Horton Lodge Community Special School is adjacent to Rudyard Lake. If the name Rudyard sounds familiar, it is because two day trippers, John Lockwood Kipling and Alice McDonald, visited and liked it so much when they later married, they named their son for it.
Attached to Horton Lodge then, is Kiplings, a part of Horton but slightly apart from it too. It offers overnight provision. Horton is not a boarding school, and nobody stays there full time. If Kiplings supports the EHCP of a child, then with the agreement of a panel they can go for one to two nights a week, reviewable every six months. I cannot begin to express how rare this provision is.
I will not go into detail how long it took to get our LA to agree to fund Pearl staying there one night a week, but it was worth the battle.
(For anyone else battling for provision some phrases such as “equality of opportunity'” and “equality of provision”can be quite useful. Make sure you support your requests with arguments aimed at the right department, Social Care and Education have separate budgets. Swap the request “I need respite”-not education’s problem – with “she would benefit educationally from…”)
Anyway I digress. Pearl loves Kiplings,they have worked hard on her activities of daily living (much easier in a residential setting) and her independence skills. Also my early concern that she would get out if her bed and try to get in with someone else, was fortunately incorrect..
At Kiplings they have a club, they can choose their own activities, and hang out with their friends. Horton children come school from far and wide and the chance to go for tea or have sleepovers with medically complex children just doesn’t arise. (Hence “equality of opportunity”). It is very, very, VERY hard to trust someone with your best beloved (no Rab, no Glory you are ALL my favourites – it’s a nifty little Rudyard Kipling reference) and the chance to be away from a child with additional needs is so very rare, many parents never get it.
Imagine then a child given fantastic care and having fun, in a setting they go to daily, with staff they know and love. Of course Pearl gets educational benefit, of course it supports her EHCP, but also it gives her the opportunity to do something different without her family, that we can then chat about with the home school book and PODD.
Lastly it helps us. For one night, we can turn our attention to family life, Pearl’s sibs get a look in and I can switch off my hyper vigilance.
On Wednesday, for the very last time Pearl, will set off with her overnight bag for a stay in Kips.
Three cheers then for Kiplings, you know Pearl loves you because she sometimes tries to come across when it’s not her night, you know we appreciate you because we trust you with our precious Pearl, and I know we’ll miss you, because Mr PJ and I are hotfooting off for the day and staying in a hotel overnight as the chance may never come again ( I do hope I’m joking)
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