Admissions to The Lion Works School
The Lion Works School is an Independent Specialist school. If your child has an EHCP you have a legal right to have us consulted as to our suitability to educate your child. Your child having an EHCP means that they are entitled to additional support. You may decide this support is best provided by a progressive ethical solutions focused organisation that puts the student at the centre of the journey. Your local authority may or may not be supportive of this but you have rights and options if you disagree with their position.
On an EHC plan we would be classified as a "Specialist setting". Not all students with EHC plans qualify for a specialist setting. If your child does not, but you feel they should, then you have a legal right to appeal this. If you are unsatisfied with the response from your local authority you have the option of going to an education tribunal where a specially trained and experienced judge will determine whether you or your local authority are right in the assessment of your child's needs. Parents are frequently successful at the tribunal stage.
The student is at the centre of our admissions process. We have designed our process in order to minimise the emotional impact on students when it comes to looking for the 'right school'. It is likely that students will have had a negative school 'breakdown' experience before coming to us, hence why they are searching for a new school. We need to tread carefully to protect a student's emotional wellbeing and self-esteem. We do not deviate from our formal structured admissions process so that every applicant has the right to be fairly assessed so that we can ascertain whether we can meet their needs. We can not meet every student's needs, if we try to do that then we will not meet anyone's needs. If we say we think we can help, then we really mean it.
Come and meet us
Come for a tour. Ask questions and make small talk. We recommend you do not bring your child at this stage.
We will review your child's plan against our ability to meet needs. At this stage we regrettably determine that we may not be suitable for a large number of applicants. This can be in excess of 80% of applications. It can be difficult to hear this but it is important that we are honest and open with you. It would be far more harmful for your child to experience a placement breakdown because a school overestimated their ability to support them. We are not a big organisation and do not have the same volume of specialists in school as some larger more secure settings do.
We will write a report within 48 hours detailing our assessments and whether we believe we can meet your child's needs. This will be sent to you and your case officer. At this stage it is possible that your local authority may choose not to agree to a placement at our setting. If they do so then they need to provide you with detailed reasons and alternatives that they feel are more appropriate. This can result in families being told they 'must' accept a place at a 'maintained' school. This is misleading. Many 'maintained' settings are part of academy chains, that means they are not maintained by the local authority. Their funding comes directly from the DFE. It does however mean it is likely to cost the local authority less money to send a child to an academy school. If you feel you are not satisfied with the options you have been given you have the right to appeal. In the first instance you must appeal to the local authority explaining the reasons why you disagree with their decision. In many cases this will be sufficient. If this is not successful you have the legal right to appeal to a tribunal. At this stage independent experts will review the situation and will require the local authority, yourselves and us, to present information as to the offers of provision available to your child. Historically between 80% and 95% of tribunals have been won by parents.
Still interested? Ask your case officer to send us a consultation. They will require your consent to send your child's EHC plan.
If we feel we can meet your child's needs at this stage then we will be delighted to invite them in for 2 assessment afternoons. It's time to show your child our familiarisation brochure for students so they can visualise our setting and reduce their anxieties about meeting us. The assessments are an opportunity to get to know us and us to get to know you. Following these afternoons we will prepare a report that details our assessment outcomes. This will in most cases lead to an offer of a placement although this is not always the case. It is rare that we feel we cannot support a child at this stage as we are careful to only offer assessments when we really believe we can meet a child's needs, but unfortunately this can happen.