I thought since Fionn had explained how smooooothly his transition went, I should share the things we did to help it be as comfortable as possible.
- We had lots of specialist reports attached to Fionn’s SEN statement. They are only advisory appendices UNLESS you specifically ask for the inclusion of as much of the helpful material as possible to be added. If you do not feel your child’s needs are being met in school, you can only really insist the content of Section 2 of the Statement – the needs, are addressed. This means that Section3 of the statement mentions specifically the strategies the schools need to carry out! THIS IS VITAL!
- We called a Multi-disciplinary group meeting. We asked the receiving school to facilitate. We gave the invite list to Paediatrician, CAMHs, OT, Educational Psychologist (both old one and new beginning one). ASAS (both old one and the new one), His Primary School Principal, his Primary Classroom Assistant (who had been 5 years with him) and the Educational Needs Officer from ELB. The meeting was BRILLIANT. it was essentially round-table talk. Everyone got to give their version of what would be necessary. This allowed the school to take detailed notes on how he presented, on the subtleties of his condition, and how it was appropriate or inappropriate for them to deal with each issue.
- The SENDist from School and SMT met with me, and went over their suggested strategies and I was allowed input.
- Fionn and I went up to the school and met with SENDist and Form Teacher, and he was able to help me give as clear and specific a description of how he is, how he sits, how his work will be presented…
- The school then arranged a meeting for Fionn and SENDist and the new Classroom Assistant and myself – so that again they got to learn a bit more about him. : how he shows signs of stress, signs of anxiety, how he finds some sensory issues difficult, his sense of justice…lots of insight.
- At this stage we were asking Fionn to mark his anxiety and excitement levels as percentages. Each time we had a meeting they shifted…if he got to ask about the what ifs of bigger boys, the what ifs of doing music, the what ifs of sitting his way…the balance shifted!
I have to say, so far the school have, initially followed our requests with meetings etc, but have taken on board all that we asked.
- we get a second copy of homework – written by assistant.
- we get a report from the assistant daily on his form, when he was unsettled, confused.
- the school SENDist meets his assistant weekly and any issues are raised.
- he is beginning to build a relationship with his new assistant
- we were able to broach issues for instance that in languages, he spelt words as they would sound in english….we now get copies of all PPT slides printed with new vocabulary on it.
- we decided to continue to build his independence by allowing him to try to manage on corridors etc unaided. That’s working out .
- And best of all from day one….he walks home….with 2 old friends – one from his class and one at the adjacent school. Over a few days the group had increased and there were new boys and a few football team-mates from yet another school.
- Fionn’s strongest subject is his PERSONALITY.
- His new school has done nothing to daunt that…and as he says himself….he is 100% happy
We made the right choice!