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 Post subject: What do you think......?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:39 am
Posts: 55
Location: Kent- duh!
My daughter (14) had some horrendous times at her secondary. Various situations went on in one form or another over almost 3 years, despite talks with teachers,etc, etc. In the end she's become so insecure and stressed about school that we knew we had to get her out. By then she'd lost confidence and was terrified of going to another school where she was utterly convinced that no-one would like her and that they'd all think she was stupid. (She was in the top sets for everything at first- but her work suffered badly and she was moved down.) We made the decision to de-register her and she's been Home Educated since March this year. The LEA visit was very positive and they completely backed up our actions. The option to return to school was always open, we were told.
Well, she's now year 10 and has come a long way in her confidence. She's willing to consider re-entry into mainstream school. To keep her 'up to speed', we've been following National Curriculum work (GCSE- though not through any formal course).
We have a dilemma!
The thing is- in the spring, I warned her that because of the GCSE courses, she'd be better going in at the start of year 10 rather than later. She wasn't ready to make that step at that point. I'm concerned that it's too far along the line to come in late. We've contacted a couple of Secondary schools nearby- but one had no spaces (I suspect this will be the case pretty much all round) and the others have been unbelievably hard to get an answer from (E-mails, phone calls, you name it. They've either ignored us or won't tell us straight if there are places or not, One school has simply passed us from person to person, and some excuse for no direct answer has been made each time.)
I've even said to the schools that I would appreciate their honest opinion of whether they think a return at this point is advisable or not- but no joy.
We do have a back up for qualifications, so she won't be left floundering if a school can't/ won't admit her- but we can't get on with it until we know what her options are. She's in limbo at the moment. If the answer is 'no'- then we could move on.
Personally, I suspect it's a little late in the day for most schools to admit her- but I could be wrong. Can anyone enlighten me?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:55 am 
My child has justed started Yr 10 and I am amazed
:logistics of it all. Choosing his options may 2007, getting new timetables ,moving around even more with different children all day due to subject choices. it was a major upheaval for him(chuck in a big growth spurt and hormones ). Having said that, he has managed as he is quite organised. I have very little say or input now in his work as he gets on with it and the teachers are very good in setting,pacing,marking the school work.Apparently, some coursework is already on its way and some English exam to do in the Dec period.

So your questions will centre on whether your daughter can cope with the very busy school schedule in a new social situation at a school(if you find one) which may or may not be good enough for her capabilities.

I don't envy your situation. But if you can't find a decent school and if you have a back up it may well be the route you have to take.

Hopefully, the professionals will come along and tell you more.


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 Post subject: entering school now
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:22 pm 
I am a little unsure from your post when Year 10 is / was due to start for your daughter. Did you mean that she would normally have started in Year 10 this September?

Even if so, I can't really see a problem. Surely, if you had just moved into the area due to a job move etc, the local education authority is obliged to place your child as she is of compulsory school age.

I am afraid I know very little about this area, but I would have thought that you had as much right to a school education for your daughter as anyone else, and you cannot be expected to home educate for the whole of her school age. There must be plenty of homeschooling that has to cease out of financial necessity for both parents to work for example.

Do you have a contact at the LEA who you can notify of your intention to cease home education immediately and place them under a duty to seek a school place for your child? I'm sure you must have a right to appeal in the same way that a parent has at the normal entry points of 5 and 11. Have you had full clarification of your rights from School Admissions? Have you put yourself on as many school waiting lists as possible?

I don't think that much work is covered in the first month of a school term - I have not seen much in my stepchildren's files, even in Year 11!

I guess the other thing you could consider is for her to go down a year and commence year 10 next September? But if your daughter is happy to go into school now, maybe you don't want to delay? If she is young for her year, could you consider Year 9 or would it be too lacking in challenge for her? Children I have met who are home educated are usually well ahead.

Good luck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:10 pm
Posts: 1068
Location: Lincolnshire
Hello Kent Mum,

Several thoughts about your situation so will try not to get them too mixed up!

