WWYD? Need some clarity on a tricky situation!(6 Posts)
I'll try and keep this succinct!
I have 3 children (DD1, 7, yr 2, dyslexic, ADD, lovely, v bright, super frustrated at school that can't deal with SEN, DS, 4, no known issues, due to start reception in sept, 9 mth baby!)
My dd goes to a wonderful school in terms of community spirit, shit for SEN. A few parents have removed their children. I have only been 'fighting' for extra help for dd for 2 yrs and I'm sick of it already. I know it's a long road so my preferred option is to move her now before ds starts as I know he'll love it there and then it will be so much harder to move them both.
Our options are:
Catholic state primary (great SEN, great 'feel', v sporty (good for ds), but we won't know until 17th April whether there will be a place for my ds. I worry a bit about the catholic side of it, and the transition to Secondary as some will go to the Catholic school in the city, others to grammar, and I imagine only a couple to the state school where we live. It's a bit of a ball-ache to get to before my long commute to work but do-able.
An incredible, amazing, mainstream fee paying co-ed school with a dyslexia specialism. And a working farm. It couldn't be more perfect for my dd and I know my ds would thrive there. Given the substantial sibling discounts we could (by the skin of our teeth) afford to send all three children there. The downside is it's an hours commute for very young children (on a bus whilst I commute in the opposite direction to work). And if childcare vouchers are stopped or child benefit or if our holiday let business goes downhill we won't be able to afford it anymore.
There are 3 prep schools that are no commute at all (1 is next door to dh work so would be ideal as he pretty much works school hours), but although they are non selective I am concerned my dd would be bottom of the class initially (although she is currently anyway). We would only be able to afford to send her and not the other two. The other two would go to the school dd currently goes to, and hopefully if they are 'average' they will be fine, and very happy.
I am going around in circles with what to do. Would I always regret spending our money on 1 child and sacrificing holidays for all three? Should we go with our gut instinct and go with the dyslexic school even though its such a massive commute? We can't move just yet but could possibly in the future.
Thanks so much if you've got this far!!
Coming out the other side of private schooling don't go for the private option in your scenario.
1) the advantages (not just academic) in the independent will potentially build resentment in the children either against you or each other
2) do not underestimate the stress every September, January and April as you have to write out that cheque when you have to count the pennies to ensure that you can cover that term (plus the extras that have appeared on the bill - I've never had a bill with no extras)
3) don't think if things change financially oh well we'll just go back to state, there may not be a space in the school you'd go for and/or your dd is so happy and settled the dread of moving her anywhere feels the household with stress.
DS1 is very bright (recent report gave him and IQ in excess of 140) but he has very has a very significant processing disorder (bottom 3%) over the years he's attended both "outstanding" state school and very well regarded independent schools that don't have a SEN specialism. Frankly they were all shit none ever understood him or made anything effort to understand him and meet his needs he's always under performed. The advantage of the state school is that you're not paying for nothing to be done for them and usually they don't even make promises they then break. Also if the fees are genuinely going to be that much of a struggle I don't think I'd do it as Height said above "don't underestimate" the stress of a large school fee bill three times a year and most schools expect prompt payment. But I must add that I had one in independent ed and one in state ed from yr 9 to 13 there is no resentment between them or towards us.
If your DS gets a place at the Catholic state primary go for that option for both. The commute would be worth it for the SEN provision and that it suits both. If he does n't then keep them in current primary and find your DD the SEN input she needs out of school. Then when you can move or they are old enough for the commute to be an option reconsider the fee paying mainstream school that you like so much. Don't bother with the prep school unless they are known for very strong SEN provision
Thankyou all for your replies, I really appreciate it.
I think you are right sendsummer, regarding the Catholic school. And at least if that's the decision then I can decide that its out of my hands until the 17th April and actually get some sleep
I think I will go to one of the prep open days as it is next door to dh work and it does have a dyslexia unit. I have a feeling that if ds showed any resentment towards his sister that he may well get a scholarship as he's so very sporty. But also, I genuinley can't imagine he would resent her (even at the age of 4) can see her struggles and I don't think it would be a difficult explanation. However, the baby?? Who knows what character she may turn out to be!
Thanks again all!
Oh and just to mention all the schools we were looking at allow monthly direct debit now which was a big plus point!
Good advice. I would second the suggestion to move state with better SEN provision but in our experience you still have to advocate for support. It is worth looking for specialist out of school support - you'll pay, but nothing like the level of cost of even one lot of school fees.
I would avoid a long commute to school for several reasons - your collective sanity, the fact you'll lose precious time in the morning and evening, still have to cope with homework and the fact that many kids (including my DD) with SEN are just exhausted by the demands of the school day. PM me or search the archive and I can tell you about our journey with DD (dx at 8, now 10).
As for the Catholic school - do make sure you are comfortable with the religious ethos of the school. Is it occasional or regular prayers, how many non Catholic kids are there, how is RE taught? (I'm Catholic btw so no agenda as such, just know parents who having got their kids into the local Anglican school were surprised by the fact that RE was taken seriously)
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