If you think that your child may have Special/Additional Educational needs (SEN), you may need to find someone who will take the time to listen and discover for themselves what your child is like and what he or she needs. It might have taken you years of devoted attention to piece together your own insights and it may take some time for others to catch up with you. It might help to keep things factual, describing what is happening, and leaving the diagnosis to the professionals. See also: Getting it sorted.
If your child is attending nursery then that would be the obvious place to start. It could also be well worth a try making enquiries at the children’s centres nearest to you. They do not always seem to advertise all their services on-line and selected centres have quite a bit to offer pre-school children with additional needs.
Getting support at school
Your child’s school would be the obvious place to start in this case. Each school should have a Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator, or SENCo, in the UK. Here is an easy reading introduction to support at mainstream school. Here are some specific examples. Here is a more detailed set of guides to school and student life.
If you have not reached the diagnosis stage then your child’s GP (family doctor) needs to be consulted early on for a referral. Also, if you think things are dragging on too long for your child’s well-being then the GP might think it appropriate to try to speed things up.
If your son or daughter is not academic it might be worth considering a vocational option at a further education college instead of school. See: Introduction How it works
(Year 10 pupils start the year aged 14.)
- Lincoln University Technical College (UTC) is getting there. See Curriculum 14-16 – though this page does not yet seem to mention SEN. Their SEND report is all about years 10 & 11, though their SEN policy does not specifically seem to point to provision for pupils aged 14 – 16. (Last updated Jan 2016)
- Part time college may be the option at this age for home educated pupils across a wide range of additional needs. See: College & Home Education. The nearest college to Grantham for 14-16 provision seems to be Central College Nottingham. See: Ed Yourself. This college’s 14-16 options page states, Home Educated learners can now access college courses free of charge to enhance their home education. Their Choices guide points to options for years 11 & 12.
- Funding for 14-16 for college is provided by a national agency not the local authority according to Funding, so it looks like Lincolnshire pupils might be able to attend a Nottinghamshire college.
Part time school?
Pupils in Lincolnshire who are too unwell to attend their own school may be referred to The Pilgrim School. See schools It has several bases around the county, e.g. Sleaford.
Help at home
If your child feels unable to go continue to go to school at all, getting help to study at home rather than in school does not seem to be an easy process. Specifically, according to this UK-based FAQ page, in Dec 2015:
- Unless your child’s SEN statement specifies provision at home to be made by the LA, the statement becomes a legally unenforceable document.
- If parents have not electively de-registered (e.g. child is excluded, ill, or unable to attend school for other reasons), the LA does have a duty to arrange provision, which can be ‘otherwise than at school’, but, under current legislation (s19), this provision may be minimal, patchy and possibly inappropriate.
This FAQ page has more in the same vein, and it would be quite essential to check that it has not been changed rather than relying on the quotes above.
Please be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice. See disclaimer.