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Should I keep my daughter at her private school ??

(153 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 16:29:41

I'm really not sure what to do about my daughters schooling. She is 3.5 and in a nursery linked to a private girls school that goes from 2-18 years. She really enjoys the nursery and we love the school. We had planned for her to stay there for the juniors at least and hopfully she would pass her 11+ and go to the grammer school.
She has a speech disorder and co-ordination difficulties, and we don't know wether she will later have difficulties in reading/ wrighting. The school she is at is very accademic and is in the top 5% in the country for exam results etc. I'm not sure now wether it is going to be the right environment for her. She would benefit from the small classes but is 1 teacher to 15 pupils the same as 1 teacher and 1 assistant to 30 pupils ?
I really want to do the right thing for her but I'm not sure what that is. She absoluitly loves music, so she might do very well in that area.
Would it be fair on her to take her out of the school she loves and put her in to a good state school? She is quite shy in large groups of people.
I know that is she didn't go to the private school then she could have music lessons etc.
What would you do ??

llareggub Thu 31-Jul-08 16:32:18

I know this must be difficult for you, but you do seem to post a similar post fairly frequently. I think you know deep down that you need to move her.

Anna8888 Thu 31-Jul-08 16:32:36

Have you looked at other, less academic, private schools?

I don't think moving school is any kind of problem at this age (no established friendships etc) but you want to get it right for your child. Since you seem to have identified her potential weaknesses, surely you can go looking for a school that will be good at developing your child as she is.

stealthsquiggle Thu 31-Jul-08 16:36:10

Are the school adademically selective at the transition from nursery to pre-prep? If so, you may not have a choice sad

Otherwise:

pros:
- small classes and smaller school are definitely a plus
- not having to deal with a change will be easier for her

cons:

- if she does prove to need extra help with co-ordination, speech therapy, etc, then you may find it harder to get that help (which you are entitled to) on the NHS if she is in a private school
- cost - what seems OK at reception may be v.v. expensive by the time she gets to 10!
- academic snobbery - but you don't yet know that she will struggle, so I wouldn't put too much weight on that one.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 16:38:11

Yes you're right, it's just that everything is so uncertain. She might end up being fine accademically and could've missed the oppertunity to stay at the school or she might really struggle and have to be removed at 6 or 7. This would probubly be a lot harder for her.
I feel that time is running out a bit now and I'm still undecided.

LIZS Thu 31-Jul-08 16:40:25

If the choice is between keeping her there and possibly having to scrimp to fund the extras, uniform and even SALT/Learning support and moving to state where you can afford the music, extra help if needs be and potentially have access to free help more easily then the decision is much easier. If her issues are ongoing she may be better off in a less competitive, environment, perhaps with a specialist unit(I seem to recall you mention one local to you).

If she turns out to be good at music then she may be able to re-enter the private school later on with a bursary or scholarship even if appropriate but you really cannot tell at 3 ! She will cope if you move sooner rather than later and although 30 sounds a lot , the classes often do get broken down into smaller groups. Have you established what the prognosis is yet from SALT and whether she can continue to offer ongoing support on the same basis if needs be.

MadamePlatypus Thu 31-Jul-08 16:41:29

I think you need to talk to the school about what they can provide for your daughter. 1 teacher to 15 pupils isn't great if your daughter needs specific support which the teacher isn't providing. On the other hand, 1 teacher to 30 pupils plus regular sessions with a Senco may be more appropriate. Have you seen an educational psychologist?

In my area it wouldn't be a good idea to send a child to a private junior school with the idea that they would then go to the local grammar school as the local grammar schools are so competitive - the more likely alternatives would be a private day school or a comprehensive, but it may be different in your area.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 16:41:38

The speech therapist has said that she can still see her but not at the school. She would have to go to the clinic for her therapy. She said that she can still contact the school to discuss Lucy.

MadamePlatypus Thu 31-Jul-08 16:44:50

Sorry, re-read your post, maybe ed psych not appropriate for your daughters particular difficulties.

LIZS Thu 31-Jul-08 16:47:17

but would you have to fund it yourself at any point? Once she is 5 (and no longer eligible for the Early Years Grant) it can change and you may find it hard to access , for example, an LEA Educational Psychologist. We are in a similar scenario with ds and OT -communication can be painfully slow and it is stressful trying to link both together tbh. However at least his issues are mild enough not to be a significant barrier to his learning in the same way as your dd's might.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 16:51:52

LIZS- I know you are absoluitly right and it makes total sence, but we've had our hearts set on the school she's at and taking her out would almost feel like giving up on her. I think I'd always wonder what she'd be doing at the other school.

