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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:17 pm
Posts: 13
We are in a quandary and would appreciate some advice.

I have twin boys who have cleared the Gloucestershire Grammars and KES ( Edgbaston ) . We live in between both -
a) They can go to KES without needing to move house using the train.
b) For Gloucestershire Grammars - Pate's and STRS we would need to move to the area and OH already working there and commuting.

They both have Asperger's ( High Functioning Autism ) and tremendous issues with low mood , low self esteem and anxiety. Their current Independent school's pastoral care has been less than satisfactory ( ie absent till it was too late ) shall we say and I am going back and forth between Paediatricians , Occupational Therapists , Pvt Psychotherapist , Pvt Speech and Language Therapist and CAMHS. I have nearly given up all work trying to juggle all of this . Frankly it has put me off all Independents as I felt that they just don't want to know about SEN and like to brush it under the carpet. eg My sons have Sensory Processing Disorder and it took a six month battle to get them out of rugby which terrified them .

We are currently rethinking KES as some friends ( who don't know about KES as such ) have advised us that too many changes ie house and school might be too much for them and would unsettle them and have therefore advised us to go to KES.

Yes it would be nice to save some money , but if pastoral care was good at a school , I wouldn't be needing these private services in the first place !

I am looking for any personal experiences - positive or negative - regarding pastoral care at KES.

Please feel free to PM me if you would rather not share your experience on a public forum .

( I am meeting the SENCO next week but I have noticed that while SENCOs in all schools speak the correct jargon , the reality of sharing information with the teachers at the coalface is less than adequate )

I have gone on Open Days to all the Schools but I am not sure I would be comfortable to form an opinion on pastoral care based on Open Days .

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:10 am
Posts: 436
Hi, I’m afraid I can’t tell you about KES - my daughter goes to KEHS where pastoral care is great but they’re obviously different schools.

However my year 7 ds has always shown signs of aspergers, although we’ve never had him diagnosed. He was home educated from the May of year 4 due to difficulties at school. We were planning to move house and area anyway hence not looking to move his school initially. When we finally moved in Nov of year 5 we considered looking for a primary school locally. However he found the house move very difficult and unsettling and we felt a new school would be too much. It took him a good 6-8 months to settle and seem happier again.

That’s not to say the same would happen with your boys but it’s definitely a consideration.

I’m sorry you’ve had such problems and I hope secondary works out for them both - but in the event that you need another option, home education can work really well for boys on the autistic spectrum! Our son is now settled in a Birmingham Grammar and generally fine but I know that home ed is always an option should things go pear shaped!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:09 pm 

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 1:06 pm
Posts: 2378
Location: Birmingham
I have no experience with pastoral care at KES - but would suggest talking to the SENCO and having a list of clear questions you wish to ask.
This should include asking about the measures the school would practically put in place to support your boys, as well as frankly discussing scenarios and how they would be overcome.
You should also ask about the level of training that individual teachers have had with regards to their needs, such as ASD training.

On a separate note, for children who are anxious, I would highly recommend the Go Zen program online.
My own Year 6 son is completing this now and my big regret is that I did not know about earlier or have it for my older children - I genuinely think that all children (anxious or not!) would benefit from thinking about how mental health works and how to look after our emotions and stay mentally healthy.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:17 pm
Posts: 13
Thank You crazycrofter for your personal experience.

Also Um your suggestions are helpful as always and I am going to meet the SENCO with some scenarios tomorrow. I haven't heard anything negative so far regarding pastoral care so that's a good starting point .

You're absolutely right about GoZen for anxiety - both my boys have been using this for the last 2 months - and another programme called GoStrengths by the same group ( for emotional resilience ) . They also use a fantastic resource from Australia called Secret Agent Society which is about decoding Non Verbal Cues by working through 'missions' on the computer .

They and I have also started using the Headspace App for Mindfulness over the last month - there is a good section for children .

It's a long and hard slog .... :wink:

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