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Dyspraxic, socially awkward 7 yr old rather lost/lonely and on occasion bullied, would private school be kinder on him?

(17 Posts)
NewPenName Sun 20-Sep-09 14:45:11

Any thoughts please? By the way, this is not a private v state school debate for me! He has moderate dyspraxia but it does seem to affect so many areas!

I'm just heartbroken to see dc1 so alone at school, doing ok but alone at playtime, if he tries to join in he just gets picked on. We've had an on-going dialogue with the school but he's now 7 and I think this is good as it's going to get at this particular school.He also meets with fairly low expectations from staff (due to his diagnosis, I guess though he is quite bright when interested/supported and is a v advanced reader for his age). The local private option has a reasonable reputation, slightly smaller classes (not radically so) but is big on pastoral care, discipline and a "family" atmosphere.I'm therefore wondering whether this might be a good option.

crokky Sun 20-Sep-09 14:48:16

Some private schools would be better, some wouldn't. I think you should make an appointment with the head of the private school and tell him about your DC and see if he/she considers the school an appropriate place and whether the school has similar pupils. Some private schools don't have any children with any sort of SEN or any differences to the standard child they like to take and some private schools are exceptionally good at helping children like your DC. My DS is in the nursery of a private school - a little speech delay, possible bit of ASD etc...they have been really good wtih him and helped him immeasurably.

NewPenName Sun 20-Sep-09 14:50:06

thanks, that's good to know. yes, i will make an appointment though dh is not keen...

Plonker Sun 20-Sep-09 14:57:27

Are there any other state options close by?

I moved my dd1 (she was 5 and had just finished reception) to a different [state] school because the school she was in wasn't right for her. It was a fine school ...just not for her.

I knew from her first day that the new school was the perfect choice - best decision I could have made!! She was happy instantly smile

Changing schools doesn't have to be a private/state debate - why not take a look around other state schools - they may have a different perspective on your sons needs.

I have to say though that I would be very very disappointed in the level of care at your current school and don't blame you for wanting to move him.

Good luck

happywomble Sun 20-Sep-09 14:58:39

How awful that your poor son is picked on in this way and that the school are not doing anything about it. I would definitely look at other schools and find one with a more caring ethos. The private school you mention sounds good ..can they offer support for the dyspraxia?

mimsum Sun 20-Sep-09 15:23:25

it certainly isn't a given that private would be better

ds2 has mild asperger's and dyspraxic tendencies and is socially very awkward in situations where he doesn't feel comfortable

however, at school he's mostly fine as it's a very inclusive state school and he's in a lovely friendship group all of whom have known each other since nursery - the other boys have known ds2 for such a long time that they just accept him

however, he did a week-long cricket camp during the summer holidays and the vast majority of the other kids went to a selection of local private schools, and they picked on him mercilessly - it was a truly hideous experience, very badly dealt with by the cricket club and it put me off the idea of sending him to any of those schools

one thing to check is the attitude to sport - a lot of private schools do much more sport and much more emphasis is put on it - if he's not very good at sport and the school puts a high value on that then he might spend much of his time feeling miserable about it - after all, no-one wants to be the child who's always picked last for teams

mimmum Sun 20-Sep-09 18:44:37

This sounds just like my ds same diagnosis, lack of friendships at school, low expectations from teachers due to diagnosis. We moved him to local private school and it has been a wonderful for him. Pastoral care is a real strength at the school and his class mates are kinder and more tolerant. The teachers have high expectations and this has improved his confidence no end. This is just our experience but I have never regretted making the change.

smallwhitecat Sun 20-Sep-09 18:59:09

Message withdrawn

daisy71 Mon 21-Sep-09 15:16:49

I currently have a child in my class who has some special needs (nothing diagnosed, but poss ASD or some elements of ADD). His parents were asked to move him from the private school he had been attending as he was in their words "unteachable". He is in no way unteachable, a little distractable maybe, but I shudder to think what the poor boy's self esteem must have been going through at the private school. BTW teachers do not have to be qualified to teach at private school. I also attended private school as did my brothers (albeit 20 years ago) and my experience of their dealings with children with special needs(or indeed any needs) was not good-they just didn't bother).

