Secondary school choices for bright dyslexic (sort-of statement-related)..
VERY long - sorry
DS (9) is Dyslexic and quite bright - high IQ (top 5% of population) and great in everything except processing speed, which is very poor indeed (bottom 1% of population). He also has sensory processing disorder. We've had a private assessment from a very highly respected Ed Psych who works with the LA in her area (London), and we are implementing all the recommendations, with the support of DS's private school.
BUT. Because he is in private at primary level we have not had to go down the statementing route to get to where we are. However, there are some Ed Psych recommendations that will be relevant to us....particularly with regard to having extra time to complete exams, and with regard to secondary school choices.
We are in a very divisive school area - there are a couple of really good grammar schools, and the SEN support at two of the state schools we are looking at is very good indeed. However we are concerned about a couple of the other schools in the area because of my son's SPD quirkiness.
So, I have no idea what (if anything) I can do next to ensure we get our son into an apporpriate secondary school....
1) Do I have a hope in hell of getting a statement from the LEA? Unlikley I think as he has no needs not being met already at the moment...
2) If I don't get a statement, can I still get support for my son for the 11+ process (ie extra time and/or permission to touchtype rather than processing by hand)?
3) Is it possible to get a statement that looks forward to secondary school? If so, what timescales are covered? the Kent test is sat at the start of yr6, with school allocation happening quite quickly thereafter, so I presume that I may need something by the end of yr5?.
4) The school websites state that statemented SEN children get priority when the school is oversubscribed, but can you get a school to give priority to a child on the basis of just an Ed Psych report, or does a full statement need to be in place? If you can get an allowance made, how do you go about it? Would it be 'normal' to discuss something like this with the secondary schools now?
5) If my son passed the 11+ (probably will) but missed the high academic cut-off for the two schools (again quite likely - multiple choice is his nemesis) would an appeal usually take this into account without a statement being in place?
As you can tell, what I really need is 'statementing for dummies'.... any guidance much appreciated.
Apologies by the way if this comes across as entitled and offensive. I'm very aware that I am extremely lucky to have private options open at all, but I don't really have a clue where to start with all of this.
I'm hoping your 9 year old is year 4 as otherwise you are up against the clock.
Normally statemented children are "banded" and a secondary selected in principle during Year 5 so that transition to the new environment can be properly planned by the incoming school, as it can take a while to get stuff set up for them.
I think you need to take a 2 pronged approach:-
1. Statement? Take a look at the IPSEA website for details of how to apply - their advice is superb and they even provide model letters.
In my neck of the woods only 1.5% of ALL children get a statement & that figure includes some very, very disabled children. Nationally it's only 2%. To get a statement for dyslexia alone is very, very rare & generally only on the orders of Tribunal. I don't want you to get your hopes up for something that may not happen.
2. General Application round That said - a formal diagnosis of dyslexia normally means that exam boards etc allow for reasonable adjustments to be made so that children are not unfairly disadvantaged. An Ed pysch normally decides what these "reasonable adjustments" should be. Contact the administrators of the Kent test and ask them what is available to enable your child to sit the exam and what "proof" evidence etc you'll need.
Kent will have a formal process in place to help children like yours sit the test. After all lots of state educated children from outside the authority sit the test as well as privately educated ones. I suspect you will be asked to supply a copy of the ed pysch report well in advance of the exam date.
Had written a long reply, but it deleted itself before I could post.
Briefly, my DS in a similar position, dyspraxia, dyslexia, SPD etc.
We have grammars too, they do not give extra time for the test.
Make sure you check out their results and what % of SN/SEN and statemented children they take. Last year, 2 boys grammars took in 1 statemented child and all have lower than expected % SN/SEN
The LEA inclusion manager told me at 1 of the other schools that she could not remember a case where a child with the above dx was statemented for secondary in the average to higher academic ability range.
If you go for a statement, prepare to fight. Remember it's about what is needed above and beyond what a school is prepared to provide in order to access education in a similar way to a child without the dx.
Have you also looked at specialist dyslexia secondary schools?
At our private school we do give extra time for the entrance tests. I would speak to the sencos of all the schools you are considering and then evaluate from their response. Extra time for gcse is not guaranteed with a diagnosis but thats a long way off yet. He will need to be somewhere where sen needs are taen seriously. Some private schools can't be arsed, others are good but it goes on the quality of the senco. I've had some very good and nice feedback from private ed psychs and consultant psychologists who have been complimentary about my knowledge base. It seems that this is not the norm in many private schools so do take care. The grammars may be very exam factoryish. Do take care. Your son may be bright but he might need to feel valued and want to be able to take his time rather than the fast pace that will be the norm there. These tpyes of schools have a competitive ethos and this can damage self esteem as the pupils all measure themselves against each other.
We shall move this to our SEN topic
Thanks and good luck OP
Thanks so much for your comments.
Yes, DS is in yr 4. We will speak to the LEA about preparing for the Kent test and evidence they will need. I will also check out IPSEA - that website looks like it has loads of useful stuff.
I do worry about the academic balance and self-esteem for someone with SEN. Saying that, the grammars in Kent take in the top 23% so I imagine the superselectives therefore take in probably the top 10-15%. Given that, I am imagining that DS (in top 5%) will hover somewhere in the top two quartiles even at a superselective grammar (assuming we get his touchtyping to be absolutely fluent in the near future). By the time we get to secondary we'll have been hard at work for 3 years with optometrists & occ. therapists, etc (in addition to the AEN support he's already had for past 3 years at school), so I am hopeful that he'll be pretty prepared by yr7.... <crosses fingers>
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