This is a large subject, and a complicated one – however, in this blog we want to highlight the importance of transparency and honesty when applying for school places.
A growing number of families are applying to schools in the UK – both international and native – and not revealing the true extent of their child’s special educational needs.
The reason for this is not clear. Some parents, I think, are hoping that a new school “life” might change their circumstances. Other, especially when moving from areas where children start school later than in the UK, are not even clear that their children do have specific learning needs.
The issue comes to a head in the first weeks of school. Teachers see children disengaged or behaving badly in the classroom, or struggling to make friends, and the alarm bells start to sound.
In some cases the situation can be rectified, with the schools able to work with parents and specialists to re-bed the children in the light of a new understanding of a child’s requirements.
In other cases – and this has happened with three clients since the start of the academic year – the schools have stated that they cannot provide SEN support and the families need to go back to the start of the process.
It is not that school options cannot be found. However the families have often put down roots, maybe they have other children at the same institution, and the change can bring both emotional and financial upheaval. It is also time consuming, and the child can be out of school for a number of weeks.
It is essential that families reveal as much as they can about their children when applying for schools. Shoe-horning a child into a school, if that school is not the right fit, can cause lasting damage to the relocation.