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Parents of bright dyslexic children...

(35 Posts)
swedishmum Mon 16-Jul-07 21:01:22

.. please let me know how your child is doing at school. I have some big concerns about the move to secondary. Would also love to know how private schools approach teaching dyslexic children. Obviously not looking to start a fight...

nooka Mon 16-Jul-07 21:11:00

I have a bright dyslexic child aged eight, he's doing OKish at school, but should in my opinion be doing much better. He's just about to start some synthetic phonetics tutoring to see if we can help him along with his decoding, as school seem to think that as he is bright he will just catch up... All the other dyslexic members of my family ended up at private secondary schools with some specialism in dyslexia and are doing or have done well.

swedishmum Wed 18-Jul-07 23:47:15

Thanks Nooka - any more responses? Please? Am feeling political now.

DangerousBeans Wed 18-Jul-07 23:52:06

Looked into private schools for secondary, but none of them could provide what we were looking for.
Unless we could afford £25K a year to send them to a specialist dyslexic school.
And we can't.
And the people we know who do get places there are being funded by the LEA because their parents sued them.

geordiegirl2 Sun 22-Jul-07 17:47:42

What provision has there been for your son so far?

You need to ask around your local schools and go and meet the SENCOs as part of your Year 6 visits.

Unless you are VERY lucky, the schools will offer next to nothing.

Private schools differ- some have well qualified dyslexia specialists who teach children on a withdrawal basis, others employ private tutors (you'll pay extra for that), and some do not a lot.

My son is dyslexic and we paid for private tutoring, as neither his primary nor secondary school provided enough/anything.

I work as a teacher and educational advisor to parents of dyslexics and my pupils are not catered for enough/at all in schools- including those at private and state schools.

cat64 Sun 22-Jul-07 18:28:11

Message withdrawn

geordiegirl2 Sun 22-Jul-07 18:48:11

I've never heard of that before lol! If only all my pupils parents' knew! Can't see how they can stand a chance, as it would open all the flood gates.

No- I meant ordinary private schools. There are not many specialist private schools for dyslexics- the full list can be found in the BDA handbook and schools are graded according to what they offer- either withdrawal for teaching by specialist teachers, or a whole-school approach. Ther is one such school near where I live, with very small classes, but they only take children for 2 years of intensive teaching, then want them to go back to mainstream schools.

geordiegirl2 Sun 22-Jul-07 18:50:41

cat64- sorry- having re-read your post, I can see that you weren't replying to my post- sorry.

cat64 Sun 22-Jul-07 21:01:56

Message withdrawn

swedishmum Mon 23-Jul-07 01:12:21

Thanks for all the responses. There are 2 specialist dyslexia schools within strking distance from us - Frewen College near Rye and one at Ramsgate. There are also a couple of Crested schools. Do you have experience of how children do at specialist dyslexia schools?
My main gripe is that through his own hard work (and ours) ds allegedly has full access to the curriculum so doesn't get any funding or help. It's so unfair. One school has support, but only for statemented children. I'm a qualified dyslexia teacher (I go in to ds's school to teach him and a few others on a voluntary basis) but have no worries about his primary, apart from funding. I'm going in to talk to the SENCO about referral to the cluster group and poor old ds will have to be re-tested. It's reassuring to know of people taking LEA to court - ds is v bright but performs at low average level in Literacy. My view is that he is underachieving significantly. LEA sees no problem as he can access curriculum. Think I'm a bout to get political. Will report back...

geordiegirl2 Mon 23-Jul-07 07:38:12

What do you mean by the "cluster group"?
Specialist schools vary- oe Mum whose daughter I teach refused to send her to a nearby specialist schoolas she thought it would be damaging for her daughter psychologically, as the children were profoundly dyslexic.