MadamePlatypus- How would I get to speek to an educational psycologist ?

stealthsquiggle Thu 31-Jul-08 16:52:26

If the SALT won't be able to see her at school that would start to ring alarm bells for me.... from (v. limited) experience good SALTs work VERY closely with primary teachers and do stuff with the whole class as well as training teaching staff to carry on where they leave off - you would be missing out on all that and potentially fighting the PCT for funding as well.

Have you looked at the state options? Are they good?

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 16:57:22

LIZS- If we had to pay for any speech therapy or for extra help on top we could never aford it.sad She would have to go without ALL extras wich wouldn't be fair.
I like the bursery idea for when she's older.smile

stealthsquiggle Thu 31-Jul-08 17:00:42

Don't do it then because chances are you will have to either (a) fight tooth and nail with LEA and PCT or (b) pay for all extra help.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 17:03:51

Our local primary school has a special needs unit, but I wouldn't want her to go there. My niece goes to that school and she says that the children from the "unit" are very distruptive.
There is an extreamly good primary school just out of our catchment that would be good but it is very over subscribed. They accept children who have statements that name the school on them.
I don't think I could get a statement that mentions that school because our local one has a special needs unit.

drowninginlaundry Thu 31-Jul-08 17:05:32

Does your DD have a diagnosis, has she been assessed by anyone? I think an appointment with an educational psychologist would be a good idea as an EP would be able to advise regarding a suitable school placement. A SALT who knows the school should be able to help as well.

You have to remember that an independent school does not have to accommodate any special educational needs. Any support your DD needs you will have to arrange yourself, and you have to hope that the school will co-operate. The school can turn around at any point and decide that it is 'no longer appropriate' for your DD and kick her out. Sorry to sound harsh but I have heard this happen, and it happened to us (although my DS has ASD so more needs than your DD). If the school is very academic my guess is that they really don't want to deal with anything beyond mild dyslexia, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

However, while she is in nursery, IF the nursery is in receipt of the Early Years Grant, she is entitled to all the services from the Local Authority AND, more importantly, the nursery is bound by the SEN Code of Practice which sets out how the nursery must assess, monitor and support any special educational needs, however mild or severe. They should have a SENCO and an Early Years support officer. You should go chat to them and about your DDs needs and also to gauge a) how clued up they are about special educational needs and b) how supportive the school is likely to be.

A state school has to provide an education appropriate for your DDs needs, this is their statutory obligation. Independent schools have no such obligation. In a state school your DD can access all the available support, and in our experience it makes such a difference dealing with teaching staff who both understand SEN and the support network and want to support pupils with SEN.

drowninginlaundry Thu 31-Jul-08 17:06:38

You mention statements, is she on Early Years Action or EYA+?

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Thu 31-Jul-08 17:08:11

I wouldn't worry about the SALT input not being at school. In reality SALT provide bugger all input at school (although they're meant to) other than to tell teachers what to do - which some choose to ignore anyway. You might even do better with 1:1 clinic time.

Have you applied for a statement? You won't get one if you're currently in the private sector without applying yourself. You may well not get one anyway (they're not that easy to get for speech and language difficulties).

Every state school accepts statemented children. They have no choice.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 17:11:48

drowninginlaundry- I've never heard of this, what is it? I know the teachers attend regula SEN training.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 17:15:27

Jimjams - But with a statement can you chose the state school you would like?
The school we would like says that if th school's name is on the statement then they will automatically get a place.

LIZS Thu 31-Jul-08 17:17:50

mll , listen to Jimjams as I think she is even in similar region to you so probably has more localised insight in to how the system might work.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 17:21:03

Jimjams- have you heard of Oldway primary school?

MadamePlatypus Thu 31-Jul-08 17:22:03

"MadamePlatypus- How would I get to speek to an educational psycologist ?"

I would get advice from your school (going by what drowninginlaundry says they should have somebody responsible for SEN) , or your Health Visitor, GP or SALT.

mummyloveslucy Thu 31-Jul-08 17:23:47

Thank you. smile

MadamePlatypus Thu 31-Jul-08 17:25:13

Re: nurseries, I know that DS's first nursery, a big day care provider had a 'SENCO' and Early Years Support Officer. The nursery he just left was much smaller (only 24 children and 3 staff), but I get the impression that they still had to tick all the boxes even though they didn't identify a particular member of staff as a SENCO. Both got the Early years grant.

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