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Alternative child-centred secondary education for non-academic.

(14 Posts)
ILovetherain Sun 28-Aug-11 12:49:34

Hi, we are looking for a school to support a 14 year old boy who's had a difficult time at secondary owing to being bullied and not achieving academically. He thrives best in a non-competitive environment and is very resistant to strict boundaries but can also be low in motivation so I feel that he needs some structure. He is currently home educated but ready to go back into school if we can find the right place for him. Currently based in Sheffield but considering re-location. Thanks for your help.

mumblechum1 Sun 28-Aug-11 13:41:57

"Very resistant to strict boundaries"?

Tbh it sounds like he needs some input from an educational psychologist. He will really struggle in any mainstream school if he doesn't cope with discipline.

The Ed Psych will be able to assess the child's educational needs and possibly support an application for either a special school or support in mainstream.

thanksforthetea Sun 28-Aug-11 14:24:07

Does he have a diagnosis of anything?

Bredon school is not quite a special school but very nurturing and good with SEN.

The Quaker schools like Ackworth and St Christopher also have good reputations for being more child-centred and non-competitive but they won't be able to deal with extreme behaviour. What do you mean by 'very resistant to strict boundaries'?

Breckonborough is excellent for bright boys with SEBD problems if his behavioural needs are more severe, but he'd need a statement to attend and it will be tough if he is currently out of school.

In London there are day schools like Centre Academy which might suit him as well, they do US qualifications which are continuouse assessment and have very small classes and individual attention.

ILovetherain Sun 28-Aug-11 14:44:22

He had an ed psych report in primary which didn't really come up with anything apart from that he didn't assume that he was included when the teacher addressed the whole class, so tended to be in his own world unless he was addressed directly, but when having one-to one supervision he made lots of progress. He was school action plus rather than statemented. He hasn't got behaviour problems, I probably didn't word that very well as I wouldn't describe his behaviour as extreme, if anything he is withdrawn and switches off if strong discipline is used. At home he responds well to boundaries but I'm struggling to keep him motivated and interested. Thanks for your input I'm going to follow those leads up.

duchesse Sun 28-Aug-11 17:41:38

You could try Sands School in Devon. I've heard very good things about it.

ILovetherain Tue 30-Aug-11 23:42:23

Yes, Sands was one I've looked at, it looks fabulous.

duchesse Wed 31-Aug-11 09:06:08

I have a friend (used to run my children's primary school actually) who cannot speak highly enough of it. It used to be Dartington Hall School, a progressive school from the 20s afair.

ILovetherain Wed 31-Aug-11 12:27:53

Thanks Duchesse. Devon is about as far as you can get from where we live now but not such a bad place to go smile, esp if it helps my son is these all important years.

duchesse Wed 31-Aug-11 16:27:31

You wouldn't be the first to move to Devon to get your child into Sands! And your moniker is unusually well chosen if that's what you're going to do... grin

duchesse Wed 31-Aug-11 16:28:21

PS: you could consider renting temporarily in Totnes while you work out whether it's going to suit him or not...

oldandcrabby Thu 01-Sep-11 23:05:01

This could be a repeat, if so my apolgies.
I'm going to disagree with duchesse, oops wait to be flamed.
I hope Sands is not the reincarnation of Dartington in the 80s. It does have a similar local reputation. Dartington School was founded with inspirational ideas in the 30s, 50 years on Dartington school became a laughing stock. In the 80s there were a series of scandals and the laissez faire, do what you want, attitude to students failed them and staff agonised about their own hang ups in staff meetings rather than addressing the students' need.
It sounds as if your DS needs an comfortable but structured regime. If you can't find this within the state system, it could be worth looking at Steiner or Quaker school, both of which you can find in Yorkshire and have a strong ethos.
It is worth considering your DS's ambitions and what hurdles he might need to jump to achieve them. Does he want to be a rock star, tree surgeon, car mechanic or something more academic? Check with FE or Sixth Form Colleges on their criteria. If he does not know, it might be worth doing an online check to see what his appitudes are. I think Connextions may have one.
Good luck to you both.

duchesse Fri 02-Sep-11 07:52:23

Ah yes, that's why Dartington fell apart as far as I remember- inability among teachers to get along and agree on anything. The Wikipedia entry for Dartington is quite candid about that.

Sands was formed by a group of teachers who wanted to avoid repeating that. I know several children who have been there and it seems to be running smoothly afaict.

saintlyjimjams Fri 02-Sep-11 07:58:42

I've always loved the look of sands - and think it would be ideal for a highly motivated child. I always wonder how it would cope with a child who needs some pushing to get on with things and stay focused. Has anyone ever heard? I noticed the op mentions low motivation.

ILovetherain Mon 05-Sep-11 00:00:11

Thanks again, you've raised some good points! It's so hard knowing what to do for the best but yes the Quaker school in Ackworth is on my list of people to contact.

Duchesse, I think I chose my moniker when we we'd had a particularly dry spell and then suddenly downpours and I was very pleased for my garden smile

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