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private prep for special needs in London?

(30 Posts)
oxcat1 Sun 14-Feb-16 16:51:19

Posting on behalf of friends who have recently adopted two small boys. The boys are lovely, but both have significant educational delays, particularly the elder of the two (7), although he has not yet had any form of formal assessment. As a result of being so behind his peers at school and his very disturbed early experiences, he is starting to have serious behaviour issues at school, and his school is really struggling to offer sufficient support. It seems in many ways that they would really benefit from the smaller class size and greater flexibility available in the private sector and the parents could afford it. However, the boys are not going to be very appealing to a private prep school, having both educational and behavioural difficulties.

Does anybody know any schools around Putney/Wimbledon/Balham/Streatham etc that might be able to offer these little boys that additional help they really need? Any schools that do not prioritise academic selection, or that you know to be very good at supporting children with difficulties? Thanks

TwistedReach Sun 14-Feb-16 16:56:24

I don't know about private schools in that area. But state schools have to try to help children with special needs in a way that private schools are not obligated to. Obviously, not all state schools do what they should, but they have a duty to try. I think the parents should speak to school sendco and ask for an assessment from the school ed psych, depending on what the difficulties are. They may also benefit from CAMHS support.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 14-Feb-16 17:32:21

Is Farringtons in Chislehurst within reach? They have private mini buses from all sorts of places in SE London. They have a very nurturing environment as well as good SEN support. Fees are at the lower end of the scale too.

Biscetti Sun 14-Feb-16 17:34:51

Finton House in Wandsworth/Tooting Bec may be worth a punt. V. Good rep for SEN.

oxcat1 Sun 14-Feb-16 18:51:25

Thank you. All good suggestions. Their current primary school is not helping as much as perhaps they should, but I think they're somewhat overwhelmed in that class.

Finton House has already been approached and sadly they have absolutely no spaces as they are completely over-subscribed by NT children with no academic difficulties.

I genuinely had no idea that there were so few options - I thought private schools would be keen to 'define' themselves by developing an area of specialism, for example?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 14-Feb-16 19:57:40

I have a friend whose son had similar difficulties she tried small state school, small nurturing private school and in the end home schooled for several years. Her son us now in main stream senior school and doing well. It was the several years of undivided individual attention that turned things around.

Biscetti Sun 14-Feb-16 20:19:17

Newton prep?

Also maybe worth looking at Tooting Primary, Trinith St Mary's, Alderbrook and Rutherford House. All excellent state with very good SEN provision.

Biscetti Sun 14-Feb-16 20:19:53


shoppers Sun 14-Feb-16 20:38:37

Fairley House School, Pimlico is a specialist school for specific learning difficulties. Worth contacting them to see what they think.

Duckdeamon Mon 15-Feb-16 07:42:14

The current school should be helping make the case for more support, through a Education, Health and Care Plan. Your friends will need to battle for services, education help etc, which are more likely to be found in the state sector.

Lots of useful info on the IPSEA website.

jeanne16 Mon 15-Feb-16 08:14:36

Fairley House for primary followed by the Moat School.

AnotherNewt Mon 15-Feb-16 08:24:07

"they are completely over-subscribed by NT children with no academic difficulties"

This is going to be true of all London preps.

I agree with the recommendation for Fairley House (though you need to warn the family that it's fees are higher than a mainstream prep, and whilst the support it offers is excellent for many, it does not cover every additional need).

I don't think Newton Prep would be right at all. Because even though the current head has re-established the learning support unit that the previous one had dismantled, it remains a selective and academically focussed prep.

Needmoresleep Mon 15-Feb-16 10:59:32

Fairley House is expensive. However their normal approach as I understand it, is to provide very intensive help for about two years, and then for a pupil to move on. This costs.

I have met two people whose DC went through Fairley House. Both were picked up as having problems around the age of 7 when they had failed to learn to read. A lot of one to one support, classes set by ability rather than age etc, enabled one to gain coping skills and return to a fairly academic main stream school. It became clear that the second had other problems and he and the parents moved out of London so he could access suitable specialist provision.

