Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

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susies
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Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby susies » Thu Apr 20, 2023 7:23 am

Hi all
Really hoping for some advice. My DD is in Yr 5 and has ADHD - she is smart, and enjoys sport. I am currently looking at secondary schools, and although many of the schools talk a good 'SEN' game, I am finding it really hard to understand if they are true to their word. I would really love to hear from anyone with recommendations who has a child in secondary school with SEN, who is well looked after. We are based in Balham. 
Ideally we did want a co-ed school, as she tends to play with boys more, but am starting to realise this might be a pipe dream within London! 
Any advice gratefully received, thank you for any help/advice in advance.
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The_Brainery
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby The_Brainery » Thu Apr 20, 2023 11:18 am

Hi!

Whilst I don't have any recommendations at this point, I did wonder:

Have any of the schools offered you an opportunity to talk to the SENCO, or the person responsible for children with additional needs? They should be able to give you a clearer steer.

I'd also be looking at the school's wider pastoral team - knowing that there's a friendly learning support mentor, buddy system etc could be invaluable as your child learns to navigate secondary school independently.

Best,

Naomi
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betsyboop
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby betsyboop » Mon Apr 24, 2023 11:05 am

Has your daughter got an EHCP in place already, if you don't mind me asking ? and are you looking at state or private ? 
I think private can be tricky and not welcoming, especially for girls, as less girls have historically been diagnosed the schools have not had that the learning curve to learn to manage it, especially if they have the inattentive type. 
I think you have to look at how the schools are with structure, discipline and accommodations in general, how flexible they are with teenagers or not, as some schools have a certain "computer says NO" approach that you may not want ! 
Also I think, for ADHD children, size matters as well as the ratio adults/children. 
 
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catboo1
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby catboo1 » Mon Apr 24, 2023 12:03 pm

Our daughter has SEN and is going into year 10 next term. We have tried two different schools who claim to have amazing Senco facilities. It feels like we have been on a treadmill for years now as we have found these independent schools so often seem to fall short of their promises. I’ve met up with quite a few parents on our daughters SEN journey who are also of the opinion that the money we pay for independent school for our SeN children just don’t live up to expectations.
So now we have moved her to a state school and I can’t tell you the difference it has made. I wish we had done this years ago and saved ourselves a fortune. She has regular 1-1 and rhe head of Senco at this school is all over her learning needs in a way that the other private schools never were ..
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gemima
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby gemima » Mon Apr 24, 2023 10:40 pm

Wow.  Catboo1 I am so shocked to hear this.  My daughter has ADHD, she's fairly bright but not doing so well because of her ADHD.  She attends a great state school but I'm worried about her at secondary school when undoubtedly things will get harder.  I have taken the decision to enlist an educational psyche who will do a report on her in Y5 (she is currently in year 4), and then an educational lawyer will look at that assessment and advise us on a list of best schools for her.  He will help us if we can't get a place in to the school we feel is right for her.  Some suggestions are: Thames Cristian college by Clapham Junction, The Moat (now changed its name to Burlington House), Fairley House, etc.  

Are both the schools you mention private schools which claim to have sen facilities but then you find they don't really?  Did you ever try any of the types of schools I have mentioned above?  The benefit of these schools is that they have smaller classes.  I can't see how a regular state school can really help a SEN child when they have so many children to look after and have to take the middle road?  I'd love to hear which state school your child is at. Would you kindly DM me please?
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catboo1
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby catboo1 » Tue Apr 25, 2023 8:05 am

