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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:15 pm 
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What is the effect- advantage or disadvantages of having a statemented child in mainstream school or an independent/non independent special school. This is for a child with a bit of ADHD and social skills, motor skills problems. Would they be better off in a small school setting or in a mainstream. we have 15 days from now to make a decision. we initially felt mainstream or grammar school - depending on the 11+ pass. But council gave a list of approved independent and special schools, we are now considering if one of these might be a better choice instead. Does anyone have a comments on this :(


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:55 pm 
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Everything depends upon your child's ability and only you and the Ed Psych etc know how able your child is to decide if a small school setting/mainstream/grammar/special school best meets their needs.

Is your dc statmented now or are you asking is it better for your dc to be statmented to gain 'advantages'??

Statements may seem to bring advantages with them, but they can also cause a lot of difficulties too and what's written in them isn't always necessarily actioned (as I know to my 1st dd's cost over many years :twisted: ).

If you could be a little bit more specific with your information and question, someone may be able to help you :D

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:57 am 
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Can anyone give me some advise pls. We got the draft statement today.
We are trying to make sense of this draft and what school to choose.

Sorry this is long - but this was what was on our draft statement. it reads --

My child will be provided with
- access to structured intervention to help him develop his social communication skills in class, including access to suppot from a teaching assistant.
- a suitable differentaited curriculum that takes into account his social communication needs, with emphasis on the visual presentation of materials esp thro the use of picture based activities.
- access to a social skills group
- access to an area free of distractions for the completion of some activities
- access to anxiety management stragegies supported by a teaching assitant
- strategies to develop self estemm and positive self image
- intervention to develop his concentration skills including breaking down into managable targets
- access to prog to develop his fine motor skills
- staff who will gain his attention, eye contact, use a good conversational voice, repeat or rephrase wjta other children say and use visual materials to support what he has heard
- other ways of recording his work thro use of ICT and access to a keyboard skills programme
- help in developing independent working skills with particular regard to work organisation with access to help from a teaching assistant.

DS in yr 5 at present. no named school in Part 4 on statement, we were sent a list of independent special school and non maintained special schools and no local ones - no sure what that means. can we name a grammar school or a comp.
is this indirectly saying that the LEA thinks a special school is better for my DS.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:31 pm 
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I'm sorry I can't answer your question about the special schools. I'm a mother of a SEN child with similar issues to what you are dealing with. We are also in the process of deciding which schools to apply to. My 2p worth on your situation:

The items in the draft statement seem very comprehensive. My son's statement contains some that are essentially the same. I can't think of anything else that could be applicable specifically for social skills and motor difficulties. Looks like they will have a Speech & Language and an Occupational Therapist involved to help your child, as well as a TA for in-class support. The therapists might work directly with your child, or they might design a specific programme for your child, and the TA will be doing it daily, taking your child out of classes for that. My son has 1x weekly sessions with a S&L therapist and 1x term OT assessments, and daily 15-20 minute sessions with his TA doing the things recommended by the OT.

As for advantages/disadvantages of mainstream vs special school. I really don't know... It will depend on the child. My personal feeling for my child is that he would be better off in a mainstream school, that is the opinion of the SENCo as well. We are looking at grammar schools, and the back up plan would be a mainstream comprehensive. If the LA suggest a special school, I do not see myself accepting that.

The LA might want to steer you in the direction of a special school if they feel that that would be a more efficient use of resources, e.g. I assume there will be a resident S&L / OT there, or there will be other "economies of scale". It might not be that they specifically feel your child needs to be in a special school. If you are considering if a special school will meet your child's needs better, then is it possible for you to visit some schools with your child and see how you both feel?

Have they specified in part 3 how many hours of TA support per week they will provide? I am wondering if more hours of support would mean that a special schools would be more likely?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:42 pm 
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Nothing specified. my previous post is a carbon copy of what is the part 3. In itself - it addresses his needs but not specific , will the school decide what is allocated or should the LEA have to be more specific.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:24 am 
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Location: Lincolnshire
Hello nicemum,

Quote:
DS in yr 5 at present. no named school in Part 4 on statement, we were sent a list of independent special school and non maintained special schools and no local ones - no sure what that means. can we name a grammar school or a comp.
is this indirectly saying that the LEA thinks a special school is better for my DS.


The school is not named on a proposed Statement, but left blank so that the LA does not pre-empt the parents' right to state a preference for a maintained school or to make representations for a non-maintained independent or special school. The proposed Statement is always accompanied by lists of different types of schools and this certainly does not mean that the LA thinks that a special school is more appropriate. The LA has a duty to educate in a mainstream school where parents wish it as long as it is not "incompatible with the provision of efficient education for other children". The LA must name the maintained school the parents prefer unless:
- the school is unsuitable for the child's age, ability and aptitude and the special educational needs as set out in part 2 of the Statement
- the child's attendance is incompatible with the efficient education of other children in the school or the efficient use of the LA's resources.

When it comes to independent and non-maintained special schools, parents have no right to "state a preference" but may "make representations" and the LA does not have a qualified duty to comply as it does with maintained mainstream schools.

Basically the starting point for the LA will be whether there is suitable provision within the maintained sector. They will only name a school outside of it if the child's needs cannot be met within these resources.

You can certainly name a Grammar or a comprehensive, but your child will need to pass the tests for the Grammar in the same way as any other child (though it is possible that "reasonable adjustments" could be made to the testing situation for them).

