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Am I mad? Despite not having any resolution of the anxiety, pain issues etc which lead to the situation where I had to withdraw my son from school over a year ago, we are actually looking at another local school tomorrow.
Basically, I don't think that since my husband/his father died, I have the energy to motivate, stimulate and support my son in the way that he needs. He definitely needs some social contact and the discipline of getting up on time and producing academic work for someone else. It's unclear whether this school is even in a position to take him as technically they are full. But they are the first people in a long time to show any interest in his situation. Mostly, once they've heard the back story, I find organisations which are supposed to offer help are very quick to tell us they cannot do so. They usually do it very sympathetically, but the result is still the same. Now that we've got a more positive response I want to grab it with both hands.
So, provided I can get him up in time and he doesn't go into a mega pain spasm with the stress, we are going for a look round and a chat. He was previously very anti looking at other schools so this looks like some progress. However, I am very aware that agreeing to look at something in principle and actually committing to the activity itself on the day (or days/weeks/months if he does go back to a school) are very different. Wish us luck.
Wishing you lots of luck and fingers crossed for you!
It sounds like a good idea and your gut feeling is telling you something here. Its a bit different than just taking an SR kid from one school to the next without lots of hiccups and falls having occurred inbetween (as in just struggling to keep going) as the problem will keep going. But your son has been through so much - it might be something he can at least attempt with some motivation. The old school would remind him of his old life, of his dad and so forth.
And look - if it isn't the 'right' thing....what is!? You can only do your best and see what works and the key thing you just mentioned was that the school sound interested....or supportive...that has to be something, as you say, you grab with both hands.
I think you are probably right that your son needs to get out there and socialise. I know myself - once its just you and the child (in your case children) then they really don't get much interaction with others and they become very comfortable with just one person/parent being around.
It must be hard for your own motivation - you have enough to deal with yourself - so hope you have some time to just do some nice things for yourself.
Let us know how you go -
Thanks for your support Linda. The school was lovely when we looked round - much calmer than the school he used to attend or the one his older brother has just left (he's at college now). My son managed to walk round the building very well and coped with all the stairs and although he had some back pain afterwards it didn't grow into a mega-pain unable to walk type of reaction.
The best bit was the Deputy Head had some insight into his medical condition and voluntary said he'd need to start on a reduced timetable, may not be able to do PE etc without me having to bring this up.It was just great that someone understood his situation, whereas before I'd felt that he was seen as a bit of a liability and I was seen as a nuisance for fighting his corner. I think if you asked his old school they'd feel that was unfair and I suspect they think they bent over backwards to help him but the main issue was they just did not understand. So the adaptations he needed were queried and then did not arrive, and we were regularly asked if we wanted to home educate him even though I always made it very clear that we did not think it was right for him and my son did not want this either. They were under a lot of pressure regarding attendance statistics and it certainly got transferred to us. We just seemed to get stuck then with so much stress that he developed what is thought to be psychological pain which stopped him getting into school at all and even walking became impossible.
The school made it very clear he would be welcome but we might have a fight on to get him in as there are no vacancies and we do not live in the catchment area. I'm going for medical grounds for admission but it's tricky as technically any of the schools "should" be able to take him. They all have the relevant policies. But then, so did his last school and it just didn't work. I'm hoping that as the school already has someone with his condition, there might be some possibilities. Time is running out for him to get back into a school and I'm so scared that if something goes badly wrong again, he'll really go backwards.
Not often you find a school that understands - and already having another student like your son - how lucky is that!. Did the principal tell you what steps to take too? Can he add to your application - is he allowed to do this? Or break the rules perhaps?? Do you need doctors and other letters to back you up? Even if the application doesn't call for it - I'd be putting in as many support letters as possible.
I am really hoping for you that this works out. Hopefully on medical grounds you will be successful - and also that the other more local school has failed your on. Someone has to provide your son with an education - so you have a good case - just hope the right people understand.
Let us know how you go. And so wonderful that your son went and walked around too.
Take care - and hope your son can start to see some light
Well, as expected DS was denied a place at the school we'd visited and really liked and offered a place in one we'd not really considered. I started getting all the appeal stuff together and also organised a visit to the school where he has an offer - hoping that we might get the same lovely response.
