This has not been a photo-worthy week, sorry.
The schools went back this week so, as well as teaching the 6th formers and enrolling over 90 new adult students, I have been making frantic phone calls and visits to sort out a secondary school place for R.
The majority of secondaries in my area are big (1000+ pupils) and the thought of R with his physical disability being pushed down stairs by hundreds of bigger children is, frankly, the stuff of my nightmares. He needs a small school who understands his needs, and I was lucky enough to have the perfect one within walking distance. Unfortunately, it is a Catholic school and we are not Catholic. So, last week I found out he had not been given a place for September 2013, despite the fact that when I made the application back in October 2012, all of the professionals who deal with R on a regular basis told me I would definitely get my first choice school because of his statement. If anyone had suggested this wouldn't happen I would have found a Plan B. Now I have to find one very urgently and am panicking.
On Monday I spent most of the day on the phone, making appointments with all the schools in the area, leaving messages at my first choice school and picking the brains of anyone I could think of. Tuesday I was told that he was "way down" on the waiting list for my first choice school and that I couldn't appeal. On Wednesday I was told I can appeal through the Special Needs appeal process, but there are no guarentees. On Tuesday I visited a totally unsuitable school and on Thursday my appointment was cancelled by another. On Friday, I visited my last option; a school some way away from where we live but where my eldest nephew is currently studying. I was very relieved to find it a small and very caring place. It is not glossy, it has pupils speaking over 40 different home languages and it is low down on the academic league tables, but I feel that R would be safe and looked after. He is not the most academic of boys, but he loves his drama and It and practical subjects and it is possible that the Catholic school would have been too ambitious for him to cope with. I am trying hard to see this as a cloud with a silver lining (though it's difficult)
I will make a decision on whether or not to appeal when I have taken R to visit the second school. If he likes it, I will save myself the stress of an appeal which will probably fail.
We finished the week on a pleasant note as R, M and I all went to see Aladdin at Guildford with the Rainbows - a very traditional pantomime and a lot of fun.