Secondary School – Hopes and Fears

On 1st March most parents of 10 to 11 year olds where waiting with anticipation for notification of their secondary school choices. I wasn’t. I’d only put down one school and as they are struggling to fill their classrooms I had little doubt that Star would get a place.

The thought of Secondary School fills me with dread. I’ve two older children and for very different reasons the transition did not work. Both ended up being home schooled, one of them then went to another specialised school (not special school, but for children with problems) the other was home tutored by a special team of teachers right through to her exams. The whole time was stressful and difficult for all of us. I was a single mum at the time and had to give up a job I loved because I needed to be home all the time.

Star has similar problems to my eldest as they are both on the autistic spectrum. The difference is, Star also has physical disabilities. Choosing a secondary school for her was difficult. I checked out all of the schools in the area and none of them seemed suitable. Then I found one that seemed perfect, not only do they have excellent SEN facilities, they cater for disabled children too. The problem was, we were out of their catchment area and would have to put forward a very strong case to get a place as the school was already oversubscribed. I was willing to put the effort in to do this, despite the school being so far away. I would have to figure out a way of getting her to the school with her siblings at another school. I couldn’t rely on school transport because of the cutbacks.

 I also had to take her thoughts into consideration, and she did not want to go to this school, she wanted to go to the same school as her friends.

This stopped me in my tracks, I rarely hear Star mention friends, she claims she doesn’t have any at school. Yet, she wants to go to the same secondary school as these friends. I had a flash back to my other older child who blamed her lack of being able to settle into school because I’d chosen a different one to the one her friends went to. I knew this wasn’t the real reason, but she still blamed me and no mother likes to be pinpointed in any of their child’s failures.

So, I picked the other school, the one closer to her siblings school, in walking distance from our home. With hindsight, I probably made a good decision simply because I can no longer drive or have a car.

I have visited the new school on several occasions. I’ve attended two open days and made an appointment to speak to the head teacher. I’ve explained in detail all of Star’s problems and asked repeatedly if they would be able to accommodate her needs. They have assured me they can and will. I can only hope that they do.

Star is looking forward to going there, she has been visiting the school every Monday morning with her current classmates. She will be attending a two week summer school there over the holidays. She told me excitedly that E. was going to the same school and that he had autism like her. I asked her if E. was her friend and she replied ‘no.’

I have to stay positive that this will work for her and try to put the past in the past. Well, apart from learning from my mistakes.

Here is a photo of my little Star on her very first day at school. Time really flies. We knew at the time about the autism and had already been for x-rays on her painful knees but had no idea what that was. So many things have happened since that day.

I always believe that if you don’t ask you don’t get, so I’m asking to be considered in the SchoolDays category of the MAD blog awards, please click button to vote. Thank you.

Tots 100 Awards

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

16 Comments

  1. March 21, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    Gosh, what a lot to think about… choosing a school is never easy, but when you factor in additional needs it must feel overwhelming at times. I do so hope that all goes well with the transition to secondary school for Star and that the school works closely with you to support her in the best possible ways.

  2. March 21, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    It's good that the school seems so willing to accommodate Star's needs and ensure she feels welcome. I hope that the transition is pain free for her.

    • March 22, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      They have said all the right things, I just hope they stick with the plan!

  3. March 22, 2016 / 9:44 am

    I can really sympathise with this. We have just got our Senior school choice and Maxi is the only child from his primary school going to his senior school

    • March 22, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      you generally find that even if the kids all come from the same primary they split them up when they get to secondary school anyway. It's a time of change, but it's so hard for some kids to cope. I hope Maxi gets on ok in his new school. Summer schools are a great way to get to know the other kids.

  4. March 22, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Choosing a school is tough, we moved house as we were in the catchment for a failing one. Thankfully mine are doing brilliantly

    • March 22, 2016 / 5:24 pm

      We have a choice of six, but most of them are totally rubbish! I'm not moving though, only just got here and I hate moving.

  5. March 23, 2016 / 10:49 am

    Good luck with the awards – and I really hope the transition to secondary school goes ok with Star. It must be such a tough business for a parent – I'm not looking forward to it at all.

  6. March 23, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    Awww bless her. I really hope that she settles into the school well and enjoys being with her (not) friends 😉

  7. March 23, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Good luck to both of you. I'm just going to start the whole school thing this coming September and it fills me with dread. It seems like there's so much more at stake the older they get.

    #SpectrumSunday

  8. March 25, 2016 / 10:07 am

    Good luck xx I hope she has a fantastic time xxx

  9. March 27, 2016 / 3:05 pm

    Schools are such a minefield when you have to consider so many different things, add in SEN and it is even harder to come to a decision you can be completely happy with until you've been through the experience. I am sure she will love it, and I hope it is the right decision for you both! Thank you for linking up t #spectrumsunday. I really hope you come and join me again this week xx

  10. March 28, 2016 / 12:58 pm

    I am absolutely dreading the secondary school 'thing'…it's a couple of years away but I'm alredy worrying. Wishing you the best of luck with your choices.

  11. March 29, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Having been through the selecting of secondary school process, I know how stressful it can be. Having to factor in special needs for your children, must make the process even more stressful. I hope that Stars transition to the next stage of school goes well.

  12. April 3, 2016 / 11:06 pm

    Oh Anne it's such a stressful process finding the right school isn't it. So glad you've found somewhere suitable though, must be a relief. And I hope you're doing alright. I have to say after the experience we had not getting into the local school and losing an appeal I'm not looking forward to secondary school! 🙂

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