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Moving school in year 6? Your experiences/opinions please!

(12 Posts)
cakedup Tue 21-Jul-15 22:40:43

DS is currently in year 5, about to go into year 6 in September.

He has been going to his current school since nursery. He has SEN (profoundly dyslexic) and I've worked with the school to ensure he gets the support he needs. For his whole life we lived a 3 minute walk from the school.

DS and I were re-housed a month ago, and it now takes us two buses and one hour to get to school. (Unfortunately I don't drive and tube is slightly quicker but too expensive). So I am currently doing a four hour school run, although the plan was to get a job (I've just graduated) nearer his school so I won't have to come all the way back home.

The head teacher took me aside the other day, "concerned" for his welfare, and suggested that he might be better off changing schools so that the transition to secondary school will be easier. As this is the first time, since he was 3, that she has ever enquired about his welfare, I can't help but think that she has other motives. The school's status is outstanding and she works very hard to keep it that way. What with year 6 being an important year, I don't think she particularly wants DS there (who is 3 years behind in literacy) messing up her stats and costing the school money for all the support he will need.

DS is struggling with the long journey, is very tired and hates the earlier mornings since he is a bad sleeper.

I have visited a school nearer to home, whose SENCO is a dyslexia specialist which sounds promising. She was confident with her approach, although admitted that the school may not have access to resources to the level of his current school.

Do I move him to a local school? Will this make secondary school easier as he presumably will have friends going with him? Is an hours journey to school too long? Will it be very daunting and/or disruptive for him?
Or should we see the next year out in his present school and make a fresh start in secondary?

What would you do, or what have you done and what was the result?!

MrsBigD Wed 22-Jul-15 05:41:22

Hi cakedup, I moved my DD to a new school in Year 6 as we had to move. She coped fine, though we went from a totally oversubscribed school with nearly 800 kids and no greenery to a school of 300 kids and lots of green spaces which probably helped as well. Academically she didn't have any changes as far as I can tell. Socially there were some hicups but I think those were rather down to 12 year old girls shanannigans and henpecking...

Given though that your DS is struggling with the long commute I think you need to weigh up the more sleep/shorter travel against the maybe not so good resources. I personally would opt for new school, but naturally you know your DS best smile

Best of luck whatever you decide smile

TeenAndTween Wed 22-Jul-15 10:58:45

Personally, I think a one hour commute to school is far too long at age 10/11. I would be loathe to do it as an adult. (However, I don't live in big city and my 2 have a 10 minute and 15 minute walk).

If he is tired and hates the early mornings, it is probably affecting him in school, so personally I suspect the HT is probably being genuine in her concern. I may be naive but she has done right by you son for so long, I think it is unlikely she's trying to get him to leave now just because of y6.

I would change schools, let him make friends in new area who he can go up to secondary with.

LIZS Wed 22-Jul-15 11:03:07

The journey sounds stressful and fatigue will impact on the effectiveness of any intervention his current school can offer. A new approach may be beneficial to his education and avoid the tiredness.

OneInEight Wed 22-Jul-15 12:34:02

I am wondering if he is three years behind at the existing school whether the support is as good as you think it is anyway there?

Journey sounds horrible and on the proviso that the new school will make provision for his SEN then I think I would move him. If the new school don't feel they have the resources to help then surely effectively they are saying he needs an EHCP plan and they might help you apply for one and have it in place for secondary.

We did move ds2 for year 6 (different SEN) . It was disastrous but it gave us the evidence we needed to get proper support for him at secondary and it would have probably been even more disastrous for him to have stayed at his previous school so I don't regret attempting it.

HenriettaBarnet Wed 22-Jul-15 12:37:57

I moved my dd in year 6 too as we moved house and city. It was absolutely fine and she made new friends and then moved to secondary with some of those friends.

Only you know your son, but my view is that a local school is best and if you think he won't be too stressed by a move, then I'd move him. Mine were worried about making friends, but managed fine and in the end it boosted their confidence to know they could make friends. The move to secondary school was less daunting too I think.

if I were you I'd look round the local primary schools and see which one you think would be best suited to your ds. arguably the secondary is more important - presumably you'll be sending him to a secondary school in your new area?

cakedup Wed 22-Jul-15 17:30:15

Thanks very much for your responses, I find myself nodding to them.

