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  • justine441

Secondary School Dilemmas

Next week we start the serious battle for a Secondary Special School place for Toby. When Toby was younger I thought it would be easy. There’s lots of special schools locally and we have good road connections. But after many years of keeping my ears to the ground; talking to other parents; and visiting all the schools; you realise the options are slowly being narrowed down. I found out that one of my choices had to turn away approx 200 children last year, you then realise how impossible this is. One school literally has one extra place for Y7 children!! One place! On top of that one school for SLD children where I know a number of children with Downs Syndrome attend, claim Toby’s needs are too high and he’s got too many professionals involved!! I started with hope but I now think we are facing a near impossible task. I think what’s a bit bitter sweet is that I got a Statement of Special Educational Needs for Toby when he was just 2 years old specifically to get him to a special school, so that I wouldn’t have this fight later on. But I was persuaded to try mainstream school. I don’t have any regrets about that decision because I think the advantages and benefits of mainstream have been massive. But I really never anticipated an issue now. How do you know which is the right school? Every special school is different. I’ve seen approx 14 special schools now and every single school is different. I think my criteria is - a focus still on maths, English and reading but for usefulness in life eg Toby being able to predictive text, or arrive for a bus on time, or know how much money he has to spend. - some fun activities eg cycling; residential; children in need day etc. - smaller groups - individual learning pathways - a gut feeling… Am I missing anything else? Unfortunately I think it will take tribunal to get a suitable school named. Why is everything a non stop battle??

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