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Bethany, Battle Abbey, Heathfield or Uplands?

(18 Posts)
sussexmama33 Tue 24-Sep-19 11:54:20


Really looking for some advice on secondary schools. DS is at small independent primary as state were not helpful with his dyslexia (we moved him for Y4).
Now looking at secondaries. Our local is Uplands but we might get a place in Heathfield (which I like more but travel will be difficult).

I have also thought about private although to do this all through secondary will be a big stretch. Bethany is brilliant with dyslexic students and caters for them very well. However, the fees are high and I had a couple of other concerns after an open morning. Battle Abbey looks lovely and reading their SEN policy it looks like they would be supportive.

Any one have any thoughts on these schools? My worry about the state schools is the larger class sizes and possible lack of SEN provision. DS is easy going and will just wing it, he won't ask for help if he needs it.

sussexmama33 Tue 24-Sep-19 12:13:42

I also checked out the website for Buckswood but wasn't keen on the olde worlde style (over substance?)

sussexmama33 Tue 24-Sep-19 20:36:30

hopeful bump

summerdown Wed 25-Sep-19 13:26:45

I don't have dc at any of these schools but know some of them quite well. Heathfield is very popular and I her a lot of good things about it, including from parents of DC with dyslexia. I think it was quite full last (this) year though so might it be harder to get in than you think.

Don't know much about Uplands, but hear good things about Battle Abbey too. Have you looked at Claremont?

CendrillonSings Wed 25-Sep-19 13:30:52

Before I checked the section heading, I assumed this was a name thread!

Battle Abbey for the win! smile

sussexmama33 Wed 25-Sep-19 18:07:49

@summerdown thanks for your reply. I think Heathfield has been improving steadily and there are loads of extra curricular things compared to Uplands. Uplands is our catchment school but we are quite near heathfield so although trickier it might be an option.

I thought Claremont was more academic so didn't really look at it. Also, the senior school in Bodiam starts at 13 and his current school finishes at year 6 so this would also be difficult.

@CendrillonSings grin

summerdown Wed 25-Sep-19 18:39:35

Claremont really isn't very academic it's small and is strong on pastoral / SEN. Lots of dc start at the prep in year 7. It's definitely worth looking at.

sussexmama33 Wed 25-Sep-19 18:48:03

@summerdown thanks for this, I will have another look smile

Ohwiseone Wed 25-Sep-19 23:35:34

Hi, my son went all the way through Claremont. It is a very caring school and although we never used the SEN dept it is very strong in the senior years. Frewen College based in Northiam is an independent school for dyslexic students.
However if you are going to struggle paying for school fees (Battle Abbey, Claremont etc will charge extra on top of termly fees for help) then I would definitely say that Heathfield is the school to go for or even Claverham in Battle. Does your ds have an ehcp?

sussexmama33 Thu 26-Sep-19 20:25:47

@ohwiseone - thanks for your reply. No he doesn't have an ehcp. I thought these were for more severe difficulties? His dyslexia would probably be pegged as mild-moderate. He does have an ICP (and did at primary state also). I had a peek at frenwen but not sure if his needs warrants this school (also fees are massive!) I think he would be good at a school with really strong SEN department. I went to Heathfield and they do seem strong on SEN all through the school.

Interesting to hear more good things about Claremont. Do you know if many join in Y7 and then move on to the senior school from there? The prep would be quite far from us and it would need chopping and changing as current school only goes to Y6.

CatkinToadflax Fri 27-Sep-19 19:22:43

Claremont’s SEN provision is superb but the pastoral care there is pretty poor, at least in the older years in the Prep dept (up to age 13). Hopefully the pastoral care may improve under the new headteacher. It isn’t a scarily academic school. A lot of new pupils do join in Y7 to then go up to the senior school for Y9.

Battle Abbey is fab. It’s SEN dept is smaller than Claremont’s but is also good.

A friend as a son at Bethany. He isn’t dyslexic but needs a lot of SEN/pastoral support for other reasons. He is absolutely thriving there.

sussexmama33 Sat 28-Sep-19 13:15:11

@CatkinToadflax thanks very much for your reply. I will look again at Claremont. I'm still a little worried about joining prep for 2 years only and the distance from prep to our house (we are nearer the senior school).

My option is to give the state options a try and if it works out, great. If it doesn't change for Y9.

I was impressed by Heathfield, the facilities for DT etc were (as you would expect) below that of the private schools but the kids and teachers were impressive. I spoke to class teachers about SEN provision and they were all knowledgeable about what was available and what their role is. We are out of catchment for Heathfield though. Off to Uplands next week which has just started on new buildings so that's a positive. Uplands is our catchment school so assume we would get a place there but no guarantees I guess.

Ohwiseone Sat 28-Sep-19 17:35:47

Hi @sussexmama33 quite a few joined in year 7 for my sons year from local state primaries and a few left to join state secondaries. The 2 top years at the prep is lovely. They’re top of the school and help the younger ones, buddies, prefects etc etc.
I found the Pastoral care at the senior school to be fantastic. Every member of staff knew my son and we never had any issues.
My son is in his 3rd of studying medicine thanks to all the help of Claremont especially the help of the now head , Mr Dickie and head of sixth form Mr Eckhoff.
I only asked if you had a ehcp as that allows you more choice over senior school choice.
Heathfield sen dept is good. Any good school should offer differentiated work to ensure your son succeeds at school. Private school help can be very expensive on top of normal fees. My friends daughter is in year 11 at Heathfield and they are very happy with it.

sussexmama33 Sun 29-Sep-19 12:44:17

thanks @ohwiseone really helpful smile

julz35 Mon 30-Sep-19 07:26:22

Have you thought about Robertsbridge? The SEN department is meant to be very good.

sussexmama33 Mon 30-Sep-19 18:57:26

@julz35 - Robertsbridge is on my list but I know pretty much nothing about it as I don't know anyone who goes there. It's good to know about the SEN department though and I'll head over to the open day in a couple of weeks smile

Ohwiseone Mon 30-Sep-19 22:46:15

Claverham in Battle has an open evening this Thursday. Their SEN provision is fantastic. They have specialist dyslexia TA and teachers on their staff. The English dept are brilliant too and head of English Mrs Griss will answer any questions you have regarding help. Unsure of time for Thursday but their number is 01424 772155 if you want to enquire.

sussexmama33 Tue 01-Oct-19 12:16:57

Sounds great. I might give them a call. My only problem might be with this one is that even if we love it we will be too far to get a place and East Sussex only allows 3 choices on the application form.

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