Moved to a different area and want to change from mainstream to special school, advice please? | Ambitious about Autism
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Moved to a different area and want to change from mainstream to special school, advice please?

Jen7's picture

Moved to a different area and want to change from mainstream to special school, advice please?

Thu 27 Jul 2017 9:32pm

Hi there
Wondering if you are able offer any help in our situation? We have recently moved house and are currently trying to get our son into an autism specific school here, in the old area we lived our son was in mainstream with constant 1:1 support he is very high need and extremely limited verbally with high care needs mainstream was suitable when he was little and learning was mostly free play but now he is getting older the gap between his peers has widened and it really is not suitable for him to be there. he was beginning to struggle with the setting becoming unsettled and upset more and more often. when we moved after speaking to the lea we viewed lots of schools which took a little while as visits were limited then we wrote stating our parental preference.
Since then it feels like the lea are almost being obstructive I have rung them many times and noted it all down they've said he must be in a mainstream school to be assessed (as that is on his statement) and if it's not suitable they will then move him to special at the same time they have said that they have contacted some of the special schools in the area to see if there are places available.
The issue we have is a lot of the special schools here are over subscribed. the autism specific one which is our first choice is heavily over subscribed, our second choice whom when we visited seemed more open to taking on another pupil now according to the LEA is unable to take any more pupils they did not give this impression when we visited them so I'm not sure if this is LEA being obstructive.
They keep passing me onto different people who don't tell me anything helpful or give me any answers and it's becoming really frustrating. I am waiting on a letter from placements which was supposed to be posted 2 days ago I rang today and it hasn't been posted yet I was unable to speak to the placements officer, when I asked if it could be emailed as This would be quicker than a letter and if they had it on file it should just be a simple matter of a couple of clicks to forward onto me they have said they will do it tomorrow but I will probably end up having to ring and chase This up though I expect.
We are very aware that he is out of school and are concerned that they will take too long and he will be forced to go into mainstream here which we know he will more than likely find really overwhelming and have difficulty coping. Is it true that he must be in school to be Assessed? he has an ehcp which states his areas he has difficulties in. surely this is sufficient with our parental prefence for them to make a decision whether to allocate a place at special school we feel it's not fair to put him into a school he will need to then be moved from in a couple of months if he can't cope.
Can you offer any advice on What we can do and our rights as his parents? I know of the ehcp final draft was less than 12 months ago this can go against our argument but as we have moved to a different LEA and feel his needs have changed is there anything we can do? any suggestions on where to go from here we are considering a private report but not sure if it would be best to wait for if it goes to tribunal? Also considered a freedom of information request but not sure exactly what info would be helpful to request and if it could even be released. Any help really really appreciated, thank you for reading

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  • Jen7's picture

    Bumping this incase it has been missed as still looking for advice

  • CCaccavone's picture

    Hi Jen7

    Thanks for getting in touch. 

    I would first direct you to the local authority SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Independent Advice & Support Service) which should be able to appoint you a named supporter to navigate the process. You will find the service listed on the Local Offer section of your local authority website. There should also be listings for local parent groups who can share there experiences of the same local authority; you can find out more abotu parent/carer forums here: 

    In addition you may wish to contact  to understand your rights in relation to the assessment for support (via Education, Health & Care Plan) to then target special schools.

    Do get back in touch if you have any further questions once you have tried these avenues, and good luck



    Clare Caccavone, Head of Learner & Family Engagement at Ambitious about Autism

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