The school is probably fine if the child is fine but there was no way I could see things working out for my son in his current situation. The person who showed us round was asking about GCSE options and seemed to be assuming he'd do a full selection. So I asked about whether this was possible since DS would have to start more than half way through year 10 having missed the work everyone else has done and also pointed out that he'd missed loads of school before this and had quite a lot of gaps. Then I was given the number on how if he put the effort in he could do a full day at school, stay late and do extra work at home in order to catch up. As he's not done full time school since primary school and has only just got stress triggered pain issues under control in the year he's been out of school, I think the most positive comment I could make would be: "overly optimistic". I'm all for aiming high but it has to have a base in reality otherwise, they'd just be setting him up to fail.
I suspected we might get this kind of attitude as the prospectus is all about achievement, excellence, and being a leader. I'm not against these aims but as the school has just turned around from being one of the worst, to the most improved I think it will be all about pushing, pushing, pushing to raise the profile of the school. In contrast the one we'd like him to go to is an established school with a good track record of achievement so I think they can afford to step back a bit and look at the child. DS hit the nail on the head when he said that the school we liked seemed to be about fitting education to the pupils and this one seemed to be all about the school.
So I am finishing the appeal forms later today and really hoping that this will work. I cannot see myself sending him to the other place without feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I know it will be a different person, probably, who helps DS decide what he can do, but the whole ethos of the school is to push and push and I think he'll just have a mega pain flare up and not be able to go in and I don't think either of us can cope with all that again. So unless he really, really wants to go there then I don't think we'll be accepting the place. I can't imagine he will. We came out of the first school all optimistic and bouncy and walked out of this one all stressed with shoulders hunched and headaches threatening. Says it all really.
Oh dear Leah - if only all schools were like the first one where you came out feeling optimistic.
And how do the kids feel in the other one, I wonder. It's going to be a stressful waiting game, I can see that - but I do hope you win on the appeal. Do you know of any other cases where they have won on appeal, that you could go by, in terms of what might be needed to turn it round?
All the best - and your son sounds so mature - spotting the way education is conducted at each school.
My son's school is regarded as a 'good academic' school (it is a public school though) and you can see they push and praise all the 'achievements'. I am quite sick of all the achievements instead of all the 'activities' being talked about.
It reminds me of my son's primary school where they had a system of 'student of the week' - the classroom teacher could nominate anyone and so each week each classroom had one or two of these students who received recognition. You can imagine how many of these my son got...I think a grand total of two in the whole 6 years!!
I do not understand this though - when I was a teacher I would have given out awards for a child with SR just for attending!! But my style of teaching seems to have all but disappeared in this day and age with teachers having to be accountable for everything they do and having to access according to strict education curriculum. There is no room for any individual teacher to take a child with SR under their wing and help them in any way they can. Non of my son's teachers have ever gone out of their way to help at all.
And each year we have to re invent the wheel and explain what our kids go through.
Sorry - raving on again.
My fingers are crossed for you in regards to the appeal - and if that doesnt' come through - you never know- maybe something else will come up.
Take care -
Still waiting for date for appeal hearing to try to get my son into the sympathetic school we visited. I'm in my usual "waiting for the post and stressed out" part of the day. It's hard to make plans for anything with this hanging over us. And time is getting on as it's an in-year application and almost two thirds of the year has gone. The post arrives between 1 pm and 2 pm and I'm really hoping the notification will come through today.
Could not stand it any longer when there was no notification of the appeal in the post. So rang up and asked as I've been terrified of organising any appointments in case it clashes. Have been given a provisional date for the end of the month. Really hoping this all works out.
Good to hear from you but sorry to hear about the wait. It is crazy to keep you waiting this long, when as you point out, the year is moving on.
My fingers are crossed for you...
only back online today. want to wish you all the best Leah with the appeal.
The hoops parents have to jump through to help a child with SR are just riduculous. It's like every obstacle that can be put in the way will be
Fingers crossed for you and your son.
