St Wilfrid's School

(16 Posts)
Mynicol Mon 06-Jun-16 19:53:17

Does anyone have experience of St Wilfrid’s school for autistic children? I am thinking of sending my 10 year old there from year 7. My main concern is that the class sizes might just be too small. If there is any friction between individual children it will be very evident! I have already posted this on a closed local autism facebook but am looking for more feedback.

MissMol Mon 06-Jun-16 21:14:39

Hi yes I do, my eldest was there for 8 years and my other two are due to start soon too. Eldest has aspergers, we moved him there from a large state school and he thrived. He was (and still is) not very typically aspergic, in fact It may not be obvious to others at all. There were a couple of other boys in his year who I strongly suspect also were on the AS. The pastoral care is very good as its so small, everyone knows everyone and it was my experience that the school produces well rounded very tolerant (for want of a better word) and understanding children. I think prob if you have a child who needs quite a lot of extra help in the classroom for example it may not be the best as although classes are small sometimes they are so small they also do mixed year groups. They also aren't really equipped to deal with extreme behaviour in my opinion eg I know of one boy they couldn't manage at all who was very very disruptive and I belive he left quite soon after starting! Hope that helps

Mynicol Tue 07-Jun-16 13:30:42

MissMol, Thank you and yes that is helpful. My son is a very shy quiet boy and needs a smaller, quieter environment. He really does get lost in the crowd even though there are currently on 16 children in his class. My concern with St Wildrids is that being so few children may mean tight friendship groups that he would find it difficult to find a friend and break into that. However, being so very socially vulnerable I would hope that in such a small school it would be easy for staff to support and watch out for children.

MissMol Tue 07-Jun-16 16:57:39

Hmm I know what you mean but it actually seems to have the opposite effect. My two who are about to start in sept- I've said to both of them and they know that they can't afford to fall out with anyone and have to be friends with everyone as there's not much choice! Ds1 had NO friends at his previous school, he went through st wilfs being friends and actually v popular with everyone. Despite actually not having much in common with the other kids he got on well with them all. He's still friends with a couple of them but it's since he started at exeter college that he's really found 'his people' iykwim!

Mynicol Wed 08-Jun-16 09:47:21

I have now made an appointment to see the school. They were incredibly positive regarding my son's difficulties on the phone. Not the usual "We won't be able to meet his needs" but "Oh good, that's the sort of child we are used to"!!
Having spoken to my boy about what makes it difficult for him it seems one of the main areas to be the old problem of "social interrogation" such as "How big is your bedroom?". Have tried explaining that children do ask one another questions as they are interested, but he maintains he doesn't like being asked questions. I think I will have to write another social story before he visits St Wilfrid's! Hopefully they may be able to allocate an older children to mentor him.

MissMol Fri 10-Jun-16 16:03:17

Oh good. Let me know what you think!

Mynicol Fri 17-Jun-16 17:29:43

First impressions of St Wilfrid's are very positive. They teach in small groups of around 6 but still enable to children to mix and socialise in slightly larger groups and seem to have really thought through how to support different learning styles and personalities. My son will now be having some sessions there before the end of term to help settle him in.

MissMol Fri 17-Jun-16 17:32:54

Oh that's great. Will he be starting sept then? What year is he in?

Mynicol Sat 18-Jun-16 11:07:27

I'm going to phone them on Monday to accept a place and arrange some more visits so he gets used to it. The plan is for him to come into year 5 in September so one year down at least to start with. Their SENco teaches that group so it would enable the school to get a good understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. He is probably one or even two years behind socially and emotionally even though he is fairly academic and despite all his problems still has a love of learning!! You mention you had 2 children starting there soon. Are they of a similar age or younger?

MissMol Sat 18-Jun-16 11:47:46

Ah they're older actually. Dd will be going into yr 7, she's 11 and ds2 is going into yr 9 (he's 13). I'm moving Ds as he's always in trouble at his current school!

Mynicol Mon 20-Jun-16 08:48:12

Oh dear! I imagine he has no idea what he is doing wrong! My son would have been going into year 6 (not 7 as I put in my first post!!) but it seems their year 6 children are fast moving and so will be in with the year 7 in September which would be socially too much. I'm sure in such a small school they will get to know each other anyway.

MissMol Mon 20-Jun-16 09:04:47

Yeah they will I'm sure. I'll prob see you at the school gate! Ds2 the one who's always in trouble- hasn't officially got a dx of anything- that was ds1. Ds2 was dx with hfa when he was 3 but as time moves on the paediatrician said that a dx of adhd was more appropriate/likely and yet since then nothing's ever been done or discussed further! He def has autistic traits and will follow strict rules but he will think his way round them, thereby often breaking them but he won't think he's sone anything wrong! His current hoy says he wants to be naughty but he's rubbish at it and always gets caught. He doesn't seem to be able to stop the little voice in his head that just says 'Sod it, it's fine, just do it anyway, what's the worst that could happen??'grin

Mynicol Tue 28-Jun-16 19:14:28

Think I just gave a cello lesson to a friend of yours!!!
My son has been twice to St Wilfrid's now and has really enjoyed it so we are looking forward to September.

MissMol Tue 28-Jun-16 20:56:40

Did you?? Who was that??!

Mynicol Wed 29-Jun-16 11:44:18

Nicola Purkis!

MissMol Wed 29-Jun-16 14:13:42

No way! Haha her daughter is ds1's best mate

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