We took a lot of time researching before we chose a school we thought Mr L would like, would meet his needs and selected this school on his statement. This was way back in October 2014 and we had to wait till January to find out.
We had selected for him to attend the local high school's resource provision, panel however disagreed with our decision. Mr L for the past 6 years has had complete 1 on 1 support, the same 2 ladies looking after him every single day. After much trial and error this was the support model that worked best for him and enabled him to cope in the mainstream setting.
We are aware of how the 1 on 1 support system works in mainstream high school and felt this wouldn't be appropriate for Mr L. The resource unit has only 15 pupils and around 5 staff, we felt the smaller numbers would be better for him to cope with and he would need less 1 on 1 as he was with less people.
The paperwork returned and we skipped straight to page 4 where the named school will be, I was completely floored that panel had disagreed with our decision. They had named the local high school, but the mainstream provision. They had offered full 1 on 1 support and additional funding to cover break and lunchtimes. From speaking with other parents we knew this was a really good offer, many before us have failed to get the additional funding for outside of lesson times. I just cannot see how this is going to work for him though. From reading through the accompanying paperwork we can see that they take advice from us the parents, his current school, the educational psychologist and the SENCO and the current school. Everyone apart from the named school agreed that Mr L would fit best in the resource provision. So we were a little confused why the panel would go against a 3 to 1 decision.
We called the panel team to ask for an explanation and they have said that the support on offer in the resource is not enough for what Mr L needs. The children who attend it are given a lot of freedom to do things for themselves and free to access the school unattended. This is out of the question for Mr L as he can be very impulsive and needs someone with him to keep him safe. A specialist provision for him is also out of the question as he is highly intelligent and needs the mainstream education. In a specialist school they do a limited curriculum and Mr L would become bored to easily, this in turn would effect his behaviour.
So We have been left with little choice but to send him to the mainstream and hope he can cope with the transitions. Basically in high school they have different 1 on 1 supports in each lesson, who specialise in the subject area. This means he will have an overall mentor who he will meet up with in the morning and evening but he will have 5 different 1 on 1's through out the day. Mr L doesn't cope with change or transition very well so we worry how he will cope with this.
We had a chat with his current school, the proposed school and Mr L to go overall our concerns and they where all very quick to address them. Mr L will not be unattended at any part of the day, we will drop him and collect him at the visitors entrance every day, he can go down for his lunch earlier than the rest of the school. Although not a pupil of the resource unit he will have full access at lunch and dinner time, this was an great relief for us as we know be wouldn't cope with the busyness of the playground. As he has a statement he will be reassessed every 4 weeks, so if he really isn't coping at least we already have a date for reassessment. The big plus in all of this though is Mr L's reaction, he is excited to go and wants to go. There are a few of his friends going to the school and he is really looking forward to it. Although we still have reservations I think if we don't at least let him go and try we will be letting him down. So we are now in the process of arranging his slow transition after he Easter holiday and getting him to meet some of the staff he will be working with come September.
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