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Do we as parents have the right to choose a school for our son?

SnazzySnazzy Member Posts: 2 Listener
This discussion was created from comments split from: Hello my name is Hannah and I'm an educational psychologist.


  • SnazzySnazzy Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi Hannah, my son is four he has a diagnosis of ASD.He has just been awarded a statement of special educational needs. They have suggested heat tends an inclusion base within a mainstream school. This is because at present he has academically mainstream ability. He is academically average due to the hard work and one to one teaching (out of the classroom environment) he teaching assistant has put in this school year. Without this the per school and myself feel he would be below average. The inclusion base they have chosen is not what myself and husband feel would best meetCharlie's needs. My question overall is do we as parents have the right to choose a school for our son? We would like him to attend the special needs school close to our home the children who attend there have mild to moderate asd or mild to moderate learning difficulties. Myself and my husband have been to view both the inclusion base and the special needs school. Prior to the local authority making their decision we knew the special needs school was right for Charlie he was jut like the children there and the support available is what he needs. Particularly from a safety point of view. The inclusion base would expect Charlie to go the toilet outside the class room alone. This would not be feasible Charlie would not come back to the class room he would wander around the school. There are lots of other points I have, but I don't know where I stand ,with regards to the local authority's decision. Hope to here from you soon a very stressed mum.
  • EducationalPsychologistEducationalPsychologist Member Posts: 119 Courageous
    Hello Snazzy,
    Absolutely as parents you have rights with regards to your child's education.
    Firstly, a couple if questions:
    Has your son had a full cognitive assessment? This is needed in order to establish the most suitable learning environment.
    Are you in contact with parents partnership and IPSEA? They offer free, impartial advice and support.
    A couple of important pieces of information you should know:
    You do not have to send your son to any school you are not happy with, you can choose to home educate (not advocating one way or the other, just highlighting a point).
    As your son is statemented the local authority have a duty of care to ensure your son receives appropriate education. They can agree or disagree to name a school on his statement.
    Often issues regarding school placements come down to available places/money.
    In terms of challenging the local authority decision you will need to be able to show why the school they have offered cannot meet your sons needs, as well as why the school you feel is best can.
    Going through this process, it might be helpful to consider requesting additions to your sons statement that are specific and funded within the statement, e.g. Needs to be supervised to go to the toilet. You have the right to challenge any part of your son's statement that you do not feel accurately reflects his needs or provision needed to meet them. You can do this by requesting a review at any time.
    Sometimes local authorities do not object to naming a school based on a child's needs, rather there are not enough places in their special schools for all the children wanting a place. You can also consider independent provision and take the local authority to tribunal to argue that they cannot provide a school to meet your sons needs therefore need to pay for alternative provision. If you go down this route please note it is very costly and I would strongly advise legal representation.
    Without knowing too much about your son's case I have tried to give you an overview of what I consider to be important information.
    I'm the first instance I recommend getting in touch with parent partnership and arranging a review of your son's statement. Ensure school, educational psychologist, other relevant professionals and SEN team representative from local authority are all present. This will provide a starting point for discussions. Don't be afraid to ask direct questions to ascertain exactly why your son has not been offered a place at the school you want. Then you know what type if battle you are fighting.
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