I can only say that if you don't make progress,don't despair. If you are able to afford an hour's tutoring a week after school it may be all he needs to help. I know that parents should not have to resort to this, but it happens all the time.
My son is now about to embark on a masters degree- he is very bright too as shown by his ed. assessment! So don't worry too much.

geordiegirl2 Mon 23-Jul-07 12:14:01

I just wanted to add one or two comments-
if you child is achieving an average level- albeit not one that he should be for his intelligence- you will have a fight on your hands! This is exactly how things were with my son, many years back. He was achieving at a low average level, but according to his assessment, should have been achieving at least 2 years above the average. His school gave him limited help with a special needs teacher for two terms, until he was absolutely "average". After that we had to pay for tuition out of school. Unfortunately, the argument they will use is that other children are "worse" - but will not take into account "other children's" underlying ability. In other words, they think it is accpetable for a bright child to be a low average, than an average child be a low average, or a low ability child be below average!
You may also find that any assessment is not taken seriously. We paid the usual £300+ only to be told that they "didn't have to accept" a private assessment- and based their solution on their own assessments which needless to say were far from in-depth.
I don't want to sound pessimistic, but having been involved with families going through this for over ten years now there seems to be little hope of getting help within the system for dyslexics.

cat64 Mon 23-Jul-07 14:45:13

Message withdrawn

geordiegirl2 Mon 23-Jul-07 15:05:51

cat64 - absolutely agree- not with the outcome, but with what you have found. In this county it used to be 2 years behind, but I have taught children who were 2, 3 and even 4 years behind and they still did not get any help apart from some small group tuition from TAs (no offence TAs)or a senco. Many schools are now trying to be "inclusive" and "dyslexia friendly" which is good as it benefits all children, but some children do still need extra 1:1 support. In our county, teachers from the dyslexia bases will come in to advise class teachers,help with IEPs and sometimes give an hour a week tuition to a child- but there aren't enough teachers to do this (well,there are teachers, but the money is not spent on employing them!), so even the ost dyslexic children get only 2 terms then they are "dumped" again.

I know it isn't right, but unless you can really hope to change the system, it is better to spend your energy trying to help your child in a practical way - with extra tutoring or whatever. Or, as some parents do,choose small independent school with small classes.

swedishmum Mon 23-Jul-07 19:24:43

It's all pretty depressing. The cluster group referral is where children causing concern are discussed with advisory teacher and Sencos from other schools apparently. The first I heard about it was when I phoned the LEA. I imagine everything goes pretty slowly in our area. My gripe (apparently not uncommon) is that unless he is statemented he will not get access to a school appropriate for his ability, and as he's coping due to very hard work on his part, he will be "not bad enough" to get help at secondary school. I'll be looking at private schools, though with 4 dcs it's not ideal, but I shouldn't have to pay to get a decent education for my gorgeous boy.

Judy1234 Mon 23-Jul-07 19:52:51

Our oldest is slightly dyslexic. She went to Haberdashers when she was 4 and stayed there to 18. The juniors was hard as she was clever but it took her a while to leaern to read and spell but the school was very good. The head of juniors even gave her extra spelling help one to one. Then in the seniors when spelling etc doesn't really matter so much she did fine.

But she was in this category - clever and not so bad that any school would particularly have thought she needed a load of help. Even now at 22 she has to be very careful to spell check.

She would not have been better in a special dyslexia private school by the way like the one Ruth Kelly's son has gone to as she wasn't bad enough to need that and we were always on the borderline of wondering whether it was even worth saying she had dyslexia although she clearly does, but only mildly.

swedishmum Tue 24-Jul-07 13:18:22

I'm going to see the Senco - thanks for the comments. My gut feeling is that a specialist school isn't right for ds. He has achieved well at school this year by being put in the top group for many things. As a trained dyslexia teacher myself, I'm interested to see what the LEA suggestions are.

DarthVader Wed 26-Mar-08 18:46:08

Swedishmum, I just dug up this thread from the archives as my dd is dyslexic - how are things going with your ds now?

fizzbuzz Wed 26-Mar-08 19:25:56

My ds is like this, he is 14. Was assessed when he was 7, very very clever, but dyslexic.

He goes to the school I teach at hmm. He gets support from SEN with spelling twice a week........but doesn't seem to go on any GT trips, although I have insisted he goes on the GT list. I think it is quite an unusual condition so very hard to know how to deal with. I also asked that his pen portrait included how intelligent he is.