Yes this process has been a revelation to us. The state school she’s at has smaller class sizes than most, but the SEN students are put into groups of 10 or 15 and also have 1-1 support so that’s what sets it apart.
The private schools put on an amazing show about all the facilities they have to offer but much of this is their marketing and once your child is there you realise that everything you hear about state being better for children with learning difficulties (can) turn out to be true. We stayed in the independent sector for our daughters entire school life believing that paying private school fees was surely better. Every day when our d comes home from school now she says she can’t believe how much help she’s finally getting and the online programme she’s using is way better than the one she had at her old school. Incidentally we weren’t at the schools you mentioned. But they’re both very much on the main radar for anyone looking to get learning support for their child. In the end ours got one Senco spread very thinly across many students and only twice a week. Class sizes were tiny (max of 10), but this makes no difference whatsoever when you don’t have staff who know what they’re doing. So you look around the school and think how amazing, it’s small and will have lots of support, but the reality is unfortunately very different.
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ASD2023
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby ASD2023 » Tue Apr 25, 2023 9:43 am

Catboo is entirely correct - a small class won't help if the teacher doesn't know what to do (unless of course all the child needs is a smaller learning environment).

Many of the schools you mention Gemima are dyslexia specialist independent schools. It is a different scenario of the child needs a specialist school. Most children with SEN will be educated in mainstream and you would need extremely good evidence as to why a mainstream wouldn't work. Most independent (non-specialist) schools are very wary of SEN...

I note Gemima says she is getting a lawyer to advise on schools. Please be careful, lawyers should not be advising on schools, that's not their job! Also in my view getting a lawyer is a last resort if your child has an EHCP and you need support on the legal process. And it is no guarantee that the school will agree to admit the child (independent specialist schools are also extremely careful on who they admit to ensure they can support the child and they fit with their cohorts).

Best thing to do is go and look at the schools and talk to the SENCo, staff and other parents. What suits one child won't suit another. You'll get a feel for each. Some have stricter behaviour policies which will or won't suit your child, some have more space for running around, some have better learning support centres, consider the journey, cohort size.....
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mumoftwoboys
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby mumoftwoboys » Wed Apr 26, 2023 2:00 pm

Hi,

One of my children has SEN needs and we looked at a number of private secondary schools and found Kew House and Ewell Castle School to have very good provision and their SENCO were very good and responsive to our questions. A lot of schools say they can cater most students but I find that you really need to meet with the SENCO departments and discuss your child's needs and gauge whether they will be able to offer her the support she needs. I also got the impression that a number of private schools that have a feeder from primary schools don't necessarily want to take on additional children with SEN needs. Good luck!
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SWtastic
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby SWtastic » Fri Apr 28, 2023 8:53 am

I work in the state sector and am aware that schools are getting a significant number of in year transfer requests from the private sector for children with SEN (both primary and secondary) as parents have realised that what the schools have promised has not materialised.  Also, in addition to fees, many of these parents have then had to pay for services e.g. a TA for their child, OT etc.  I know our provision is far superior and more bespoke than what the majority of private schools are able to provide. 
Be aware if resident in Wandsworth, that there is a deficit in the budget for SEN and Wandsworth is drastically reducing, if not stopping, funding for any places for children in the private sector.
I would caution against use of an education lawyer as PP has said.  If you're really having to undertake a legal fight for your child to be in a school, it's doesn't sound the right school to meet their needs.
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KatherineHepburn
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby KatherineHepburn » Tue May 02, 2023 5:35 pm

I'm not sure if it will be of help to you geographically Susies, but I can confirm that our ASD child is very well accommodated and educated at The Bolingbroke Academy. It is also a co-ed and an all round great school with excellent teachers and SEN team.
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gemima
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby gemima » Tue May 02, 2023 6:31 pm

Great to know Katherine Hepburn - thank you so much.
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Btw79
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby Btw79 » Tue May 16, 2023 5:03 am

@catboo1
Can you pls make the private schools and the state school you found so good?
It would be of great help for a lot of parents
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honeygranola
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Re: Advice needed on SEN support Secondary school please

Postby honeygranola » Wed May 31, 2023 11:00 pm

I’ve also had this experience of state being better at primary level for my son. Catboo1 I will dm you, would be grateful for more info on the schools you reference.
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