We have reached a key stage in Harry’s continuing education. When the current academic year ends in nine weeks’ time he will have only one more year left at his current school.
Harry is 18. When he left his special school at 16 he was lucky enough to secure a sixth-form place at another school very close by. The sixth-form course lasts 3 years and so he is 2/3 of the way through the course.
However, applications to tertiary colleges need to be made well in advance of enrolment. For example, to start in September 2013 applications for places have to be made by the preceding December 2012. And in order to submit an application you need to have trawled through suitable colleges, attended Open Days, made visits and – in some cases – taken your child for assessments.
All of this takes time.
Some colleges hold their Open Days in the autumn which is very close to the application deadline. For this reason you may find yourself attending an Open Day almost 2 years before your child is due to leave school. This is what we found ourselves doing in November 2011.
As part of the decision-making process, parents are required to make an approach to their nearest college of further education, regardless of whether they think that college can meet their child’s needs.
This seems to me to be completely pointless and a waste of everyone’s time.
However, approaches to residential colleges will not even be considered until and unless the nearest local college has been contacted.
And so, we jump through the hoop!