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Moving DS (Yr 6) struggling in W London Private School(13 Posts)
I really want to take the temperature of this group and get some advice please. Thank you in advance for any help given.
DS is 10 in year 6 at a selective private school in West London. Has no identified SEN but has been in bottom 10% of the year for the last few years and has not been successful anywhere in ISEB pretests (we were warned he was not competitive). School have been inconsistently helpful and needed a LOT of prompting but since all the other kids in the year have had their very successful offers in - there has been almost no homework and whole emphasis at school has changed. The kids with offers can afford to rest on their laurels but our son cannot. He has no school to go to in year 8 and he needs consistent approach to learning between now and then; not only to get a place in another school but also to develop and improve his attitude to learning.
We feel very frustrated with the school and the system and realise the school isn’t entirely to blame.
He really isn’t interested in any aspect of school other than social (very popular, has a great sense of humour and has lots of fun). Not passionate about anything, won’t read for pleasure, not interested in any subjects, not in any sporting teams, not very musical. I have tried to encourage every single extra curricular activity over the years but he just is totally resistant to anything. Bottom sets for everything too. Ed Psych assessments x2 put him in “superior to high superior range” but found no definitive problems. We have tried tutorial groups and one to one tutors and nothing has worked. Same poor attitude towards learning anything even riding a bike (refuses) or us teaching him something about life or arts or culture (puts his fingers in his ears as soon as he thinks it’s a lesson).
I feel he has lost confidence in a very academic environment that hasn’t been right for him. Every effort we have made to correct this hasn’t worked (speaking to the school, encouraging team sports and success in other areas like music and drama).
We feel the school isn’t going to support him moving forward, it hasn’t championed him thus far and it is making us really stressed and unhappy (BUT DS is happy there so he says). We really think we need to move him but we have missed 11+ exams as well as state school applications.
I am happy to travel daily if necessary. I am just worried sick about his attitude to work but maybe this is normal for some boys? Any suggestions?
Thanks for reading so far!
Honestly, I'd have a big chat with him (with him doing most of the talking and you listening and prompting) He's old enough and sounds bright enough to sort this out with you. Find out why he's so jaded about everything. Children who are over-stimulated can get like this. They feel everything in life is competitive or a lesson and they just stop trying. I'd de-schedule him for a term. Let him drop all after school activities for a term and just mill about at weekends. Not because this is the ideal but because it gives him a chance to work out what actually interests him rather than all the things the school or family has encouraged him to do.
Ask him what he wants from his next school - is it important that the school is not pressurised and is very sociable? Would he prefer it to be sporty, arty, musical, geeky? Just boys or a mix?
Have you looked at the (slightly) less academic schools on the outskirts - like Halliford or Radnor House or (bit too far maybe) Claremont?
Are you opposed to stare schools around you? Can you not make a late application to a local stare school? Alternatively, there are non-selective independent secondary schools. Call them to see if there are places. If h enjoys the social aspect of school and doesn't want to move, there is no point in moving him for the sake of 1 year.
I think it's worth looking round some other schools and seeing what you think. It sounds like he might do better in a non selective environment. It's a bit of a risk but I think it might totally change his perception of his abilities.
KS3 has been amazing for us. DD is at state school so it's a different world really, but having science labs and tech workshops, big drama productions etc makes school much more engaging.
I would be a little bit wary of letting him choose a school based on it not being too pressured, because secondary tends to be a bit of a step up in that anyway. There is a risk of him feeling he's been sold a lie when his teachers still set prep and expect it done on time.
Thank you all - only just seen these replies don’t know how to work this site very well. Worried sick about my son. He is sinking and I feel there are no options and doors are closed to him
Aged ten. I don’t know what to do. Explored state but nothing suitable in the area. Increasingly think we will have to leave London for his sake. It’s such a cruel system for those who are uncompetitive.
Take a look at Northbridge House...three separate friends whose children weren't fitting the mould of hyper-competitive west London schools all found their children really flourished there... developing confidence, skills and in one case becoming uber-academic A*A*A at A level... though this is NOT their remit: helping each child find their path is
or potentially King Alfred's ... but that only suits certain types of kids, know two who've flourished one who sank
How far west are we talking here? Are you looking for a school to take him to 13+ (have you registered for any yet)? Looking for a general tutor to give him a gently boot up the bum in the right direction?
Sorry - also what did the Ed psych suggest? Did the school organise this or did you find someone yourself?
I would leave London and put him in the local state school. Taking him out of the competitive hot house environment may allow him to see that being average is very normal and he may flourish.
There are non competitive but good private secondary’s near me in SW London. St james school in Ashford and halliford in shepperton are very good all inclusive schools. The able are stretched and the ‘average’ boy is encouraged to achieve the best for their ability. St james usually has places due to its quirky nature and halliford occasionally have in year places. Both very nurturing as well.