An ode to the SEN school application process

Out of the Box

I was one of those parents who grumbled at the process,

the form filling and bureaucracy – it felt such an excess,

but the mainstream system is simple really, it doesn’t even come close,

to the time and energy required to get a special school place


First you have to demonstrate that your child has ‘enough’ challenges,

a heartbreaking process where you are forced to focus on the negatives,

writing it down on paper was just so hard to do,

it felt so disconnected for the gorgeous child that is you


Then the school visits started to allow us to ‘state a preference’

it was tough confronting the reality that a special school made sense,

the amazing staff, the lovely kids and fabulous therapies,

the emotional side was put aside, to seize the opportunity


But of course, it wasn’t straightforward, the school we decided on was out of catchment,

3 miles made all the difference to get agreement to our decision,

So even more paperwork and soul destroying forms,

But we knew it was right, the best for you and so we pushed on

The unexpected challenge was the lack of diagnosis,

Allocating a school place when there wasn’t a prognosis,

Was there really something wrong or was it all made up?

The added stress of no label, we did not fit in a box


The day the statement was agreed, we had a small celebration,

We did it, we got past the panel, they made the right decision,

but reading through the reports, hearing words like complex and severe,

it’s not what we see when we look at you – not what we want to hear


The time flies by and before we know it, it’s time to start at school,

you are excited not at all apprehensive – and we pretend we are cool!

We drop you off and wave goodbye and spend the day nearby just in case….

But no – you love it – no need to worry, a huge smile on your face


You have settled in fabulously, you want to go every day,

We could not be happier, you are making progress in every way,

It was definitely worth the stress, it’s an amazing place to be,

but did it have to be so hard? Please try and make it more easy…..


Please support #outofthebox – to help improve the services we access – #undiagnosed should not be a barrier.

Swan UK have provided a lifeline to all we have faced in the past 2 years. We need this group and funding is at a critical junction with some big grants ending. My one request is to help support Swan UK to continue running and supporting the 1000 families already signed up, as well as reaching out to the 1000s of other families battling in isolation.

If you would like to donate to support the work of SWAN UK you can do so via the Just Giving page or our Virgin Money Giving page. You can also donate by texting SWAN11 £3 (or any amount up to £10) to 70070

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