Well, we've had the appeal now and I'm back to anxiously waiting for the post to arrive (or I will be after the weekend). It was one of the most horrendous experiences of my life. Not because the appeal panel or local authority rep were unpleasant, far from it, it's just that there is so much riding on this decision in terms of my son's future. And the case isn't clear cut, such as "my child has X condition and this school has a specialist unit". It all rides on whether the panel agree my son's need to attend a sympathetic school which has experience of/interest in his condition and will allow him to have a reduced timetable outweigh the school's needs to restrict numbers .They are already over the admission numbers in almost every year group and if they take my son that year group will be the biggest in the school.
It's hard to get evidence too. I have evidence of his medical condition and his emotional distress but the appeal panel only have my description of the problems at his previous school and of the apparent lack of understanding shown when we visited the school he'd been offered. So although everyone was very helpful and did all they could to allow me to present my case for my son I have no idea if this will result in him being offered a place.
If he doesn't get in he says he does not want to go to the other school as he feels he cannot do what they expect (catch up with the missed first 7 months of a full set of GCSE courses plus fill all the gaps in his education over the last 4 years plus attend extra classes at lunchtime and after school). There is another school with vacancies in the area so hopefully we'd be able to apply to go there but I'm not sure of the rules. Having applied once and been offered this other school, I'm not sure if we can apply again for a different school - but will investigate this possibility if the appeal fails. I'm just really hoping it doesn't.
All the best, Leah.
I can only imagine how stressful this has all been for you. It seems such an incredible process to have to go through for children who need the understanding offered by this school.
And it seems from what you say that others schools need to really lift their game because this school obviously has more and more students wanting to have that understanding that the others just don't offer.
All schools should have understanding and flexibility of programs.
You have had a big battle on your hands - I will be thinking of you and your wait for the news. Good luck and
just to wish you all the best in the outcome.
it is so stressful waiting for news that could dictate your son's future but i will have my fingers crossed that the best will happen.
Wheeheee! The appeal went in our favour. Have just got the letter this lunchtime and then went off to the school to fill in the admission form. They are lovely and so welcoming. They said that they'd been hoping we'd appeal and they felt they could definitely help my son. I'm really hoping this is the start of a new chapter for him. I know it won't all be plain sailing but the positive attitude of the school gives me a lot of hope.
YEESSS!! so happy for you and your son Leah. Isn't it a wonderful feeling when something goes right. Wishing you both every happiness for this new chapter.
Leah, that is WONDERFUL news!! It is so nice to hear of someone on this road actually having something go their way for once : )
As you say - might not be all plain sailing - but it gives your son a head start compared to the other schools. And it must be such a relief to you to have such nice people to deal with who really understand.
Let us know how it goes. And wishing you and your son all the best at starting this new chapter.
Hello Leah - I have only just joined this forum, but genuinely feel over the moon for you at your news. So hope it all works out and that you've turned a corner. It really gives myself (and others) hope that our own situations will improve. Regards.
My son had his first day at his new school today. It was a full day which was fantastic as he'd previously only managed part time since starting secondary school almost 4 years ago (and was part time or absent for a lot of his last year at primary).
He's a bit uncomfortable but hasn't so far had any of the pain spikes which he used to have just thinking about trying to get in to his last school. I know he's older and that helps but I'm certain it's also the welcoming, positive attitude of the school which is putting him in the right frame of mind. He's got a reduced timetable with a free period every day except one so that he can catch up on work he's missed by starting school so late in the year.
It may seem a bit early to be celebrating but I hadn't expected he'd ever feel able to go back to school and the schools we knew in the area didn't look any better than the one he'd previously attended with regard to understanding his situation. This school seems SO much better but I think it's the only one so we're very lucky that he's been able to get in.
That is great to hear! Well done to your son - and you - for your push to get your son into that school. Why can't all schools be more caring!? Schools spend so much time working with our sons/daughters - they really do need to lift their game. So glad there are some schools out there doing the right thing.
I really hope your son manages to keep going - even if he has some setbacks - perhaps he will now be able to pick himself up a bit better. Having your 'disorder' understood - must be quite a relief to your son also.
Take care and let us know how you go on.
And perhaps as you learn more about the school - let us know what it is that the school does differently that really helps - and maybe we can push our own schools to do this more.
All the best