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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:02 am
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Hello

I am trying to decide how to fill out my school application form, and I have the choice of either Queen Elizabeth High School, (Gainsborough), or Caistor....

We are out of Catchment for both, but my son has a Statement of Special Educational needs, so we are very likely to get offered a place at whichever we choose.

Does anybody have any opinions as to which school is better with children with additional needs? Or any opinions at all regarding the schools in general?

I keep thinking I SHOULD send him to Caistor, but QEHS is niggling at me because I felt much more comfortable there. But we came out from Caistor's headmasters speech in awe.....

He got a very good pass mark at QEHS so I am confident Grammar School is best for him.

He likes them both!!!

I am going to visit the SENCO's this coming week, but just wondered if anybody had any experience?

Its keeping me up at night :-(

x


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:02 am 
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Such a nice position to be in but such a difficult one too. I have no experience of Caistor at all. I know Ofsted mentioned about the SEN arrangements @ QE in their last report. I thinking speaking with both SENCO's is a great idea, maybe visit both again during the day and something may just 'click'? Good luck anyway and well done to your DS such a fantastic achievement x


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:37 am 
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Does either school have a leaning to a prticular subject that he is interested in? Is one a significantly easier journey?

We are in an area where lots of people sat both tests, so there has been much talk about the two schools. It is all 'gossip' in a way and dependent on who they have been talking to so each day I could pass on a completely different point of view. I have consitently heard that Queenies is good for pastoral care, and that seems to be backed up by the children that I know that have gone there this year.

If the SEN provision is good at both schools then I would imagine that he will do well in either place so I would advise to just go with your gut reaction. It's hard though.

(I could advise you to go to Caistor so that we are more likely to get a place ;-) or to go to Queenies and you might get to meet lovely parents like me....or maybe not!)

Can you do unannounced visits? That would be good.

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The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:53 am 
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Haha, I did wonder if I would get biased views so we don't take up a space, but this forum has been so helpful with advice and people genuinely wanting to help, so i thought it would be worth a go! :wink:

The pastoral care/SENCO at QEHS is what I am leaning towards. I have only had one phonecall with the SENCO at Caistor, and she seems hard to get an appointment with - only part time which is understandable being a small school, but does worry me a little. QEHS SENCO is lovely and has already met with me once before the exams, was VERY supportive, and we are awaiting another meeting.

I would also imaging QEHS has more experience with SEN as it is a larger school and has more numbers on roll...

The subjects is another thing, he is academic - but he is also very artistic and musical (very good at drums and acting!!) - so on that alone I suppose QEHS would be a better choice (specialism is music). I believe Caistor has Sport as a specialism, and he is not sporty at all. BUT, you don't HAVE to be sporty to learn there.

I believe a few of his friends from Primary will be going to Caistor, none sat the QEHS exam. So thats another thing - but he honestly doesn't mind going to a new school and making new friends. In a way I think he is seeing it as a 'new start' after a difficult few years. When we decided to go for the exams he realised that there was no guarantee he would be with people he knew, if he passed.

Travel will be difficult to sort out whichever school we choose. I couldn't sleep last night so have been up emailing companies to see who does transport... I always said if he earned a place we need to do whatever we can to get him there!

Writing this has made me realise that I am curving more towards QEHS....but more opinions are deffinately appreciated.

(He came out of both QE exams talking to another child and grinning - so he obviously felt comfortable there too)

Eeeek!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:20 am 
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I know nothing of Caistors SEN policies but my daughter goes to Caistor, she's now in year 10. Yes it is a Sports Specialist school but like your son my daughter is probably the least sporty child you could find :D but the school cater for everyone, yes they do the 'usual' sports - cricket, football, hockey, netball etc but seem to want to involve everyone insome form of sports/exercise so this year so far my daughter has been doing Zumba & boxercise, they also use the fitness suite which has some fantastic machines. There isnt any 'pressure' for any of the children to do well at sports but if they do then the facilities and teaching is there.

Not sure where you live, we live 12 miles from Caistor and transport to the school (for us) is organised by a local couple, they also arrange transport to other school so you might want to see if they do it. (I can give you phone number etc)

It does sound like youre leaning towards QEHS and I think you should really go with what you feel, what might be right for my child might not be right for yours :D
I can only say that my daughter has blossomed at Caistor and being a small school all the teachers get to know the pupils very well.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:37 am 
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Hello Floss

ooh, thank you for your input - its good to know the sports aren't forced onto the children. He likes things like tennis/badminton, etc - its the group sports he doesn't like. But thats him all over really!

We didn't get to look around Caistor properly at the open evening, not enough time before the headmasters speech, so I am looking forward to having a proper look next week.

I think he would thrive at both schools, and I think thats why the decision is so hard....

I have just been talking to somebody re:transport - I believe it may be the couple you were referring to - they were very helpful, and I have found out that there is already a child in my tiny village who attends the school, and one from the village over - so thats promising.

Do you by any chance happen to know how big the class sizes are at Caistor? I am sure I have the info here somewhere, but my brain is bogged down - obviously we were researching non Grammar schools before the results came out so I have numbers bussing round my head. (I had ALMOST chosen that one, haha!)

Well, I had better stop obsessing and get some work done.

Thanks again

x


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:15 pm 
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We had parents from the year above anxiously waiting for our children's results as they are trying to find enough children to arrange a bus/mini bus to QEHS. They nearly sorted one last year and then some parents decided it was easier to take them themselves. The service bus they use now isn't always reliable and they worry about them being late in the morning.

Enjoy your look round Caistor next week. And I promise I wouldn't try and persuade anyone for my own aims. We are actually looking forward to a 'fresh start' for DS and hoping that he finds some like minded friends. But then he is sport obsessed and I dont' think I could cope with any more football talk.

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The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
Dr Seuss


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:02 am
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oooh, thanks for the transport feedback. I have emailed for information but am still waiting to hear back....

A parent organised mini-bus would be great, but I fear I would still miss out on that, as we are over 20m away. From what I understand the furthest is usually around Bottesford area (as my DS has a statement the school will accept him if we decide to go there)

Lots of pro's for both schools, a couple of cons..... Not enough time (or too much - I'm stewing here, haha!)

x


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:02 am
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Hello

In case anybody is interested, I thought I'd pop in to let you know, after a very reassuring meeting with the SENCO today, we have made a decision. Caistor it is.

The final push was travel arrangements. I am confident both school would be amazing for him, and both schools special needs departments would be supportive of him. So it came down to the least stressful journey, bearing in mind this is it for his whole high school education.

Thanks to everyone here for your support, it has been a great help.

Maybe I'll sleep tonight now!!!

x


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:32 pm
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I'm pleased for you that you've made a decision. It must be a great relief. And you are right, the travel impacts on every single day for the next few years so will make things easier. (You'll never get to bump into me at the school gate now either - that's another bonus!)

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The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
Dr Seuss


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