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Secondary education

Looking for a school for children with high functioning Autism

35 replies

MaofSam · 15/09/2018 18:16

Hi,

Can anyone recommend a School in the UK for children on the spectrum who don't have any particularly behavioral issues, but do have challenges with language and social interactions? Not sure if I should be looking at schools who specialse with kids on the spectrum, or maybe a private school with small classes and a great SEN department. Would love some advice. Thank you!

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AnotherNewt · 15/09/2018 18:35

Any preferences where?

Two which spring to mind are Fairley House in London (day school, expensive, pupils usually stay for a year or two whilst they learn to strategies and skills so that they can transfer successfully to mainstream.

Or St Bede's Eastbourne (day or boarding, which is not a specialist school but which has a good reputation for support.

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cakesandtea · 15/09/2018 20:35

I sympathise, it is a very hard task to navigate the maze of choosing the school for a child with HFA. There was a recent thread with some answers here:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/3355892-Private-Secondary-schools-in-London-for-HF-ASD

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OneEpisode · 15/09/2018 20:41

I think you need to give us more indications of what you are looking for! For example some areas of the UK still have academically selective grammar schools. Many aspie kids perform well in the sorts of tests these schools use, and these schools may actually have strong SEN units.

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Zodlebud · 15/09/2018 21:25

Egerton Rothersay School

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cheminotte · 15/09/2018 21:40

Primary or secondary?

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Lonecatwithkitten · 16/09/2018 05:54

Grately house school near Andover might be what you are looking for.

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MillicentMargaretAmanda · 16/09/2018 08:39

www.autism.org.uk/services/nas-schools/thames-valley/learning.aspx in Reading. A friend's child is now at college doing a BTEC after attending here.

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cakesandtea · 16/09/2018 10:32

A systematic way to get a sense of what is available is to pick a Local Authority and look at the "Local offer" and at the list of private schools where they placed the children. There is also a list of independent special schools on DfE website and a list of independent schools under section 41 of education act...
There is also the equivalent of good schools' guide for SEN. Sorry I don't have the links to hand, but they are googleable.

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MaofSam · 18/09/2018 16:14

Thank you everyone, that is all so helpful. It's a secondary school I am looking for. You've given me plenty of ideas of resources I should check. It's all a bit overwhelming, and I am grateful for the help.

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 07/12/2020 13:02

Hello,

I’ve just taken to Mumsnet to find out from other SENs parents what to do about schools and found this thread. It’s now Dec 2020 but my B7 has High functioning ASD, is in private school and is doing reasonably well academically, less great on friendship forming. But worried about the step up in volume as he gets older as he has dislike of writing which is going to hold him back! Did any parents here find good schools for their children? We are based in west London but willing to travel or even move for 11-18 age schools.
Not sure about going for 11+ as he’s bright and tracking well but think he’d not survive having to write English tests to a tight 45 minute or 1 hour deadline in exam conditions for the top schools!! Want to try and find the better options now to review so we can be better help him to find the best place for him.

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 07/12/2020 13:20

Opps it got sent before I’d finished.

I really appreciate learning from parents who have been through this or experiencing it now. Feeling very stressed by this and the whole EHCP process.

Thanks for reading

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GrammarHopeful · 07/12/2020 22:41

Hi, @Notsoyummymummy12

I have a 11 yo DS with autism as well, and we are nearly done with the 11+ process. I can't yet tell you how successful we were (although he passed at least one of the grammars so far) or whether that's the right choice, but simply that it may be doable.

We do have an EHCP, and had an EP report we luckily commissioned just before COVID, so DS was granted 25%/10% extra time in most of his exams, both for grammars and selective independents. The more selective independents, interestingly, the better the engagement and granting of extra time in my n=1 case. He has pretty high IQ, but slowish processing speed and executive function. In other words, typical "spiky" profile.

English is definitely more of a challenge here. So are friendships, or lack thereof... Although, he thinks that he may be able to form some going into Y7, on the basis that he expects other boys to be academic and sensible.

Time will tell.

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 07/12/2020 23:04

Hi @GrammarHopeful,

Thank you for responding, I wasn’t sure anyone would.
It looks like an EP with an EHCP can help extend the time with exams. Amazing that your DS wants to sit the exams and sounds very grounded about the next stage of school where the “kids might be more academic and sensible...”
Have you worked on anything to help get him to this calmer space? Mine seems to have an anxious outlook and can display by refusing to go in.

May I ask where you are in the country and how you found the selective Private schools interested in your DS? I’ve found private schools very stand offish once I say High functioning ASD here in west London.

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13lucky · 07/12/2020 23:06

My advice when looking at Secondary Schools would be to ascertain what their Student Support / SEN / Pastoral Team is like...then look at the rest of the school. This is how we chose the school for our HFA son. There was one school which stood out, head and shoulders above the rest...it is a Super Selective State Secondary School and luckily he scored enough to go there without too much hassle but it was a heart in mouth moment for us when waiting for the results because I knew it had the best pastoral set up. Ds started in September and it has lived up to my expectations...I would have chosen the school had it been Grammar or not just because of the strong pastoral team that I witnessed on the three times I visited. Good luck.

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 08/12/2020 09:34

Hi @ 13lucky

Thanks for that guidance.
What in terms of pastoral/ Sen team stood out for you? Did you only look at your local schools or did you consider schools that can be bused/ driven to?

Did you use the Sen schools guide? I’m thinking of buying a subscription but not sure how useful it will be to try and identify schools to visit.

