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Children With Sen Need Special Schools


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Hi,

 

have been given an assignment on the above and was wondering whether some lovely people on here would be able to offer their opinions as to "for" or "against" as I am really struggling with give explainations to support or dismiss this. I ahve recently started a CACHE L3 CPD on working with children and young people with special needs and am finding it a tad hard. maybe because it is the busiest time of the year in schools and I'm getting older!!!!

 

Thanks

 

Mulder xx :o

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Hi,

 

have been given an assignment on the above and was wondering whether some lovely people on here would be able to offer their opinions as to "for" or "against" as I am really struggling with give explainations to support or dismiss this. I ahve recently started a CACHE L3 CPD on working with children and young people with special needs and am finding it a tad hard. maybe because it is the busiest time of the year in schools and I'm getting older!!!!

 

Thanks

 

Mulder xx :o

Ooh this is an interesting one, Mulder!

 

I'll need time to think about this before giving a full answer, but it did bring to mind a conversation I had recently with a teacher of a little girl who has just gone into her Reception class. The child in question has social communication difficulties which makes talking directly to her or making and maintaining eye contact with her very difficult. That said, she has been able to form secure attachments to a few of the practitioners in pre-school but this has taken almost three years to achieve.

 

The teacher was saying that she couldn't ever see them being able to form a relationship because of the lack of response from the little girl - and what with more reception children arriving next term there would be even less time to make this happen.

 

I wasn't in a position (or if I'm honest, I wasn't brave enough!) to challenge this teacher's thinking or ask for clarification of what she meant - but reading between the lines I wonder (with hindsight) if what she was really saying was that she shouldn't be in mainstream but in a special school who would have more time and resources to support her more fully.

 

I hope you get lots of replies from people with more experience and expertise than I have and that you soon begin to enjoy your course.

 

Maz

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It should be about the individual child- you can't categorise special needs children as a huge group and categorically state whether they need special school or not. For some children with SEN it may be what they need but for others it could be completely the wrong thing. I would write my answer to the affect that the individual needs of the child need to be considered before any decision can be made. Then if the decision is for main stream, you must have sympathetic staff who can support the child appropriately and want to do the best for the child in their school. Everyone must be on board or it doesn't work.

I am sure there are theories for and against but as a teacher and a mother of SEN children, you definitely can't take SEN as an entire group and shove them into one type of school or another. I presume we are talking about children with statements- ???

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Good response suzybell, couldn't agree more :o as another addage., in an ideal world ( definately not on this planet xD ) politics and money would not come into the equation. politics I mean in terms of league tables, being 'seen' to be inclusive etc and money, well that speaks for itself.

 

anoter thought, decisions need to be flexible in terms of re-assessment of childrens needs as they progress, not once in mainstream just stay there and struggle / or once in special school, miss out on mainstream experiences. I am aware that some children experience both special and mainstream schooling at the same time.

 

 

Peggy

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As Suzy says some children's needs can be easily met in mainstream classes but for other children the best option is a Special School with the expertise and resources which aren't available in ordinary schools. My big gripe about SEN children in mainstream classes is the fact that it is often education on the cheap. Mainstream schools receive a fraction of the amount to meet a child's needs that would be spent on a Special school place.

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A difficult one and as everyone says it depends on the childs needs and the expertise and time that can be given by mainstream school. Some manage very well and some don't. At the school I work in there is an ASD unit where chidren spend some of the day but they also spend some parts of the day in class with others. Likewise we have several nursery children with statements who are working very well within nursery with 1 to 1 support and no doubt they will move into more specialised care and eduation within the school as they get older. I personally think it good but only if sufficient time and resources are there to support the child but having said that it depends on the childs needs and whether they can be met within the environment. I think far too often this is not the case and the system fails the child and puts adiitional pressures on evryone. Unfortunately, I think it all comes down to money at the end of the day which is extremely sad

Nikki

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I used to work with a child with autism, while he was in the nursery His behaviour was very aggressive and challenging both with the staff and the other children. Even with one to one support for about 80% it was a very scary place to be when he was in a rage.

The other children were so frightened of him, one little girl used to start crying if he approached her at all.

I used to think he would have been better in a school which could meet his needs more.

He is know in year 4 and his behaviour is very good ( he still has his rages but they are few and far between)

He sometimes comes down to the early years unit and always comes to me and says I miss you and I liked it down here.

