Dyslexia-friendly private school in Surrey?(21 Posts)
Hi, new to the site. Hope I'm posting this in the right place. My DD has recently been assessed as dyslexic. She is struggling at current school. I won't name names but we are very unhappy with the support they are offering. In Year 5 now and think it's time to move her now to try and build up her confidence before she reaches senior school. I've heard of dyslexia specialist schools, like Moon Hall in Dorking, but she's quite bright and we would prefer a more 'mainstream' school really. We are in Ashtead, Surrey, but would be willing to travel for the right place. Anyone have any good experiences of dyslexia-friendly schools? Thanks so much.
Priors Field School in godalming is worth a look at for Year 7. It isn't particuarly selective so very mixed intake from ones who go off to Oxbridge to ones who struggle to get their Cs at GCSE (but elsewhere would be unlikely to get a C). Big focus on value added and the girls aren't compared. Lots of girls with dyslexia who are catered for well.
I've known children go off to Moon Hall for a year or two and then return to their old school or a new school having been equipped with the strategies to help them achieve in mainstream as a dyslexic. Worth considering.
Prep schools I can imagine are good from their atmosphere/ethos are St Edmunds Hindhead (quite far from you though), Duke of Kent school, Manor House. I think you can tell a lot simply from talking to the schools and asking about their dyslexia provision, if they are helpful in their replies and don't see it as an issue and quickly explain their procedures relating to SN, they are likely to cater for it well.
As you have mentioned Moon Hall I assume you are considering independent schools. The most important thing at this stage is probably to work out what senior school will suit her best and choose a relevant prep.
Having said that, Downsend is an obvious choice for Ashtead.
I have two dyslexic DDs and I was in a similar position to you in terms of the support my younger DD got at her UK Prep. Fortunately she had had intensive intervention at an earlier school which had brought her reading writing and spelling up to average level and gave her strategies, so I just muddled through with her giving additional support at home. In terms of mainstream schooling you would be reliant on the quality of the SEN teacher and in my experience in Preps they tend to focus on those who struggle generally ( not necessarily because of a learning difficulty) and not appreciate that bright pupils would benefit from support with coping strategies and targeted intervention to build their confidence and enable them to achieve their potential. So it rather depends on where your DD is in terms of coping with her Dyslexia. Changing schools for the year or so before entrance exams could do more harm than good unless you are sure she will be given the coping strategies and intervention she needs in terms of teaching in her areas of weakness that will suit her learning style. It may be that you will only find that in a specialist school.
As far as senior schools are concerned they tend to be much better equipped to support those with Specific Learning Difficulties, and in most schools around 10 % of pupils will have a diagnosis by GCSE which is as it should be since 10% of the population are affected at every ability level. Beware any school that isn't positive about that reality and treats it as a problem. Good schools value their pupils with SpLDs acknowledging they have strengths as well as difficulties. Sadly some schools still worry it will affect their results and will try to edge pupils out rather than support them. My DD had extra time in the entrance exams for LEH, KGS, Surbiton High and St George's and I was happy she would be supported at them all. It isn't perfect, the centres of excellence I know of are at Hampton and Latymer Upper, where they have amazing drop in centres with all the resources they could need. I do still need to facilitate her at home making sure she organises herself etc. but she gets extra time in exams and is achieving her potential albeit by having to work way harder and smarter than her peers.
I would start looking at Moon Hall and Moon Hall College, they do feed into "normal" seniors. St Theresa's? Manor House? (There have by dyslexic pupils at GHS, Tormead and St Catherine's but I assume she isn't aiming quite that high.)
I think she would do better in a girls' school at this stage. We are not Catholic so wouldn't consider St Teresa's. Any info on Manor House? Thanks again for all the advice.
None of the girls I know at St Theresa's are Catholic (and I don't think the Nuns are around much).
Manor House is small, I've known several people who have sent daughters there and I've never heard anything bad. I know someone who sent her 3 dyslexic daughters but that was a few years ago.
SEN support at Manor House is excellent - they have many girls with various issues of varying severity but they are never singled out, get on with things and the results at GCSE show amazing Value Added so they must be doing something right! Its also (relatively) good VFM
local paper published GCSE results today - % 5 A*-C is 94 for MH and 71 for St teresas
Yes - wow! Saw that article too. Manor House's value added scores at GCSE do seem to be excellent.
Have you thought about Box Hill Dorking?
