Secondary School or Special School

Your child is finishing the first part of their education life at their local primary school. Life at primary school might not have been smooth but it made sense; they had support, their classmates were respectful, perhaps their siblings went to the school.

But they are about to start their final year at Primary school and you are already worrying about that next step. How will they cope at secondary? Should they go secondary? What are the options?

The answer to this depends on your child’s SEN and mitigating factors. If possible the first person you should ask is the most important, your child. If they can understand the choice perhaps they could fully express their preference; Do they have friends they want to go school with? Perhaps the secondary school has strong SEN ethos and have teachers with particular specialties that could help them meet needs?

If you are worrying about social isolation, perhaps bullying and/or the school has little understanding of SEN then perhaps a specialist SEN school might be the answer. However the selection process doesn’t end here- there are a variety of different specialist schools to choose from depending on their SEN.

Perhaps the answer to the ideal school is to work from back to front. Where do you consider your child ending up when their compulsory education has finished? It might be a difficult question to ask yourself considering your child is only 10 years old, but where do you consider them being at 16 or 18? If it’s university then probably a secondary school is your best bet. If it’s supported living then a special school would be your best bet. If your child falls between these two opposing options then it’s going to be your judgement call. Below are a series of statements and our recommended destination depending on the statement (this is our recommendation not fact- you ultimately decide what is best for your child).

1. They need support with aspects of their personal careSpecial school
2. They need a wheelchair to help with their mobility- but otherwise they have no other difficultiesSecondary school
3. They have a visual impairment but can access print if adapted to their preferred sizeSecondary School
4. They have behavioural difficulties which leads to self-harming and/or aggressive behaviour to othersSpecial School
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