Miggsie Mon 21-Sep-09 16:00:13

I add on to Daisy's comment: I know a boy who is socially awkward and is at a private school and they don't seem to be that bothered...as long as he doesn't disrupt the lessons... they don't seem to actually being interested in helping the lad overcome his issues at all.
This contrasts to my child's state school who fell over themselves to assist DD when she was having a few social problems (nowhere near what your poor lad is going through), so actually, it depends on the school ethos, not whether it is state or private. The advantage of private is the small class sizes so a child can be more "protected" but if the child needs therapy or some kind of additional help not all schools would bother, state or private.

Question the head teacher and the head of education/pastoral care of any school you were considering very carefully to see what their approach is. Not just saying they look after the kids, get specifics on what referrals they might make, or what help they could call in etc.

neversaydie Tue 22-Sep-09 08:27:14

We have had good and bad experiences with both private and state. Your best bet is to be absolutely honest with the head right at the start. If it is going to be a problem they will almost certainly say so!

I do think that the right school can make a huge difference, whether state or private, so it is worth doing your homework and being extremely picky if you can.

NewPenName Wed 23-Sep-09 10:38:03

thanks, all. Yes, I've probably been oversimplifying the issue - hoping I'd be able to "buy" thekind of education I feel ds needs by going private... Problem is i've rather lost faith in the local state system and a move to another state primary would necessitate a car jounrey to & fro which wdn't work in terms of school pickups when i work..

MollieO Wed 23-Sep-09 14:02:56

Not all private schools are the same. We have two in our town. One has a reputation of being very sporty and academic. You will get on well if you are good at either. If you are neither sporty or academic or need extra help then you are encouraged to move elsewhere. I've known of this happening a few times over the last couple of years that I've had any interest in schools.

Ds's is the other private school. Very strong on both sports and academic (top 20 rugby prep school) and very good results. Sounds similar to the other school but it couldn't be more different. It is incredibly inclusive. They field teams at every level so all children get to participate, not just those who are any good. They are also good with SN and arrange extra classes that run seamlessly with the main school day (ie the other children aren't always aware of fellow classmates having extra help).

I would visit the options and see how they feel. I reckon you will know easily which is right for your ds.

castlesintheair Wed 23-Sep-09 14:25:22

I agree it totally depends on the school not whether it is private or state. My DS who has a (mild) language disorder/dyspraxia has positively thrived within his state primary. A friend's similar DS has moved from state to primary within the same borough as us and is still bullied/struggling with sport/playtime/handwriting etc. They are now emigrating to Australia with great expectations about the SEN system.

When you look around a place, ask about SEN provision, how many SN children there are. How many children are on Action Plus etc. What their policies are on bullying/discipline/developing friendships. These are things that really stand out at my DS's school.

Hulababy Wed 23-Sep-09 14:28:21

Impossible to say which would be best TBH. It is entirely down to individual sschools.

There are good and bad experiences for both state and primary, but personal stories won;t helo you TBH. You need to go and see for yourself, at the schools that are local to you.

Visit some schools. Do lots of observing as you go round and ask lots of questions.

stealthsquiggle Wed 23-Sep-09 14:36:06

It's not a given, but it is certainly worth a look. DS's friend who is dyspraxic certainly has both support and high expectations of him in their (private) school.

On the flip side, his mother has had to fight tooth and nail for NHS-funded support which she would have got automatically if he had been in the state sector.

Go and have a look, ask the hard questions (what about any future need for Occupational Therapy? Would you have to pay extra? What other extras will you have to pay for?) and good luck.

MollieO Wed 23-Sep-09 15:27:27

I think visiting is so important. Most of my friends chose the highly competitive school and can't understand why I chose the school I did. It would have been easier to go with the majority to have a ready made set of friends but I know that I made the absolute right decision. I went with gut instinct completely since at 3 it was too early to work out what sort of school would fit ds. At 7 I imagine you will have a better idea.

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