Good SEN schools in Wiltshire(26 Posts)
We are planning to move back to the UK in June from Melbourne, Australia, and we are looking into schools for our two dyslexic sons who will be 14 and 11yrs by Sept. and our 5yo just starting school.
I would love to hear from anyone with good experiences with SEN at the schools cos this will be our eldest son's 5th school and I really want to get it right. We will buy a house, pref. rural to be close to the best school.
Like many dyslexics he is intelligent, verbally coherent, creative and gifted in music and the visual arts.
We work from home so just need a big house!
Not relevant if you have boys but if you have a girl I'd wholeheartedly recommend the school (Westonbirt) where my daughter now goes. We moved from Brighton a few years ago and I did most of my research online (including mumsnet) as didn't have local contacts or the usual ways of finding out what is likely to suit. When I visited in person, I unfortunately didn't get a very good impression of Wycliffe for various reasons - think it might be good for boys but definitely not great for girls, was my gut impression. The opposite was true for Westonbirt. Really good first impressions and they proved to be true. My daughter joined the prep in year 5 - which she loved - and has now moved onto the senior school which I have to say is incredible and continues to impress. Her dyslexia is excellently supported but she is also academically stretched - a really key combination that the school seems to have mastered - really impressed. I really benefited from other people's first hand impressions of various schools so hopefully this might help someone else as I remember how bloody stressful it all was!!!
My son is 7 and dyspraxic. He has had very ineffective and minimal input in terms of OT and S&L over the past three years. Despite this my son is reading like a 9 year old, and can do joined up writing (although more slowly than other kids) but is working towards year 2 expectations in most categories (school report). We have been offered a place in Appleford school (one hour from where we live) but we are unsure as to whether we should take the place for him. When we visited the school i was slightly taken aback by the mix of children - some of which clearly had fairly severe ASD. I now worry about how my son would view himself in this environment. Unfortunately none of the independent schools in the Bath area are willing to offer him a place. Can any one advise further on Appleford or whether we would be better of staying in state school with the promise of a teaching assistant from next year?
Go see the schools, please, you can really get a feel from visiting during a typical school day. I know John Bentley would really support but am sure others would too if asked.
That's really good info to know as Devizes was on our list for my daughter but maybe not now?
We are almost certain to send our son to Appleford School, his needs are great and he just can't waste anymore time in state education as he has made no progress. He is very behind in school.
My daughter on the other hand is very high achieving and outgoing but we may struggle to get a good place as she is in Year 9. Such a minefield.
My sister has just started home educating her children, she lives in Ireland and loves to hear of other doing it. It is certainly becoming a more appealing option.
We're from Wiltshire, although we home educate, we did look round secondaries and DS has friends who attend.
John Bentley (Calne) offered support to a friends son with dyslexia, but the support stopped after a year which they've been very disappointed about. There was a lack of communication between the dyslexia support worker and the other teachers.
Devizes: has a generally poor reputation, particularly in terms of GCSE results, if that's important to you.
Abbeyfield (Chippenham): a friends son with ASD was fantastically well supported there, really flourished. Unsure re dyslexia support though.
Hardenhuish / Sheldon (both Chippenham): both have been fairly supportive to friends kids with some additional needs.
I think a lots of schools promise you a lot for dyslexia support.....but don't deliver in the long term.
There's a great home ed community in North Wilts: loads of teenagers, with activities like art, science workshops, STEM, climbing, fencing. One of the Swindon colleges offers 14-16 provision for BTEC and GCSEs for home ed teens.
I am thinking of sending my son to Appleford. Would it be possible to contact you?
If your looking at Devizes school, I'm told that Market Lavington (about 10 minutes away) is actually a better school for SEN. No personal experience though.
Kingshill in Cirencester I think has a good reputation for SEN. It is borderline wilts
Academy also has void arts dept, school orchestra etc.
There are 3 primary schools. All much of a muchness, and reasonably good. Two have infants and juniors on the same site (Longleaze and St Bartholomews) and the third is split over two sites (Noremarsh/County Infants).