It has been a long and difficult journey but its a joy to see him know settled.

But In schools other childrens needs also have to be taken into consideration, like the children this boy would attack and scream at and who were with him for two years.

I dont think there is ever a yes or no to this question and every child deserves the best education they can get, but it usually comes down to funds and this can sometimes be a long time coming.

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This is a huge debate!! I work in a mainstream school with a full inclusion policy, we have children with Downs, hearing impairment, autism, asberger, dispraxia the list goes on. Only this week we had a Key note speaker from the Down's Syndrome association who told us that up until 1971 children with Down's were seen as 'uneducatable' if that's the correct term. Since this time more and more (80%) Down's chilldren attend mainstream and achieve greatly.

 

We work really hard to include these children in all areas of school life, it is part of our ethos. It works for us mainly because of the committment of all staff from teachers, TA's S.M.S.As and even the caretaker. and more importantly because of the children we have in school. They are incredible, their attitudes towards diversity and SEN enables them to provide the sort of peer support children with SEN need. We find that these children progress in areas such as speech and language and in their social interactions. Infact they make such great progress that when it comes to choosing a mainstream secondary school the difficult decisions really begin for our parents, because most don't really want a child with SEN and our children would be hands and feet above those children in special schools.

 

It does depend on individuals and in some cases such as severe autsism a special school is the only option and I agree with the funding issue, we are consistantly fighting our LA to get more money and resources for these children. We have such a happy school and all of the children regardless of their needs, gender, soc-economic group they all feel valued and their achievements celebrated.

 

I am waffling now, but I do feel quite passionate about it. This year I have a girl with Down's syndrome and she is fantastic. What we see first is not her Downs but her needs and abilities, therefore, any interventions are based solely on where she is now and where we want her to be - there amongst her peers enjoying school and achieving well.

Good luck with your assignment - it is a biggy!!

Munch

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Having recently been working very closely with a little boy who was diagnosed with autism in the summer holidays my whole opinion has completely changed. If this question had been asked maybe 6 months ago I would be saying "yes,SEN children need special schools"..this was down to ingorance!!! After working with speech & language, portage, Mum & support from my child support coodinator things have improved a lot for this little boy and the setting as a whole. I began to see him as an individual just like all the other children and with indivdual needs.

 

It is still down to the individual child and what there needs are and wether the setting can cater for those needs for the benefit of the child.

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I have taught children with a number of needs but for some children it just isn't possible in mainstream school to meet their needs fully as we just don't have the training, expertise, resources or staffing levels.

Three years ago I had a child with Cerebral Palsy in a wheelchair who arrived in my class of 30 children with no support at all. At that time we had steps up to every entrance and the school is split level so every trip to the hall required dragging the wheelchair up yet more steps. She was also incontinent which meant that every time she had an accident I had to leave 29 children unattended to go and clean her up and change her. This was unfair on her and on the rest of the class. Three years on and she is still not receiving support other than that the school is able to offer which is very limited.

Last week in my capacity of SENCO I held a review for another child who will be transferring to a Special School in September. Her mother was full of praise for the school she had visited and decided on. The child will be in a class of 8 instead of 30. There are a minimum of 3 staff per class plus a huge array of therapists who work there full time.

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This is topical for me at the moment, having supported a boy and watched him progress and awaiting funding, other parental concerns (due to aggression) and pressure have resulted in this child being offered/forced to take an emergency full time place at OPG (he was three days with us, and two with OPG).

This has shocked parents of the child as we were making progress,(as far as they were concerned things were looking up!)

it would seem pressure put on the authority by other parents forced this 'choice' for the parents. xD:o:(:( It was suggested that we were struggling to cope at the setting which in a sense we were but progress was being made and we were winning.

 

Incidentally funding came through for January as well, it would seem that if enough pressure is put on people in power individual needs are not always considered.

I have recently completed an assignment on Inclusion and I think like the other comments a judgement has to be flexible and on specific needs of the individual and the staff training and environment, there is a definite need for special schools as well as dual placing for children.

 

I don't know if I have made much sense I am still in shock as to what has happened, I, as leader was not part of the final decisions, :( :wacko: having been in close communications with the parents throughout the process so far I was left out and found out about proceedings through the chair of the committee.