Quote:
- access to structured intervention to help him develop his social communication skills in class, including access to suppot from a teaching assistant.


This is horribly vague! Provision should be quantified and specified. WHAT structured intervention; WHAT support (one to one? in a group?) For HOW LONG? and HOW OFTEN?

Quote:
- a suitable differentaited curriculum that takes into account his social communication needs, with emphasis on the visual presentation of materials esp thro the use of picture based activities.


And who is going to help the teachers interpret this and incorporate it into their class teaching...?

Quote:
- access to a social skills group


Which group, how often, for how long, how is progress to be measured, what improvements are expected from it?

Quote:
- access to an area free of distractions for the completion of some activities


Which activities, how often, how long for?

Quote:
- access to anxiety management stragegies supported by a teaching assitant


What strategies, how often, when?

Quote:
- strategies to develop self estemm and positive self image


Delivered by whom, how often, when, for how long..?

Quote:
- intervention to develop his concentration skills including breaking down into managable targets


What is going to be broken down, by whom, what other intervention?

Quote:
- access to prog to develop his fine motor skills


Delivered by whom, where, how often and for how long?

-
Quote:
help in developing independent working skills with particular regard to work organisation with access to help from a teaching assistant.


Access when, for how long and on what basis?

You get the picture. When things are left as vague as this it is very difficult to know exactly what help your child will be getting and also difficult to challenge if you feel the help is insufficient or not appropriate enough.

You can ask for a meeting with the Education Officer to discuss any aspects of the proposed Statement before it is finalised.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:07 am 
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Hello again. I hope I am not going to confuse you, but if I may offer my experience as an example. My son's statement is also very vague. What Alex has said is absolutely correct, and that is exactly what I was told by Parent Partnership. Unfortunately, I only got in touch with them after the statement was finalised and they were outraged by the vagueness and said it should have specified what, how often, for how long. But, what happened in practice in our case was that the vagueness was actually a good thing. However, crutially one thing that we did on the recommendation of the SENCo was we added to each vague statement that the support should be "advised, planned, monitored and reviewed by a specialist". For example, to:

Quote:
- access to structured intervention to help him develop his social communication skills in class, including access to suppot from a teaching assistant.


we added " planned and advised by a qualified S&L therapist and reviewed on a termly basis". Similarly we have

- Support, advice and guidance from a qualified OT, reviewed and monitored on a termly basis.

So even though "what support?, how often?, for how long?" are not specified in the statement, the specialists will make recommendations and the school has to do what the specialists say. For example, OT recommended daily 15 minute sessions, the school at one stage was short-staffed and stopped the daily sessions, so I complained that they were not following the statement.

My personal experience (this has worked in our case, and I do not mean to contradict Alex, just sharing my personal experience and maybe it depends on the school as well! ) is that if the statement is too precise then the school only need to follow what the statement says. The statement will be reviewed once a year. However, if your child's needs change, it is relatively easier to have another assessment by a specialist, at least on a termly basis. You will be present at the appointment and you can tell them what you think your child needs, and they will assess and then change their recommendations if appropriate. The school will then have to change the provision, as per the advice of the specialist. For example, after the statement was final, my son was diagnosed with an additional condition, and the OT made additional recommendations, which the school had to implement. So in our case, the vagueness added flexibility. But it is very important to include something that doesn't leave it up to the school to decide what support to provide.

Also, what the school is limited by is the amount of funding they receive from the LA, and that depends on the hours of support that should be specified in part 3. If they receive say 10 hours of TA time per week, then they have to provide this, and what exactly they provide is down to the recommendation of the specialists.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:48 pm 
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Reading the draft statement again - Noticed that the level of funding that has been allocated is just over £3000 (3a) - wonder if that will be enough to cover all that was stated in my previous post - how do we ask for more - the aschool or us. might be worth mentioning in our response to them.
they have asked for a named school - DS in year 5, is it that they are asking if we want him moved to another sch priamry or is that for the secondary school choice. if the final statement will not be till maybe May/June ?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:34 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
The amount of funding should really follow on from the specifics in Part 3. If the number of TA hours are specified, for example, then that has direct implications for the funding as TA's have to be paid a set amount. The first task is to get the rest of the Statement "right" - when it is very vague it is difficult to argue for more money because you need to be able to say what exactly the money is for. Conversely, if Part 3 is specific and quantified, it becomes relatively easier to say that this amount of money cannot meet these particular provisions.

Tahu's suggestion about adding to each vague statement that the support should be "advised, planned, monitored and reviewed by a specialist" is a very helpful one when it comes to certain provisions like S&L, OT, autism outreach etc. This does indeed introduce a flexibility which means the provision can be tailored regularly to the child's needs. For some things, like TA time, however, I think provision needs to be quantified and specified more. In primary school it is often merely a question of number of hours and when they are available e.g. is the need for in class or are they going to be helping with social/play issues in the playground or at lunch. In secondary school will the child have one or two named TAs or will they have to access a different TA in every different lesson or room they go to?

With regards to the naming of the school I would check with the named officer on the letter accompanying the Statement - I would suspect that they are just asking for primary school at the moment.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:33 am 
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Quote:
Tahu's suggestion about adding to each vague statement that the support should be "advised, planned, monitored and reviewed by a specialist" is a very helpful one when it comes to certain provisions like S&L, OT, autism outreach etc. This does indeed introduce a flexibility which means the provision can be tailored regularly to the child's needs.


Yes, thank you Alex for pointing this out. These are indeed the types of support that my son gets.


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