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Looking for Non-Selective London Prep for "not 7+ material" DC, need 5* SEN.

(95 Posts)
Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 17:07:42

Please help! I'm looking for a London Prep school starting in 2016 in Year 3 (ideally north or central London but will consider elsewhere, prefer one which goes up to age 13) BUT my DC has been described as being bright (currently in Y1 at pre prep and in top sets) but cannot perform well in exam conditions due to moderate Autism, moderate to severe ADD and moderate Dyspraxia..... Current school have said that although very bright DC is "not 7+ material" due to recent poor performance in end of year tests where performance was at the national average for age. I'm hoping that in the future exam performance will reflect true ability. Any suggestions for London Preps gratefully recieved!

mamaslatts Mon 06-Jul-15 17:15:40

All the children i know who have been through the private education system and have SEN have been completely failed. Their fees have just been used to subsidise everyone else. State primaries can have excellent SEN staff/facilities/input and you might want to consider sending your DS to state primary. I am not totally anti private ed btw, but many aren't interested in helping those children with SEN.

BrilliantDayForTheRace Mon 06-Jul-15 17:29:21

I agree with PP. very very often state is better (though still not good!) for SEN.

I know 3 families with children with SEN at different private schools. All of them feel their money has been wasted and their children have not done well.

AnotherNewt Mon 06-Jul-15 17:35:36

You might want to consider a slightly different path, and try Fairley House School for a year or two?

It's expensive, but have an excellent reputation. And of course would help in finding the right destination schools.

Kolkata3 Mon 06-Jul-15 18:58:06

If you have a differently abled child private schools are a complete waste of time , money and do lots of damage to your child's self esteem and confidence. Sadly the SENCO at these schools are not prepared unless its a case of dyslexia. You are much better off with an outstanding school. My son had anxiety disorder coupled with dysgraphia but bright child and he got did very well at year 6 SATs scoring level 5 in all his core subjects. State schools are far more systematic and prepared for support. Additionally you can hire a tutor to support your child.

A private school I did consider and infact might send my son to is the The More House School. It a school that teaches kids with mild to moderate learning disabilities who do not fit mainstream schooling.

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 19:21:32

So at DC's current pre prep school there is a weekly social skills group with a few other kids, a weekly private catch up and extension class, class-based interventions and an external Speech & Lang specialist we pay for..... The main reason we want to change school is due to relocation - DC would have to board if staying at the current school, and I think age 7 is a bit young for boarding..... Is the level of support very good compared to other private schools? I've been told it is? Would we get similar at a state school without having to go through the stress of getting a statement / EHC Plan?

Gosh, so interesting to hear that most of you think private schools are a really bad idea for kids with SEN, I'd be really grateful if you could explain why?
Thanks :-)

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 19:25:08

Thanks so much for the suggestion! Unfortunately I don't think Fairley House would suit DC - DC is 6 1/2 years old but has a reading age of 9, 'comprehension age' of 7 1/2 and in maths knows number bonds and 2,5,10 times tables etc..... Just is no good at all at demonstrating that in exams!

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 19:27:08

Oh, also, does anyone think that the provision at the current school is so good that staying there and boarding at the Prep department would be the best option rather than looking for another school? I've had a few other people say this to me.

hanami Mon 06-Jul-15 19:31:34

Sadly, many private schools simply want to squeeze kids who don't fit the mould out of the school to maintain their high exam scores. If they can fill their schools with any children, they will pick the easiest to groom to high results.

This won't be true of all of them but you would definitely want eyes and ears in any school you were to approach to be sure. Where you are now sounds fantastic, you may be hard-pressed to find similar.

hanami Mon 06-Jul-15 19:32:40

How do you feel your son would cope with boarding?

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 19:46:58

Interesting to hear that you also think the current school sounds very good. Another reason besides the boarding which makes me reluctant to stay is that they are not very exam focused but are oversubscribed and so unlikely to care if DC doesn't pass the Common Entrance at 11+ / 13+ even for their own senior department. They don't seem to believe in preparing for exams, just in seeing how a child does based on their native ability, which personally I think is silly not to prepare at all.... As for the boarding, I think DC would love the routine aspect but I do worry that throwing an Autistic kid in to weekly boarding at age 7 could be a recipe for getting bullied, no matter how good the pastoral care.

selly24 Mon 06-Jul-15 19:57:49

Bredon School (Board)
In London What about one of the Thomas's schools south of river? Subject to a space being avail of course....
Putting advanced thinking cap on....

UsernameAlreadyInUse Mon 06-Jul-15 20:07:14

The Dominie in Wandsworth? Might be too focused on dyslexia/dyspraxia though.