Thank you for sharing

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GrammarHopeful · 08/12/2020 21:14

@Notsoyummymummy12

Well, it's not all roses, I can tell you that for sure :) We have anxious moments, worrying about the future, had massive issues with coming back to school after lockdown (he reasoned that he is doing much better with Zoom and not having to engage with any of the other children plus was paranoid giving Covid to granny, who was visiting), etc.

More generally, I will forever credit the signfiicant progress he has been able to achieve to date to following a well-run ABA programme for years. The team at UK Young Autism Project had down wonders for us.

Re exams, we had a low key approach to preparation initially, where he attended a group-based 11+ tutor. Can't remember how we got him there now, probably bribed with a gadget or a holiday :> Was more about being other kids in another setting than anything else at start. Then when Covid struck earlier in the year, I found myself having more time to work with him myself, and as I do like maths and science (I have a reasonably 'hard' MSc, though should have pursued further studies...), so some rubbed off of him, although I still thihk he likes the idea of science more than actual science itself at the moment, but then again, he doesn't really know what the real thing is yet!

There is a SW London boys thread on the front page, mine is one of the first posts with some further details about us. We are in SW London.

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redpandaalert · 09/12/2020 20:09

I have a DS with ASD and went through 11+ process last year. My strong advice is do not get a EHCP, private schools in general do not like them and cannot fund 1-1 support if that’s what the EHCP states, the LEA funding has to be topped up by the parents. Look for a school with strong pastoral support. Some schools have SEN support included in the fees and others you have to pay per session it can prove expensive. We found some schools not fazed by DS diagnosis others were far less keen. Look at lots of schools, have meetings with their sencos. You need EP report and the formal ASD diagnosis report.

If you DS needs 1-1 support then the state sector is best, even More House in Frenshem only does small group support. More House a very good option and it was and probably until the start of year 9 is our back up plan if a standard independent school doesn’t work for DS.

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ittakes2 · 09/12/2020 20:34

Grammar schools - just find one who has a good programme for autistic kids. Most in our area have changed time clubs for aspies etc.

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 09/12/2020 22:16

Thank you @ Grammarhopeful!
Very useful info and thanks for directing me to the SW London boys thread!👍

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 09/12/2020 22:23

Hi @redpandaalert

Sounds like you’ve found a great Independent school. I’ve tried in and around London and the home counties with places like Claremont Fan Court even but the diagnosis ASD just sends up the red flags and they just say no! Having done the 11+ Last year how is your DS doing in his new school?
I’m also interested to know why and EHCP is not a good idea? I thought it’s a very useful thing for state grammars in case we don’t find any nurturing private schools?

Thanks

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Notsoyummymummy12 · 09/12/2020 22:26

Thanks @ittakes2

I’ve just realised that’s a possible route from scanning these forums over last few days.
I’m scared to death of the stress involved for DS and if he’s be willing to sit them but it’s got to be worth a go as he’s pretty bright. Smile

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redpandaalert · 09/12/2020 22:38

We looked at Claremont Fan and didn’t think it was the right for my DS. EHCP is a legal document and if it says a child needs to have x hours of 1-1 support then a school has to do this but the Local authority doesn’t provide all the funding for it, parents would have to pay a large part of a sen TA, the part that a state school would have to pay out of its central budget. Most private schools don’t want kids that require a TA in their classrooms.

There are some great independent schools out there which do provide the support. Some of them are less obvious so worth looking at a lot of schools.

My DS hates crowds and urban environments so we found schools with large grounds and smaller class sizes - not something a grammar school can normally provide. Each child with ASD is different.

DS as happy as he can be in year 7, friendships a bit slow to form when he had lots of friends at prep school but Covid hasn’t helped.

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10brokengreenbottles · 09/12/2020 23:08

LEA funding has to be topped up by the parents
parents would have to pay a large part of a sen TA

These are incorrect. The LA is responsible for ensuring provision in section F of an EHCP is delivered, that includes 1:1. If an independent mainstream is the only suitable provision then the LA must fund the fees and the SEN provision. If the provision in section F isn't provided and is specified and quantified the parents can force the LA to provide what is in section F via Judicial Review.

If the LA believe a state school can meet a child's needs but the parents want mainstream independent they will sometimes come to an agreement where the parents pay the fees and the LA will pay the SEN provision. Other times they won't pay either because it is classed as parents making suitable arrangements.


More House in Frenshem only does small group provision

If a child's EHCP states 1:1 it must be provided regardless of what the school normally provides.

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KarenMaguire2012 · 14/12/2020 12:38

Bedes senior school eastbourne

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ChocolateHoneycomb · 16/12/2020 08:28

We are currently looking for a 13+ school for ds1 with HFASD and dyslexia. It is really tough for the bright relatively well performing kids with HFASD/mildish SEN who need the curriculum of a mainstream school but also a bit of flexibility, kindness and individual input on the odd occasion. Our ds is way above the ability level of the SEN schools we visited (pre covid), More House aside.

Multiple people advised us not to go down the EHCP route, as that closes off large numbers of options. I could be wrong, but I've had the vague feeling that if your ds needs an EHCP as the level of support required is high, then looking at state options might be the best route.

Rendcomb college in gloucestershire is supposed to be excellent and does take dc with EHCP. Bloxham school and Shiplake college also seemed fairly open to supporting a wider range of SEN when we visited. We are oxfordshire based though not London so these suggestions are probably not helpful, but even looking at their websites might help in your general reserach.

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