To be honest, the journey is long and tiring enough now, let alone in the midst of Winter.

I am wondering if he is three years behind at the existing school whether the support is as good as you think it is anyway there? OneInEight
I've always rated the support he has received highly although admittedly I've never had personal experience of another school. Also his main support over the last couple of years have been from a voluntary worker, an SEN teacher doing her MA in dyslexia learning and using DS as her case study, so we've just been lucky and it's not clear whether she'll be around for year 6.

I really had a good feeling about the SENCO of the local school I visited. Whereas the SENCO at his current school (who came to work there a few years ago) I find a bit evasive and uninspiring, as do other parents.

Also OneInEight from what I understand, there is very little chance of getting an EHCP based on dyslexia alone. This is what the EP and SENCO have told me. I have asked the SENCO if we could apply anyway but it's clear he thinks it's a waste of time.

Yes HenriettaBarnet I'll be sending him to a local secondary school, and am already quite keen on the one right opposite to where we live! It's a sports academy which I like the sound of as this would be good for DS who will always struggle academically.

eatyourveg Fri 24-Jul-15 09:45:29

Also from what I understand, there is very little chance of getting an EHCP based on dyslexia alone.

Don't be put off trying. Its all about what the child needs which is above and beyond what the school would normally be expected to provide. Sounds like what the school are putting in place is still not enough to allow your ds to make progress.

cakedup Fri 24-Jul-15 22:19:39

I considered trying to get him an EHCP eatyourveg but the EP told me that the school were giving enough support anyway, and that there would be no need for improvement there. I guess the extra financial support would be good enough reason to try. DS has Irlen Meales (visual stress) and wears tinted lenses which so far have had to be adjusted yearly, costing £200 a time, which I struggle to afford.

The EP has always been pleased with the school's efforts to support DS, even going as far as to say that the level of support far exceeds most other schools.

OneInEight Sat 25-Jul-15 06:02:18

A couple of children at ds2's specialist indie school have dyslexia support as primary need so, yes, some children can get a statement (EHCP) plan just for dyslexia. All depends on severity and how much it affects the childs ability to access the full curriculum and if their social /emotional well-being is affected. Many children with dyslexia can be well supported without a statement but not all. If the gap between him and his peers is closing now his difficulties have been identified and he is receiving support then perhaps they are right and a statement is not needed. If the gap is continuing to widen then I would argue that the support is not adequate and he does.

You also have the problem that if as you currently are thinking of wanting to move school then there is no guarantee that support at that level will be maintained without an EHCP plan.

P.S. It is very common for parents to be told that their child would not get an EHCP / statement. We were told by our HT that it would be unlikely BUT agreement to assess both ds1 and ds2 was agreed at first time of asking. ( -- you will also be told that there are children worse than yours without a statement but the question is whether your child needs additional support not whether other children are getting support -- )

Lovelypompoms Sun 26-Jul-15 13:30:29

Sounds like other motives to me. They don't want to do the work or put in stratergies get your child to the level they want for Sats. If your child is otherwise happy I would leave them for year 6. Invest the time into specialised tutoring for year 6 instead of moving schools. Don't expect ANY school to do the right thing by your child most don't have the time, money and knowledge even if they wanted do what was needed for child. I would concentrate on finding the right secondary and invest in a good tutor specializing in dyslexia. As well as doing lots yourself.

Lovelypompoms Sun 26-Jul-15 13:37:36

Also it's difficult but not unheard off to get EHCPLAN for dyslexia. There are specialised dyslexia schools around the country (normally boarding) many of there students are funded all or partly by local authorities as they have the school 'named' in a statement or health care plan. Expect a fight but it's not unheard off. Get your child seen by independent professionals, Ed Psy, SPLD tutors, dyslexia assets and document everything! Every phone call and every meeting. And every tutoring session.

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