 

Emotional day on Friday as the child spent his last day with us.......lots of hugs with mum and a feeling of failure for me!

Edited by Guest
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I don't know if I have made much sense I am still in shock as to what has happened, I, as leader was not part of the final decisions, :oxD having been in close communications with the parents throughout the process so far I was left out and found out about proceedings through the chair of the committee.

 

Emotional day on Friday as the child spent his last day with us.......lots of hugs with mum and a feeling of failure for me!

This doesn't sound to me like a very good example of agencies working together shirel - and what an appalling indictment of the system that doesn't take account of what those people who are working closely with the child and the family know about the child's individual needs. It sounds to me that you have no need to feel a failure - after all you have supported the child and family and as you say, you were winning.

 

The case you describe does raise some difficult issues - the child's individual rights and needs as balanced against the needs of the setting to provide for all the other children in the group. It may be that in time the child's parents may come to think that moving to a special school may have been the right thing for their child, but in the meantime it is hard not to feel bitter that they were forced to make a decision not based on what their child needed but in order to placate others.

 

The decision was taken out of your hands - but ultimately you did everything you could to support this family and obviously mum appreciated what you did for them. Try and hold on to that if you can.

 

Maz

 

PS What is OPG for the uninitated?

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Ruth Kelly has highlighted the plight of hundreds of families desperately seeking the best education for their child with additional support needs. Unfortunately, not everyone has the financial wherewithal to opt into the private system. With input into nursery education, children with difficulties are being diagnosed much earlier in life but provision is severely lacking at all levels. Integration into mainstream often results in children being "lost in the system" as any support available is spread so very thin. Education should equip children with skills necessary to contribute to society with confidence. Sadly, many, many children and families are let down.

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Thanks for your kind and wise words Maz,

 

OPG - Opportunity group.

 

I have just had a lovely chat with the family tonight and it is still a little raw but they are positive about fighting their corner for their child - like you say it is out of my hands for now and I did do everything I could and more.

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I think children should attend the school that can best meet their needs - be it mainstream or alternative. However unfortunately in mainstream schools the scenario I experienced was often something like this:

child starts in FS - possibly no indication of any needs. Issues arise as young child struggles to deal with a 13:1/30:1 ratio. unsupported year spent getting a statement if lucky (no statement no real additional funding and certainly no additional adults unless school finds money from somewhere else in the already stretched budget.) Hurrah - statement arrives, additional adult with no training or experience found from usual pool, TAs (parents), thus taking support away from the remaining children. . Hours of support usually used to cover dinner/playtimes so less support in class anyway. Never get the full amount of hours the child attends so is still stressful for all.

 

Now if there was proper resourcing and additional trained support .................inclusion on the cheap is no good for anyone in the equation.

Sorry if this sounds cynical but this is my experience over and over again.

Cx

Edited by catma
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

 

I would just like to say a big "Thankyou" to all those who entered into my "debate" and gave me the ideas to approach my college colleagues with both sides of the argument. It was really helpful!!!

 

love mulder :oxD

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  • 1 year later...
Hi,

 

have been given an assignment on the above and was wondering whether some lovely people on here would be able to offer their opinions as to "for" or "against" as I am really struggling with give explainations to support or dismiss this. I ahve recently started a CACHE L3 CPD on working with children and young people with special needs and am finding it a tad hard. maybe because it is the busiest time of the year in schools and I'm getting older!!!!

 

Thanks

 

Mulder xx :o

 

I have a class of 22 reception children and an unusually high incidence of special needs. From my point of view the 'severe needs' we have are affecting the others in the class and the 'normal' children are not getting their full entitlements in education. I also feel that we cannot give our indivuals S.E.N.s what they need because their 'needs' are so severe and we have neither the training, environment or the physical space for them.

Peacock

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are a Pre-school.

 

We had a child a few years ago who came to us with developmental learning problems. They came to us at 2 1/2, unable to speak, unable to walk properly and with no awareness of danger or obstacles. We worked to provide information for a statement as the parents wanted the child to go to a mainstream local primary.

 

Years on the child still needs 1 to 1, is working well below their peer group and I don't feel is getting the best they deserve.

 

I feel the most important thing is what is best for the child and sometimes that means a place with the best facilities and staff ratios a 'special school' if we need to call it that for a 'special child'.

 

Rachel

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