Secondary schooling for autistic child — Scope | Disability forum
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Secondary schooling for autistic child

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sasuke_mum
sasuke_mum Community member Posts: 5 Listener
edited April 14 in Education
Hi! This is my first post and quite a broad question...
We are looking at secondary schools for my son who is autistic. We have an EHCP and a supportive Primary School (mainstream). We know the transition will be stressful, but feel that a school, if they can provide what he needs (and we know the problems there) would be the better route. But it's the 'if' that is nagging us, so we're wondering if any of you can give us your experiences of home-schooling at secondary level and how you introduce important social interaction with youngsters of their own age? We feel at the moment that this is our back-up plan, so it would be really good to hear your thoughts. Thank you.
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  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 4,081 Scope online community team
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    Hey there @sasuke_mum and welcome to the community. I'm loving the name. :) 

    I'm afraid I don't know a great deal about the schooling system, but I'm going to pop your post into a different category, so more people in the know will be able to see and hopefully give you some top advice. I hope that's ok? 
    Albus (he/him)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • sasuke_mum
    sasuke_mum Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    Thanks @Albus_Scope that would be great 😊 
  • Beaver79
    Beaver79 Community member, Community Co-Production Group, Scope Member Posts: 20,081 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @sasuke_mum Welcome to the Community. IPSEA  Independent Provider of Special Educational Advice might be able to help you.
    https://www.ipsea.org.uk
  • sasuke_mum
    sasuke_mum Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    Thanks @Beaver79 I’ll take a look 🙏
  • Pauline_S
    Pauline_S Community member Posts: 27 Courageous
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    Hi @sasuke_mum!

    I've just joined the forum and found your post. I'm a former teacher who now home-educates, so I think I might be able to help you. The short version of our story is that over lockdown I researched autism in women and realised I was autistic and basically my whole family is a mixture of autistic and ADHD, with a sprinkling of other conditions for good measure! My sons (then 6 and 11) never returned to school and we've been happily home-educating ever since. My older son is now doing some GCSEs via online classes and my youngest is happy working with me at his own pace and following his interests. I can recommend some home-ed groups on Facebook if you like. Some general ones and some local ones would be best to join. I couldn't find a local group, so I started one! We have social meet-ups at parks, community centres etc and arrange walks, trips and other activities. There are lots of things going on locally and regionally, you just need to know where to look!

    I'm happy to answer any questions you have.
  • sasuke_mum
    sasuke_mum Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    Thanks for getting in touch, your experience is invaluable. If you could point me towards groups that have helped you that would be great. If you could answer some of my questions too it would be so helpful - I don't know where to start when it comes to accessing the means to home education - is there a curriculum, testing? Do I contact my local council? Do I have to prove that I'm able? All very basic questions. How do your son's online GCSE classes work? Are they scheduled, or does he work at his own pace? 

    I'll stop bombarding you now, but really appreciate your time. Setting up your own local group is awesome!

  • Pauline_S
    Pauline_S Community member Posts: 27 Courageous
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    Hi @sasuke_mum.

    I don't mind being bombarded at all!

    Facebook is a good place to start, I'd recommend Home Education For All (HEFA) and then look through their files section or search particular phrases, such as GCSEs. Also try searching 'home education' and add your town/county/borough/region. A local network is invaluable, but you may need to try a few groups to find people you gel with.

    If you are de-registering from school you need to write or email the school to tell them. You can find template letters on the above-mentioned group. The school will contact the local authority, who will get in touch with you. Some authorities are better than others, so have a good read of posts about de-registering to know your rights and what should happen next. Some schools don't know what do, some authorities pressure schools into trying to keep students. You may be able to just turn down your secondary school place and wait for contact. My older son had already started high school when lockdown began, so we just de-registered from there.

    There is no set curriculum or testing, you can follow the interests of your child. If you want to pursue GCSEs, have a look at HE Wiki, which will help a lot. Children don't have to do GCSEs, but many families choose to do some, particularly maths and English, although they can do Functional Skills exams instead, which are more practical in nature. 5 GCSEs including maths, English and ideally a science should be enough to get into any college or cover jobs that don't require a degree. You can spread them out over a few years for less pressure, if your child is ready or take them a bit later if need be (you have to fund these, so spreading out the cost can be helpful). There are many providers of online courses around and you have a wider choice of subjects than in school. Some classes are live, some are recorded, so you can watch when it suits you. There are free resources available too, such as Oak Academy, although some find it a bit dry and Twinkl (no 'e') is worth looking at for resources, many are free, but some are premium. Your child can of course self-study GCSEs, if they prefer.

    It's really totally flexible. Some people have a timetable, others don't. Some follow a curriculum, most don't. Near us home-ed kids have access to things like forest school, history club at a local museum, sports groups, farm school, lego club, creative workshops etc. You can often get reduced costs or free entry to places such as the Sea Life Centre, Legoland and Tower Bridge if you're going during school hours, so lots of trips are possible. A very high percentage of home-ed kids are autistic or have ADHD or social anxiety, many of us parents are on the spectrum too. Lots of parents work and home-educate, there are many ways to do this if you need/want to (not sure if this is an issue for you).

    Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions!

    Pauline
  • sasuke_mum
    sasuke_mum Community member Posts: 5 Listener
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    Hi Pauline

    Thank you, this is so helpful. I'll start to explore our local options, but I'm sure I'll be back to pick your brains again!
  • Pauline_S
    Pauline_S Community member Posts: 27 Courageous
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