Or the Holmewood School? Their blurb says "The Holmewood School, London caters for children who are of average or above-average cognitive ability, aged between 7 and 18, with a diagnosis or co-morbid diagnosis of high functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome, ADHD, language, communication, social and pragmatic difficulties and specific learning difficulties."

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 20:07:48

Interesting you should mention Thomas's. I went for a viewing at Battersea and loved the school and the SEN department was so enthusiastic. I'd really love DC to go there, but I doubt DC will get in. I'm already registered but I know how fashionable Thomas's is right now and I have been told there are 20 people ahead on the list for 3-4 places, and if all those kids have been prepared for the 7+ then I'm afraid my DC won't stand a chance if only able to demonstrate a very mediocre ability in an exam situation. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll read about Bredon school.

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 20:09:44

Wow, Holmewood school sounds amazing, I will check it out! I'll also read about the Dominie, thanks so much!

Zippitydodah Mon 06-Jul-15 20:11:31

Bruern Abbey?

UsernameAlreadyInUse Mon 06-Jul-15 20:19:31

A bit later on you might consider Thames Christian College, also in Wandsworth. They used to say they could only accommodate mild aspergers but their admissions page now says "Thames Christian College is a mainstream school with recognised provision for some pupils with mild to moderate learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia or Asperger Syndrome. We recognise that these pupils can be extremely gifted. If your child has Special Educational Needs you can discuss your child's needs with the SENCO when viewing the school, either at an open morning or by appointment with the Registrar. We cannot accept pupils with a history of poor behaviour nor can we cater for pupils with severe learning difficulties."

I don't know any of these schools personally, by the way. Just thinking ahead for my eldest.

BrilliantDayForTheRace Mon 06-Jul-15 20:28:47

In state schools my DC got:

- weekly social skills group
- fine motor skills group
- gross motor skills group
- ASD outreach team visits
- Speech & Language Therapy
- Occupational Therapy visits
- Learning Mentor

All for free, and all without a statement.

The reason I recommend state schools is because they have loads and loads and loads of interventions, which are easy for your DS to access.

And because if your DS isn't making progress they can't ask him to leave, so they work very hard on getting him to integrate and make progress.

The class TA has always had to keep on eye on my DC, and always done so. With sometimes brilliant results. And without a statement.

Obv not all state schools are like this.

softhedgehog Mon 06-Jul-15 20:29:28

Girl or boy? Look at St. Margaret's in Kidderpore Gardens in Hampstead if a girl.

ItsNotAsPerfectAsItSeems Mon 06-Jul-15 20:49:31

I have 4 children. Ds1&2 are at prep. Dd will also go private. Ds3 (dc3) starts school this yr and is going to state primary. He has mild autism. I have taught in both state and private and I think a good private school can be an outstanding experience for children but by and large, that only applies to NT children. We looked at lots of non academic preps inc some that specialised in SN inc HFA (DS can read and his counting skills are years ahead) None seemed able to show me guaranteed progression and meaningful support. None had access to EPs or salts. We have luckily negotiated with school that his current private salt will work with him in EYFS as she is fantastic. His speech is excellent but his communication not do much. His current OT will also work alongside his reception teacher to help him adjust to the open plan noisy environment.
So from a mother who is more than happy with the outstanding education my nt children receive in the private sector, I'd recommend state (almost) every time for a child in the spectrum.

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 22:54:51

@UsernameAlreadyInUse: I checked out Holmewood House, but unfortunately I don't think the academics look good enough :-( most kids don't seem to be entered for GCSE's and the ones that are seem to get pretty poor grades unfortunately. Of course, this doesn't mean my DC would, but right now we are trying to raise exam grades from average to reflect true above average ability. Thanks so much for the suggestion though!

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 22:55:53

@Zipitydodah: Bruern Abbey looks perfect! I'll message you about it, thanks!

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 22:59:18

@BrilliantDayForTheRace: wow, that sounds like amazing support! You are very lucky! I really hope your DC is thriving now? I will have a think about state options, thank you..... My teacher friend told me any a state in Barnet which is meant to be amazing for ASD, I will ask her again.

Cantfindaprepschool Mon 06-Jul-15 23:01:11

@ItsNotAsPerfectAsItSeems: interesting story, I will message you later, thanks.

Toughasoldboots Mon 06-Jul-15 23:06:13

Can't- I have had the opposite experience to some on here. Dd, HFA and related conditions, very badly bullied and unsupported in two state schools. I didn't risk trying a third.
The independent sector has transformed her and nurtured a very anxious and traumatised child.

Maybe it depends on the LA, I am in Kent.

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