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DS miserable at school - stay/move schools/home educate - wwyd?

(17 Posts)
Bigcatslittlecats Tue 04-Jun-19 11:43:10

DS is in year 4, dyslexic, and has hated school for much of the time since year 1. Initially he got little SEN support - that has improved somewhat but he still struggles in the classroom - particularly with writing. Other issues have included friendships, staff he disliked/was scared of, and generally patches of extreme anxiety about going to school/school refusal. There have also been times when he's been relatively happy and settled - although they don't last long - and overall things have improved from a very low point in years 2/3.

We're in a 'bad patch' again now and after another horrible morning I'm thinking about what might be our best option - to move schools (I worry his school refusal and unhappiness could increase in this scenario), to home educate (just about possible for us work-wise), or to keep trying to improve things for him at his current school. Any views/experiences much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
HomeMadeMadness Tue 04-Jun-19 11:58:27

I'm sorry to hear he's having a hard time OP. How supportive have the school been, in particular with regards to his anxiety and school refusal?

Bigcatslittlecats Tue 04-Jun-19 12:26:12

Thanks for the reply smile

The school are quite supportive, within their own limits of budgets etc - they have made it clear he wouldn’t get an EHCP as is below the thresholds. Therefore the help available is fairly limited, due to the set up of the school generally, although his teacher is sensitive and kind, and is always happy to meet with us to talk things over. I do wonder if another school would have more SEN provision/just be a better fit for DS but I am aware that changing schools can have its own problems.

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BlueChampagne Tue 04-Jun-19 12:55:06

It sounds like some research into whether another local school would meet his needs better wouldn't go amiss. But I wouldn't let him know that you're doing it to begin with.

Bluerussian Tue 04-Jun-19 12:57:35

I would try and find him another school that was sympathetic to his problems and had the right staff. Initially you could take him along there for short periods to try it out.

All the best, things like this are so worrying. flowers

Attache Tue 04-Jun-19 13:12:11

I think it's worth looking round any schools with vacancies, with an open mind. It's all about the individual schools in the case I think. You might find some of the non-negotiable parts of the system at his current school are completely different elsewhere. If he's at a large school, a smaller one might work (less to navigate socially) or vice versa (more staff so more flexibility, more experience of SEN and making adjustments).

It sounds like the step up in Y6 could be a real challenge, so I would be asking a lot about their approach to SATS. Ours is known as a bit of a hothouse but they do it with booster groups. It's controversial but small groups and the fact they are truly optional both are a good fit, in my view, for an anxious child. Much better for my 2 than a school that says they don't focus too much on SATS and then sets a shedload of homework.

Shiftymake Tue 04-Jun-19 13:16:38

My DS is dyslectic, biggest problem we had was that he thought it meant he was unintelligent and slow, though the words he and his peers used were far more crude then the ones I listed. We had to move school last year due to a move and this past year has been most difficult for friendships as the children don't know him. I have repeatedly told him through the years how clever he is in x,y,z and keep boosting his confidence which is helping him massively. He is now leaping up the reading and writing charts, feels confident in his abilities and is making friends. Our sons are of similar age. The best way forward for us was bringing in the max 15 minute rule. Reading and Writing homework per day does not exceed 15 consecutive minutes, we do not correct mistakes with negatives (no, don't, wrong... ) but if a mistake is made we go back to it and work on the sounds and use phonics for connecting the words in reading and writing. Every time he succeeds he is given a compliment on how he managed to solve the issue. This does work. Take small steps and work on words with a time limit. The work done at home will reflect in school and might help him.

Grasspigeons Tue 04-Jun-19 13:33:07

Gosh, I have so much i want to ask.

I don't' think a new school would help with anxiety/school refusal unless the anxiety was about a very specific issue that wouldn't be at the new school -eg a bully that just hadn't been dealt with, or a head that just didn't believe in dyslexia causing problems for instance. our child had ASD and anxiety and we were told to try a new school, but the anxiety just increased because none of the things that made him anxious were different but all the routines/friends he did have were gone.

Have you got some ideas of things they could be doing to support him. I'm not impressed with sympathetic and wouldn't get an ehcp.

Bigcatslittlecats Tue 04-Jun-19 14:09:26

Thank you all! Much food for thought.

I think we will definitely look further into alternatives... when there is a bad patch it feels like it can't get much worse so we may as well try an alternative.

Grasspiegons - there are a few specific things that wouldn't be the case at a new school - a bit too specific to list here probably! But on the other hand what you mention is what I'm most worried about - that at a new school he'd lose the security of friends, routines etc and SEN issues/anxiety would remain the same.

OP’s posts: |
Maldives2006 Wed 05-Jun-19 13:28:22

Oh your poor son,

Firstly the school are completely wrong about him not being eligible for an EHCP. These are the only legal criteria

“whether the child or young person has or may have special educational needs (“SEN”); and
whether they may need special educational provision to be made through an EHC plan.”

The school should be providing and individualised education for your child and providing reasonable adjustments to allow your child to access the curriculum. Dyslexia is classed as a disability and your child is protected under the disability act.

Maldives2006 Wed 05-Jun-19 13:29:51

The only threshold is whether there is the suspicion of special educational needs

Bigcatslittlecats Wed 05-Jun-19 18:48:05

Thank you Maldives. My understanding was that dyslexia alone (despite diagnosis) is unlikely to get an EHCP? His anxiety/school refusal is quite up and down so perhaps hard to assess/include that... he is certainly behind academically (at least 2 years I think although haven’t been given this info) and currently making no progress with his writing but school do not seem concerned.

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marmiteontoastplz Wed 05-Jun-19 19:07:08

Know how you feel Op! We are in a very similar boat but without the dyslexia. Our probs are social/emotional. It's miserable for us all and the worst is that I feel like I am wishing away his childhood coz I just wait desperately for each holiday to arrive sadno advice but solidarity, I find it helps to take one day at a time x

Bigcatslittlecats Thu 06-Jun-19 10:09:39

Oh, sorry to hear your DS is having having a tough time too marmite sad Is his school helpful? Hope things improve for him flowers

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marmiteontoastplz Thu 06-Jun-19 21:38:10

Thank you.. yes they are supportive but it's just so frustrating coz most of the problems he has are because of how he's acted iyswim . I'm just praying he will mature soon and we can put all the negative behind us. Is your partner on the same page? We struggle coz we often disagree, I'm too soft etc etc x

Taswama Thu 06-Jun-19 21:44:41

Are school providing a scribe at all? DS has ASD and possibly dyslexia too and has always struggled with writing. His primary school provided him with a scribe for most work from about Y3 and it really helped. It was included into his EHCP and he now has one at secondary as well. For homework I try and get him to type as much as possible and I’ll occasionally scribe myself.

PlayNtag Fri 07-Jun-19 15:14:34

That's really tough. I would recommend home ed if it's really an option for you as a family. My daughter had bad anxiety in reception year, she is dyslexic also and has signs of ADD. Deciding to home educate just before year 1 was the best decision ever. She's so happy and since doing it I've discovered a whole world of self directed education and democratic schools out there (wish she could go to one full time, if it existed here!). She's much more confident, explores her own interests (intrinsic motivation and maintaining flow states for ADD children is meant to be a plus), reaps the benefits of extended play with children of a wide range of ages and gets a whole heap of different experiences in many communities. So. much. learning...dyslexia doesnt have to hold them back when they have other ways to access learning. Happy to share some resources/links if you need.

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