The Future is bright – the future is….different?
Maybe you remember the classic Orange phone-network advert, trying to convince us that theirs was the network for the future (the fact it is no longer around means the advert outlasted the product!). Trying to help foster children gain a better future is one of the main reasons we do what we do. This is especially true in Alice’s education.
She will be moving schools because she is currently in her last year at an infant school, and so in September she will be moving to a Junior school setting. I have been working on the new paperwork for Alice’s Special Education statement over the last few weeks, in preparation for this move. We have complicated matters slightly in that we are moving house before the summer to another local authority. Her school application has therefore gone ahead to the new local authority.
We were under the impression that getting a Looked After Child with a Statement of Education into a new school would be straightforward as they are top of the admission criteria list. However, because of the delay in getting her paperwork sorted and outstanding referrals it seems that the local mainstream schools we have applied for have made the decision that they do not feel they can fully meet her needs.
This has left us in a difficult situation. We have a couple of choices. We can either wait until after we move house and then appeal for the local mainstream primary school. This would potentially mean she would be out of school for several weeks while we go through the appeal process, with no guarantee with a place at appeal – the school can still decline her place if they cannot meet her needs. We can also begin to look at Special Schools – in particularly schools that cater for children like Alice with moderate learning difficulties.
It has come as a bit of a shock, as this is not an option we were thinking of just yet. We had in mind that she would continue in mainstream school until she reached secondary school age. So we are having to do some quick thinking. It has been really good to talk through the issues with the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) at her current school, her Local Authority Social Worker and the Local Education Authority. As her foster carers there is only so much we can do, and only so many decisions that are in our hands.
We will visit the schools and give our thoughts to the social worker and local education authority – then it will be up to them to make the decision. We just hope that the best decision will be made for Alice, and she will end up in the school best for her.
So maybe the future is not exactly what we thought it might look like, but whatever ever may come, Alice will never have to face that future alone. We will face it with her. And for that reason, her future might be different, but it will always be bright.
A Less Ordinary Family – Blog