The first is that, given your daughter's miserable experiences at her previous school, you are not looking for just any school place. You want a place which will be able to support her and which has good pastoral care. Unless you know about the schools in your area from your own or others' experiences you really need to visit them, talk to the head of pastoral care (or whatever title is used) about your daughter and suss out just how supportive the school is likely to be. You could try asking for opinions on schools on the Kent area of the forum, but you will still need to visit to see for yourself.

You will need to be a bit bolder in your approach by the sounds of it! Ask for an application form and ask for an appointment. If the school is full it is still possible to appeal for a place. For community or controlled schools the county council admissions department will also hold up to date figures for the numbers in each year group and they will have a fairly up to date idea of those in the foundation and VA schools so you could try checking it out with them. If the schools are being really hard to pin down you could also ask the admissions department for some help.

It is more difficult to answer the question about whether it is too late. That depends so much on your daughter and how many courses she would be taking. Inevitably she will have a bit of catching up to do but one half term's work is possible if school can help her work out a programme. But it depends on how well she is able to handle the stress and pressure of having to catch up as well as having to fit in with school life again and with a new peer group. It may be worth contacting your Education Welfare Office to see if they can offer any advice and support with reintegration into school.

On a more purely practical note, a school cannot refuse a place if it has a vacancy in that year group (excepting Grammar schools who may refuse places to those who do not meet their academic requirements). If the school is full in the year group they should be informing you of your right to appeal for a place as a matter of course.

I do hope you manage to find a suitable place and quickly too. However, do not despair - there are plenty of children who go back a year so that they can have the chance to do the 2 year GCSE courses. Many families who have to move house during this critical time find that courses and exam boards are not compatible and start over again in a new place.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:39 am
Posts: 55
Location: Kent- duh!
Thanks for the replies.
Alex, you're absolutely right- if she was to re-enter school, it would have to be the right place for her; not a case of just getting a place anywhere. We'd rather stick with the home-ed option than find her a place for the sake of it.
Well, since I posted this question, we've loked at other schools- and it does seem unlikely she'll return.
It was never a case of being desperate to get her in to a school- more of weighing up all her options before making a final decision and commiting to a plan of action.
It does make me wonder what would happen to a family moving into the area, as places seem like goldust!!! I know the schools we looked at in these last couple of weeks were VERY heavily oversubscribed when we filled in the CAF back at the end of year 6 (one of them was her first choice originally on the CAF, another was her second choice- and that was the reason she didn't get a place at either then), so it doesn't seem likely that anyone moved away or changed schools, thereby leaving a space.
We're very limited to distance, too. If she returned to school, it would have to be within easy commuting. I don't drive and the only school she would qualify for free transport to is the one we removed her from! With full adult fares (most of these schools do not have their own bus/ coach run) on public transport (as it would be before 9 am), it'd be far too expensive to go too far. Plus, it would need to be somewhere I could get to if I ever needed to go to the school or fetch her in the day, etc.
The two nearest who would definitely have places are her old school and another very similar one which we wouldn't consider.
So- it looks like it's home ed. She's 14 now (she'd have started year 10 this Sept) and it's not too long a time. With so many schools now taking GCSEs early-(several of her friends are taking some of theirs in year 10 and having year 11 for re-sits!!!! One school takes some qualification in year 9) and the rest and course work counting for part of the marks, I really think she's missed quite a bit.
Home- ed was never a 'second best option' for us- merely a different option, and it seems we'll be staying on that route.
Thanks for your thoughts.

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Of course I'm out of my mind! It's dark and scary in there!!!!


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 Post subject: Anne42
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:39 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:56 pm
Posts: 53
Location: Medway
My daughter has just started year 10 , & she is like a changed girl . Before she was very sullen & moody , now she comes home smiling and happy & where as before there was no way she would stay on to 6th form , now she wants to .
I think this is due to , her doing the subjects she enjoys & is good at , & also being with a completly different set of people .
I'm now a much relieved mum......apart from no2 about to take 11+ :lol:


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