I normally post about food. But those of you who regularly read my blogs will know that I haven't posted much about that recently. The reason is that my severely disabled daughter is transferring to secondary school in September 2014, and this process is unexpectedly taking up rather a lot of my time this academic year.
The process for children at Special Schools is children have an annual review at the start of their final year in Juniors. The grades and description of her special educational needs e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, visual needs (Princess is registered blind with severe cerebral palsy, but thought to be working at just below National Curriculum levels) are then taken from this meeting and written into a document called a Statement of Educational Needs, or simply a Statement.
From September last year I have been cajoling therapists to write detailed reports on Princess, after all these reports are all a potential school will have to go on about my darling daughter. I then had to get our Local Education Authority to summarise these into a detailed Statement of Educational Needs.
Our local County should have written a final statement and named a school based on their understanding of her special educational needs by 15th February 2014. However did not happen, apparently because they are busy! So I have been chasing the County and getting independent advocate services involved trying to get my daughter a secondary education that will suit both her physical needs/disabilities and her academic needs.
In May 2014, 4 months before she is due to start in Secondary school we still do not know which school the Local Education Authority think is suitable for Princess. There is a very good independent school only 20 minutes up the road from us but our county do not wish to pay for this because it is four times the cost of council maintained schools. But none of the council maintained schools we have visited seem able to educate a bright but severely physically disabled child. We have now had to appoint a solicitor to make a legal appeal against the county's statement of Princess' needs, which we consider incomplete, and request they name the independent school.
If we are lucky we will get a Tribunal hearing in July, although it is possible it could be delayed until September, or October 2014.
And all the time we wait, my darling daughter is getting increasingly anxious. She is not enjoying being 11, I suspect because she knows she has to leave the fantastic school she has been at for 7 years and we can't bring ourselves to tell her how up in the air the whole situation really is.
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