins who attended international school too so I am not just talking from the perspective of a local who only has access to local schools.

Why not say Singapore?

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TizerorFizz · 13/05/2022 21:42

A good nursery should be flagging up any SEND issues with NHS and SENDCO in school. Some DC have a Plan very early but they have extreme needs. I would think a school would assess as they go along but one to one TA is unlikely I feel. Few DC get that. However the class TA will be helping.

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Doubleraspberry · 13/05/2022 22:19

@MozerellaSalad I have no idea what provision is in other countries but the OP’s mention of a diagnosis of high functioning autism by age 3 suggests that she is accessing better support than she will find in this country (although you can get private diagnoses here of course). But I actually live in the UK, with three children with autism, and I know a lot of other parents of neurodiverse children, and while there may be some fantastic provision, accessing it is a whole other issue. I have no idea what the OP envisions for support for her child in school. A child with high functioning autism in mainstream should get a support plan and may be able to access some support but how much will vary hugely - from some sort of key person they can access if they need a chat to a weekly Lego club to a session of well-being lessons for example. They won’t get much more than that. Specialist schools are not for them, unless you go privately. There are roughly 8 children in need of a place at specialist schools (of all sorts) for each place that actually exists.

So it’s not about quality, it’s about access and funding (if you read the SEN board on here for 15 minutes you’ll see the huge struggles parents go through even for the basics - the number of children refusing school owing to anxieties from unsupported neurodiversity for example) and resource - my child has a 1:1 in theory but no one ever applies for the job because it’s so badly paid.

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Doubleraspberry · 13/05/2022 23:47

Sorry, obviously that post was in response to @Elsie2022 , not the cheesy poster!

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BananaPie · 14/05/2022 14:04

Worth saying that a lot of SEN on the milder end of the spectrum don’t meet the bar for an EHCP. The next level down, an individual provision map, will give some support in class but no dedicated / funded support

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