Thoughts on changing schools - Dyspraxia

(10 Posts)
Calmonthesurfacebut Fri 29-May-15 15:39:55

A bit of background... Dd yr10 private school, moved there in Yr2, has been doing well until Yr 3 when maths levels started dropping. School said all was OK, but dropped gain in Yr4 coincided with some bullying issues.

In Yr 5 all the class underwent a dyslexia screening test, dd showed 'mild risk', but school said whe was fidgety and distracted and coupled with the fact we had some sensory issues at her first school, we had an EdPsych. Report done, she enjoyed it, but it showed a poor working memory and Dyspraxia, query Dyscalculia, high level of verbal and reading skills.

School have poor SEN provision now, in fact non existent, she sees someone once a week and they seem bothered about her pen grip! The senior school will be the same, once a week, no help in class. It is an academic high achieving school. We went to another Private school for a visit, but they flagged up the maths, (couldn't level her!) and some social issues - it was during the period she was being terribly bullied and I think she was over confident going into the class. This was prior to the EP report too and they spotted more in two days than her current school. However, whilst they have excellent SEN provision, they can't offer her a place until further assessment, as feel the gap to catch up may be too huge.

So....do we continue along the route of current school, she takes the entrance exam - school say she is likely to pass (I will be surprised, but we are doing a lot of work on her maths at home),

Or...look at a local state school now for Yr6, which if she goes to the local high will mean she has already made friends, they both have good SEN provision.

Or leave her for yr6 and move her at seniors and we will know if she has passed the entrance exam - it isn't purely on exam,the 'whole' child too and she is very much a take parter - not good at sports, but joins other clubs, choir, chess, on school council etc.

DD says she would like to stay where she is, but because of the bullying that has gone on - very unpleasant excluding and shoving, school dealt with it eventually, I worry about the girls involved being worse as they get older. Although she also says she wouldn't mind 'looking' at the other schools.

In all other respects, dd is articulate, expressive, a bit quirky I suppose in the fact she doesn't get involved in all the boasting and materialistic stuff (a lot of this goes on in her class particularly). The teachers really like her, she is engaged and takes part with enthusiasm. The Dyspraxia really shows itself in slow working, missing info. poor organisation and struggling with maths, alongside missing some social cues, but these are subtle, but kids obviously have picked up on it.

I am torn, I feel like I need to have a plan, if she fails the entrance exam, I worry seniors will be too academic. I worry that the sensory issues, distracted by noise etc., will resurface back in the large classrooms of the state school. I worry, as although she hasn't any close 1-1 friends, she will struggle in a new environment.

I now wish we hadn't moved her back in Yr2, but it was right for her at the time. However, she has grown into a wonderful confident girl, who is kind, thoughtful and caring.

I would welcome any thoughts, as I feel now I am losing objective and over thinking!

Calmonthesurfacebut Fri 29-May-15 15:40:44

Sorry. This should read Yr5 at the moment!!!!!!!!

inthename Fri 29-May-15 16:00:48

when is the entrance exam?
possibly best thing to do, as you are coming to the end of yr 5, is to apply for state secondary in the usual round (which I think is applications in October of yr 6 for yr 7 but check your LA website) then regardless of whether she passes the entrance exam you still have a definite secondary school place allocated rather than trying to get a yr 7 place as a late applicant.
If she were to go into yr 6, most state primarys or juniors would be focusing on SATS from easter onwards, some earlier than that and it may be difficult for them to get the SEN provision in place in 2 terms.
Again, moving to another independent will give them little opportunity to assess the situation properly.
What provision are current school gong to put in place for yr 6 and have they truly stamped on the bullying?

mummytime Fri 29-May-15 16:08:55

I would look at State, find a good one. Ask to speak to SENCO. If she is in year 5, look around secondaries (as well if you are going to try to move for year 6, but you will probably have to lose at least a terms fees).
What recommendations did the Ed Psych make?

I have been in classrooms with 12 which have been noisier than ones with 30+. A state school teacher will have to cope with SEN in the classroom,many may well have more resources to call on eg. tAs, LA support.

You present school though may be more about the money, so want you hanging on in case she achieves the standard for the senior school. They don't sound totally honest with you.

TeenAndTween Fri 29-May-15 17:10:32

If they won't make reasonable adjustments, then move her.

Once DD1's dyspraxia was finally known her local comp looked at various things for her
- what colour background paper she needed
- print outs for her to annotate rather than taking whole notes
- explaining things more clearly
- some 1-1 to help explain some ideas she had missed on understanding
etc.
- dropping a GCSE to allow more time on others because everything takes longer

Holidaymonster Fri 29-May-15 17:43:36

In my experience state schools are generally better with sen. You could ask to see resources they currently use with pupils with the same needs to try to get an insight into how much they already have in place? The worry is that they are just talking the talk- especially in private where they want your business. Also, see if the state school is on ofsteds parentview - not all schools are (depends if they had recent inspection inthink) but if they are you can get some really useful info.

Calmonthesurfacebut Fri 29-May-15 18:15:51

Thanks everyone, helpful advice, especially applying for the state secondary, so not doing a late entry - I hadn't thought of that!

Entrance exam is in February, they have covered the whole of the curriculum up to end of Yr 6 and now are doing revision and consolidation. I believe they spend most of the first few months of Yr 6 practicing exam technique and for the entrance exam.