Manor House do have good results for GCSE as they finish at 16 and concentrate on getting the five GCSE's. There is a new head at St T and the school is really oversubscribed now.
drthomas I can assure you MH girls get more than 5 GCSE's!!
homebythesea But some of the MH pupils don't even get five. I am not saying it isn't a good school and the important thing is not it's overall results but whether it will enable its pupils to fulfil their potential, and does it enable bright pupils to gain the strings of As and A*s they are capable of? Having Dyslexia should not preclude a bright child from achieving that potential providing the right support, extra time etc. are given.
I think there can be a problem with the through to 16 not so selective schools not preparing DC as well as they might for entrance to other school at 11 because they are financially dependent on keeping them in house. I am not saying that happens here but it does at some schools.
OP says her child is "quite bright" which is a bit relative but when considering schools she should not discount the ones that from 11 would be right for her DCs level of ability just because she is dyslexic (unless she feels it will cause confidence issues). The more selective schools are pretty good at spotting ability and potential, and at recognising the silly errors, time management issues and misreading of questions etc. that typically let those with SpLDs down in entrance exams. It may well be that a school that can give her DD intensive intervention with her issues with the aim of sitting exams at 11 is a valid option.
Without knowledge of the schools or DC I cannot be more specific, but just don't assume Dyslexia closes down your options. As I have pointed out above I have a moderately dyslexic and dyspraxic child doing very well indeed (5 offers to read English literature at very good RG unis) at one of the selective schools I mentioned (and she got places at them all).
Shootingatpigeons - the thing about MH is that BECAUSE they don't prepare girls for entrance to other schools at 11 (or 13 for that matter) there is no rush - all 16 year olds will get to the same place at the time they do their GCSE's. This means that they can (and do) deal with any specific difficulties along the way and the girls are well prepared when the time comes.
The Year 11 girls regularly get offered academic scholarships to more than one school for 6th Form and yes they do get the strings of A's and A*s at GCSE (I'm a bit about the comment that some girls don't get even 5 GCSE's but I don't have the evidence to refute that!). For an entirely non selective school I think the results speak to the excellent teaching and it's quite frustrating as a parent that the school doesn't shout louder about its achievements
Home by the sea it was in a previous post, 94% 5 A to C. I do realise that some of the exams taken may not count if those are the government league tables but to be honest the results on the MH website are not that impressive compared to schools like William Perkins and Surbiton which are not very selective and offer excellent support for dyslexics.
I am not saying the OP shouldn't look at MH, I am just saying she shouldn't count out other more selective schools. Being a Dyslexic does not mean you are not academic.
And to be honest from the other end of the process it is good to have a sixth form at a school. Many good teachers prefer to teach in a school where they have a chance to teach at the higher level and say it strengthens the teaching overall, and some DCs will want to, and benefit from being able to stay in a familiar environment and be able to hit the ground running when faced with working at the higher level. A move at sixth form requires an adjustment even as you face the greater academic challenge. Several parents I know whose DDs were at schools that went only to 16 say they never come to feel part of the school as much as if they had been there all along.
There are a lot of factors in the decision. I am just adding the benefit of our experience.
DD went to MH (Leigh) for 1 year. It's very expensive and not suitable for her all the way through. She went for year 7. She is bright with mild dyslexia. Her confidence was at an all time low and she was very negative.
She went for 1 year. Her confidence picked up and she learnt better learning styles for herself. She now understands that she is not stupid and that it is how she is being taught that is an issue not her intelligence. She had been at the bottom of the class in her prep. Her Maths teacher was great (I may be biased though) and she was genuinely happy there. If it was up to her she would not have left Moon Hall.
We were asked by a couple of teachers why she was there as she was at the top of the class after 6 months. Realising that she was not going to be pushed any further we decided she was better off in a school where she would not breeze by and come out without great Gcse's.
We like Moon Hall, it's great if it's the right school for you.
By the way african we were talking about Manor House, not Moon Hall. I think some time at a school that can give intensive help with coping strategies etc might be an excellent option for OP. Whilst my DD received it from a very good SEN unit in an overseas school that has definitely left her able to cope along with her peers at a school that was right for her and her level of ability.
Sorry to be a late entry to the thread... we moved our DS to Moon Hall College/Burys Court when he was in Y5 from his state primary as we was not getting any help from people trained in dyslexia, despite his Ed Psych reports - he has severe dyslexia but is otherwise bright and very articulate. MHC have worked wonders and we think he will actually have a chance at getting a C in his English GCSE, which was something we didn't think possible several years ago. There are some at MHC with milder dyslexia, some with worse - but IMHO the kind of support they offer is second to none if your DC'd dyslexia is so disabling that they cant access the curriculum. If you DC has milder dyslexia then maybe consider this for short term support as has been suggested above.
Have you looked at Box Hill school? They are very supportive of any special educational needs. Two of my DDs friends have gone there, and the added bonus of no common entrance!
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