The Application – applying for schools from an SEN perspective

Last Friday was, if you have children starting school in the UK this September, the deadline for getting your school application in. Did you get yours in? I did, just! I applied to three (I could have applied to four but there wasn’t a fourth I particularly wanted) local schools, online, same as everyone else. Only my application wasn’t the same as everyone else’s.

I have written before about schooling for those children with an SEND diagnosis and the weight of responsibility I felt to ‘get it right’. And I still do to some extent. I visited mainstream schools and a specialist unit. I saw what was on offer locally. And not once did I look at an Ofsted report. Call me crazy, but Oscar’s needs are going to be just that little different and what grades he’ll get an English and Maths, at least to begin with, don’t bother me in the slightest. I need a school, that’s going to, minimum, understand him and include him. How good the facilities are, or what grades other pupils are getting really aren’t that interesting to me.

So yeah I visited a bunch of schools. I didn’t get a bad impression from any of them other than the specialist unit. Call it a mothers hunch, but the woman running the unit was so uninterested in the children and more interested in herself that I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. The school is so oversubscribed that she didn’t need to ask me my son’s name or anything about him. She would fill her places whether we chose to go there or not, twenty times over. It just gave rise to an impression of complete ambivalence to the children and that made me want to cry.

Anyway back to the application process. We received a letter to confirm Oscar would be considered for an Educational Health Care Plan (the system that has replaced the old ‘Statement’), back in November and he’s had extra Educational Psychology and Speech and Language reports done to that effect, but we have still yet to hear whether he has one or not yet. It’ll be discussed at a forum some time this month is all I’ve been told. Which is great, but not particularly helpful for the application process, the deadline for which was 15th January. It means I had to apply like all other parents, but then fashion some form of evidence to back up that the ECHP was (possibly) in the pipe line. The reason for needing to do this at all is that having an EHCP would put him in a different place in the admittance list (even though where in the list seems to vary from school to school). As we live in a really weird corner of three counties and various catchment areas, we have applied to two schools we are technically out of catchment for. However, if the county take into account his SEN, this might not matter.

Do you see? I’m living in a world of “ifs” and “buts” right now. But (hahaha see what I did there), what is done is done. The application is in, the evidence written, the EHCP decision in the hands of someone else. So we wait. Same as every parent. And hope we’ve made the right decision, hope we get the place we would like, hope the forum agrees to support him in the way I believe he needs.

Not worry. Hope.

Not to mention the fact that this all means my baby will be starting school in September. School! Arrrggghhhhh!

No let’s not think about that at all. Let’s just go back to focussing on the process. Yes. That’s much less frightening! ?

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I hope you get the place you want. It’s such a nail biting time, but must be so much harder with so many unknowns that are out of your hands. #fartglitter

  2. Such a tense time, you have done all you can and I hope you get your choices through as you want them. #MarvMonday

  3. ourlittleescapades says:

    It feels like so long ago that we had this battle but Ethan hasn’t even been in his school a year yet so it wasn’t that long ago. We couldn’t put our school as a choice as it could only be named on his statement, if awarded one. I had to pick three local schools and we were given our third choice. The one that I felt sick about Ethan having to attend. Thankfully we knew that we were on the way to a statement by that point which meant even if we didn’t get the SEN school place we wanted he would go to our first choice school.

    I wish you so much luck, I wouldn’t wish this battle on anyone. Like you we went with our gut and not reports about the school.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)
    x

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you so much honey. I’m relaxing until we hear otherwise but I’m not looking forward to April. It’s great to hear what others do in these situations though xxx

  4. We were *lucky* in that we got my son’s Statement done before applying to schools as he went to the SEN Nursery. His problems are such that mainstream is not an option. He went to the local SEN school – which is a fabulous place – and then the SEN High School.. if you think starting school is scary wait till you have to choose a high school.. In a year or two we will have to decide on a high school for our daughter who also has a statement. Argh!

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Uggghhh dont! I don’t even want to think about senior school! I hope it goes well for you though! And I’m glad you got a great place for your son x

  5. Seems like you’ve done your homework. Here were my notes for mainstream choosing xxx

    http://rainbowsaretoobeautiful.blogspot.com/2016/01/sen-choosing-mainstream-school.html

    Whatever goes into your EHCP will override your ‘normal’ application anyway! Good luck xxx

  6. Sounds nerve racking. Fingers crossed you get the one you want xxx

    #fartglitter

  7. Applying for your childs first school is such a big moment and the process doesnt help make that moment any easier or less scary. We have just applied for the little ladys school nursery place and have been through pretty much the same process. Now we wait like everyone else. I just hope that you get the right school place Oscar, because it is so much more important that he has a school that understands him and helps him develop and blossom as much as any other child his age. Fingers crossed for you lovely x. Emily #MarvMondays

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you so much Emily. We didnt have to go through an application for O’s nursery as its a private school, but I can imagine its just as nerve racking! My plan is not to think about more about it, until we find out in March/April. Then we’ll deal with it appropriately. I’ve decided not to let it eat me up this term. No way! Thanks for hosting!

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