One thing to be aware of: At start of Y7, pupils often sit CAT exams. I was furious with these, as he wasn't allowed extra time, although he was in his KS2 SATS. They gave completely incorrect and skewed results which showed his best subject to be Textile Technology............he is a level 7 in Maths, but not much good at textileshmm, and staff read and use the results of these tests

I have found that he is achieving above average in most subjects, BUT is hampered by his literacy problems, English is probably his least successful subject although he enjoys it, but anything with extended writing can be problematical.

You really need to push the school. The CATS I mentioned are meant to identify G&T, but didn't in my case. However you can insist he goes on the GT list as long as you have other evidence, eg aa assessment.

I would say, that his intelligence enables him to perform above average, but his ability is masked by his dyslexia and vice versa. I think 2% of population are like this. I do feel even though I work at his school, that he is a bit of an oddity, and no one really knows what to do with him....

PUSH,PUSH,PUSH, and raise conerns about early Y7 tests NOW!!!


swedishmum Wed 26-Mar-08 21:06:59

We're in a selective schools area - he missed out on 11 plus by 1 point (maths) though was fine on VR and NVR without extra time for any. I'm appealing. Turned down the place at the school (not on my list) he was offered so nowhere to go yet, though he did do entrance exam to a local private school. The place he was offered has less than 10% of boys achieving A* - C at GCSE English and has just had a damning Ofsted (4s for teaching, behaviour etc) as well as a well reported pepper spray incident. It's a community school for a local estate with lots of deprived kids. I'm not moaning about that bit - I've taught in plenty of schools like that - just know it would be wrong for ds. He's working at 4B for Lit (writing and reading) and 5 for science and maths so won't get support somewhere with over 40% SEN intake.
Thanks for the interest - we're on wait and see time while I'm working with him to produce a writing portfolio and improving touch typing with TTRS - uses words like buoyant and capricious happily even if he spells them wrong! I love him to bits.
Would even consider taking LEA to court over failure to provide a suitable place. Will keep you informed.

DarthVader Thu 27-Mar-08 08:42:51

OMG that school sounds all wrong - and how can any school achieve 10% A to C grades? What kind of support helped ds in primary, and is there anything he is being offered for secondary?

I am crossing my fingers for you to find a good solution re schools.

fizzbuzz Thu 27-Mar-08 12:34:37

But I think you have a case. If he is proven GT why is he being forced to go to a secondary modern, 11+ or no 11+

He needs to be somewhere that will stretch him, not pull hi down. If he filed 11+ due to dyslexia, then I think you have a discriminatin case on your hand.

Sending a GT kid to a secondary modern is mindless. I did TP in a boys secondary modern in Trafford.....not the place for a GT kid

cornsilk Thu 27-Mar-08 12:48:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fizzbuzz Thu 27-Mar-08 12:52:49

No, alas, don't live anywhere near there anymore, that was 13 years ago....

It really pisses me off that Dyslexic GT kids are just left as they coping OK. They shoud be helped to reach their potential, not ignored becasue they are holding their own in the classroom.

Evry child matters and all that stuff.........

swedishmum Fri 28-Mar-08 10:54:00

I totally agree Fizzbuzz - it's so frustrating. At one other local school SENCO suggested best scenario for ds would be to be in the bottom set for English then if a TA for anyone else had a bit of spare time! A bottom set at a rough sec mod sounds just great to me.

There's a dyslexia unit at a local comp but only has facilities for statemented children - I know parents of dyslexic kids there fight for support for their children but it's just not available. Grrrr.

I got a couple of quotes about DDA in my letter of appeal (in a totally non-confrontational way of course!) and know of a few dyslexic boys at the grammar school doing very well. Deputy Head I spoke to said it was a need they were used to dealing with. Fingers are well and truly crossed at our house! I like the local private school but don't like the idea of shelling out £12k plus each year when the govt should provide good educaton for him. Also have 3 other kids and holidays etc would sufer for everyone.

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