St Barts is C of E, but not overly so.
I don't know what SEN provision is like at the primaries, but it is good at the Academy.
I have teen DDs at the Academy who love living in RWB. There's not a great deal for them in the town itself, though sports provision is good, but its only 6 miles from Swindon- cinemas, eateries, clubs etc. Easy and cheap train to Bath and Bristol too.
What are your DCs in to?
The town has a great community feel, and school is involved with community. Everyone very friendly. We love it here - it's a great, safe place to bring up kids.
To kissmy... Yes that is within our budget and we did want to stay in that area firstly to make it manageable (I'll only be there for first week March to look) and also to stay within 2 hours train ride to London. Also it's where we got married & only area we know! We've only lived in London and Surrey before.
I'd really appreciate your spreadsheet's advice ! Thank you.
To the others - Sheldon is oversubscribed and won't see means Melksham Oak have not replied. Thanks anyway.
Will read that Clarendon article now.
Phyllis, the RWB ofsted is very impressive. Whats the town itsefl like? Is there much for teenagers to do? also, do you know the primariy schools?
Also have a look at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy. SEN there is pretty good.
I live locally and I think Sheldon school in Chippenham has the best reputation for SEN although I must add my DCs are not secondary school age just yet.
Clarendon has a somewhat colourful head teacher see wiltshire times
Against the headlines though, several of the students wrote to the paper the following week complaining of the report and defending the good work he is doing at the school. And the results show it is improving, and discipline issues are being heavily stamped on. However, I would definitely treat with caution as I think it is hard to know whether he can stay longer term.
Hi, I have been on a virtual tour of state schools with good SEN provision. Are you definitely going to Wilts? you mentioned some Gloucester schools too . If you let me know all the areas you are considering I will consult my rather substantial spreadshhet and give you some suggestions. I am looking for state secondarys good with dyslexia/SEN in decent areas up to £350,000 so can give you loads of ideas if thats similar to your budget.
Have a look at Melksham Oak Community School. Excellent generic SEN support and lots of staff specifically trained on dyslexia. Recently rated "Good" by OFSTED and the area isn't too expensive.
Thank you all so much but most of you are referring to independent schools and we simply can't afford them.
I am looking at the John Bentley school though. They received my request very kindly.
I'll also look at Devizes, Corsham, Hardenhuish and The Clarendon Academy.
If anyone out there has any experience of these schools I'd love to hear.
Hi I have had 3 of my 4 children in Appleford .... all dyslexic all bright and articulate children. Our eldest daughter is now at Shapwick as was our eldest son. Appleford has just this term gone into the realms of senior education. I personally say book a taster at both and judge yourself. .. personally I cannot fault the dedication and commitment of both schools ... they are however very different and only yourself as a parent will be able too see which one is bestsuited. Please feel free too ask any questions I shall endeavour to answer them. Regards and good luck
Bruern Abbey is near Oxford and is a day and boarding school for boys.
If you are looking at independent schools, I have a friend who moved her DS out of a very well regarded state school and into this school, just over the border in Glos. I think she was very happy with the help he received.
I understand that John Bentlery state school in Calne has specialist SEN provision, but I dont know specifically about dyslexia.
Just tried to find previous thread on Appleford but I remember there were mixed reviews of the school. I have 2 friends that took their DSs away from the school in the last 2 years. They felt that they hadn't helped their reading etc and that their confidence etc had suffered.
Other specialist schools is the area and around Wiltshire:
Schools with specialist dyslexic units/teaching:
Millfield prep and senior school www.millfieldprep.com/index.htm
The music and art are excellent at both the prep and the senior schools. They are schools that are known for sport but due to their size are very good at a number of different things. The senior school is 1200 pupils but the classes range from 6 to 12/15 pupils.
I know nothing about this specialist dyslexic school or whether it will suit your DC's needs but I grew up in this village and it is an idyllic part of the world.
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