Countdown to Secondary School

By | February 11, 2014

In less than 3 weeks we will find out which secondary school T has been allocated a place at.

I’m relieved that it’s coming around because the not-knowing has been causing T some issues, he was diagnosed with high functioning autism last April and has a definite need to know events and routines. Especially for something like secondary school.

I remember very well my first day at secondary school, it all seemed so big and I never thought I’d remember where I had to go and when.

T will be going to a mainstream secondary school as he thrives in a routine-friendly environment and a SN (special needs) school such as the one D attends would not meet his needs.

He also does not have a statement (or SEN of special educational needs) so, even if we wanted to, SN school is not an option.

T is currently doing well in year 6 of his primary school, there are 1-2 autistic pupils in every class and the school day is well-structured and very visual.

However, when we received his data collection sheet for checking in September, his autism diagnosis was not mentioned and a conversation with the deputy head seemed to indicate that he was unaware of the diagnosis. There have been instances when a staff member has says something and because they have not been precise, misinterpretations and anxieties have ensued.

The lack of support from his current school potentially poses problems when it comes to transition into secondary school and I can envisage that I will be liaising with the SENco at the secondary school as soon as we have notification of a place.

For D, who is currently in year 5 and HAS a statement, the path is much smoother. She will be staying at her SN school but the LEA (Local Education Authority) had already written to us, advising that as she was statemented, there are information meetings we can attend to discuss transition, queries, concerns etc. This letter has presumably gone to all statemented children in the borough, irrespective of whether they are at SN school or not, certainly other parents of children in D’s class have also received it.

But for T, diagnosed, statement-less and in mainstream, there is no such offer of a meeting. When I phoned the LEA asking what I should do as his school hasn’t officially recognised his diagnosis, I was advised that they also had no record of diagnosis and to ensure by liaising with school it was rectified.

An example of extra un-needed stress and I wonder how many other schools attempt to “brush” their SN number aside so as not to impact their ratings.

For T, it seems unfair that a child who will potentially (scrub that, definitely) need more visits, more transition and more information about his new school, he is not receiving as much attention although he will find it more challenging than if he were at an SN school progressing through the years.

Because he doesn’t have a statement, because he appears to be “coping”, because any anxieties and stresses about his day are saved for his sanctuary, home.

The countdown has begun..

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