They have done a round of exams just before half term and I am going in to speak to her teacher and go through them with her, so will have a better idea of where any problems may lie. I don't feel the school have been totally honest either, they certainly didn't bring up the maths deficit, we spotted it from her % dropping. The class teacher is very supportive and I am hoping that she may 'give away' a little more in an informal meeting about what she feels is the right solution for DD.

I take your point about the other independent, but they work on a middle school basis and start GCSE's a year early, which would help her, so do 3 years to do them. They are known for their SEN provision on a rolling basis, taking children in and out a supportive environment.

The state junior I am thinking of is excellent, in fact I did my TA training there several years ago (I don't work as a TA though just did my Level 2). They do have extra support in place, the catchment is good.

EP suggested clear worksheets (we still get poor copies coming home, which I re type and complain about!)
Extra time in exams - although they didn't do this for the exams she recently had and I will be bringing this up at the meeting.
Pre knowledge of subject matter in maths, the class teacher does this and I look on Khan, or in her maths book at home to just 'go through' some basics before she sees them in class.
Clear short explanations - not sure she always has this or checking understanding
Being able to move after 20 mins (uses a timer), walk out the class come back in and do another 20 mins.
Being able to work outside the class at a table, if noisy environment - very often she and another girl will go out, this other girl has dyslexia and shares coloured gels with DD!

Basically, they pay it lip service and do some of the things well, but because she is so bright and switched on, I am sure they forget.

I gave her a Sat paper 2012 recently and she managed a high Level 3, but that was at home in a relaxed situation. she does Doodle Maths and has an age of 11, EP put her a few months ago at 8.5 for maths, 13.2 reading/comprehension.

Bullying still under the surface, two children were bullied by the same girls, we didn't know about the other girl until a chance conversation at a party! They had a big meeting with the head at Christmas, as we did too, so it isn't just direct at DD, they do have a problem.

However, it doesn't seem to have as much impact on DD as it did before, but the girls involved are absolutely horrid, spoilt, privileged and devious, the worst sort of private school kids. Awful thing to say about 10 year olds (going on 16!). To put it in perspective, they are only three in a class of 20 lovely kids, but very powerful, the teacher has said, she hasn't known a class like it for years and I felt in our meeting, she was asking the head indirectly, for help. I think the parents were contacted, but not certain and they offered to move dd to the other class (I refused). If it gets bad again, I will be all guns blazing!

canny1234 Fri 29-May-15 19:50:19

My Ds is in year 6 of a state school and has just been diagnosed as Dyslexic.His state juniors has very few resources to help children unless they have severe learning difficulties.His Dyslexia has been completely missed.The Senco has no time to give children extra help but is more of an administrator and in fact completely missed his dyslexia on an initial test.So the situation really isn't very rosy in the junior schools.
I believe the special needs department of the secondary school is very busy.But I have no experience of this department.I am not sending my D's there as the class sizes are so large and I believe he will be completely lost.I am sending him to a local prep school as he will probably be a mixture of 4 and 5 in his SATs and will therefore not qualify for intervention ( mainly because of external tuition).Do be aware that State schools are absolutely brilliant on Public Relations too and will look wonderful on their open days.The reality is often very different.
I think it would be very difficult to move your daughter for the last year of primary school.I would suggest looking arround a mixture of other schools - state and private to get an idea of what you and your dd are looking for.It really doesn't surprise me that the school has said your daughter will pass next year.My eldest is in a school where everyone seems to pass a ' selective' exam.The school still does very well in the league tables though and there is a special needs department too.So suss out what help there would be if you stay.Do persevere with the further asessments for this alternative school as well.

mummytime Fri 29-May-15 21:00:31

The best SENCOs will not necessarily be doing much day to day SEN teaching themselves, but will know about SEN, and will have resources to help those who need it. My DC with SEN have all done much better at secondary than primary, but then again I didn't tutor them to get excessively good results at SATs. They wouldn't have done as well at local Preps, which aren't set up for children with SEN. Although they may have done well at local private schools which specialise in SEN provision.

But with any school you do have to ask questions, and to ask for examples of the provision they actually give now.
If you have experience, or know people who do that can be invaluable. For example, the reason I don't like one local school is from experience of having worked there, another which is not that highly rated I think is brilliant, and have considered moving a child there.
I also know that a local high achieving private school relies a lot on trainee teacher.

canny1234 Sat 30-May-15 00:08:28

Mummytime I didn't tutor ds1 to do well in SATs.He had a problem with Maths when he was very young and I didn't want him to fall behind.I honestly couldn't give a toss how any of mine do in SATs apart from the fact his twin is quite likely to get a level 6.

The Senco in my children's school didn't even pick up that ds1 was dyslexic even though she tested him specifically.I was lulled into a false sense of security that he was fine.Testing requires a lot of experience that many Senco's don't have.Ds1's asessor said he was very difficult to assess - she initially thought he had working memory issues until we did further tests.

In contrast to your experience D's 1 was not thought to be Dyslexic until the local prep school informed me he was way behind in English ( this was news to me as his state school teacher had not agreed with this) and that he had very obvious anomalies.Imagine my surprise upon testing when he was found to have 85% of the average writing speed.

Mummytime I'm really not disparaging you but why state a local high-achieving private school relies a lot on trainee teachers?Surely if it's high achieving its obviously doing the right things?Does it matter whether its relying on trainees?My children's favourite teachers have been trainees or newly qualified teachers full of enthusiasm.

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