I suggest they talk to Fairley House, who will know what alternative provision is out there, if they can't help. They may also have ideas about how to approach the local authority for funding, given that these are children who were previously in the care system and who are failing to cope with mainstream school.

oxcat1 Mon 15-Feb-16 11:08:24

There are some incredibly helpful replies here, thank you so, so much.

I had no idea until this point how deficient the provision in this area would be, even if you have money. It is such a shame that these children, and others like them who have had unimaginably hard starts in life but are now getting a much-deserved second chance, can't get access to these facilities that really could transform things for them. The smaller class sizes, one-to-one support, etc - but available to the children who already have the most advantages anyway? I now know several children who, for various reasons, fall into this sort of category, and so few schools will offer them places.

I will certainly pass on all those suggestions.

Threesocksnohairbrush Mon 15-Feb-16 12:00:25


There is a very friendly adoptions board here, which you/your friend might want to post on (or MN can transfer the post). The SN children's boards are also absolutely great. Not to say you haven't received excellent advice already, because you have - but there are people on those boards who know and/or have lived matters of adoption and SEN inside out, and are usually very generous with their knowledge.

As an adopter of a little one who started to struggle around 6/7, my honest advice would be to stick with the state system and fight for an EHCP, plus look round all the state schools and ask specifically about their understanding of attachment issues and early trauma. Ours is excellent - others, not so good.

Small is valuable, but not if it comes with academic pressure and high expectations of behaviour, and I would anticipate many London preps to be of that nature.

Your friend could also ask assertively for post adoption support from her local authority, which could lead to funded therapy through the Adoption Support Fund. Or if they have the money for prep school fees, may also be worth considering paying for therapeutic support - the Post Adoption Centre or Family Futures are both well regarded and in London, I think.

Finola1step Mon 15-Feb-16 12:05:51

Perhaps they should consider seeing a private Educational Psychologist for a full assessment. They may well need a diagnosis to help them decide which path to take, particularly with the eldest.

jellycat1 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:09:48

Maybe have a chat with the Roche School - Putney/ Wandsworth border.

Eastpoint Mon 15-Feb-16 15:14:14

Is Blossom Hill/House still open in Wimbledon? It used to be a state school for children with learning difficulties, there were about 95 boys & 3 girls.

mary21 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:32:24

The Dominie or Centre Academy might be worth a look. There are/also a couple of schools for pupils on the autistic spectrum will come back with names

mary21 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:45:45

The schools I was thinking of are Snowflake in Earls Court and Rainbow school. Another one is Health in Ottershaw. It really depends what their difficulties/are. Have they seen an educational psychologist. Also worth contacting SOSSEN as they have a list of schools

mary21 Mon 15-Feb-16 16:19:28

Not a special needs school but what about Educare Small School or similar. Kingston might be to far.

Cookingwine Tue 16-Feb-16 06:38:03

I have not read the thread. I would go for an educational plan (previously known as statement) ASAP and stay in the state sector as private schools are notoriously rubbish for SEN.

Crusoe Tue 16-Feb-16 06:42:56

You need somewhere like Beech Lodge in Berkshire but sadly this type of school is pretty unique.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Tue 16-Feb-16 07:04:21

Do they have educational difficulties or are the problems mostly behavioural? If the latter then I'm afraid your friends will find it well-nigh impossible to find a private school to take them, unless it's a specialist school which have fees so eye-wateringly high that they make Eton look like a bargain.

However it depends on how severe the problems are - I know of at least one child with moderate behavioural issues who went to the Roche in Putney after struggling in their local state primary and his parents were pretty happy

Needmoresleep Tue 16-Feb-16 12:29:48

"stay in the state sector as private schools are notoriously rubbish for SEN."

Absolutely not the case in our experience.

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