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weekly boarding for DS with dyslexia - help with ideas!!

(17 Posts)
3boys0girl Tue 18-Feb-14 10:08:32

Oldest DS is in year 5, pretty smart boy (avg CAT131) but with learning difficulties (dyslexia, dysgraphia). Maths is strong but struggling with English, organizing ideas, organizing pretty much anything and writing. He is on a laptop. Not very sporty but always happy to participate to foortball, rugby..Into sailing, diving, ICT. He plays the violin.
He has now expressed the wish to go boarding from year 9 so we are looking at boarding schools not too far away from London (max one hour and half driving..) as he wants to go weekly (so do we..).
No preference on co-ed/boys only. I want a school with a good learning support department too..

We have started visiting but any suggestions/experience would be very welcome!

LIZS Tue 18-Feb-14 10:12:09

Box Hill, Seaford College, Ardingly, Slindon, Bedes ?

ZeroSomeGameThingy Tue 18-Feb-14 10:29:23

You have masses of choice! Particularly once you notice that - particularly at Prep level - there is very little difference between weekly and full boarding. If there's Saturday school or even just inter-school sports, they're not going to be free until late Saturday afternoon anyway. IME full boarders can have almost every Sunday out and with compulsory leave outs every two to three weeks you would see far more of your DS than you might expect, without restricting yourself to "official" weekly boarding options. And lots of local parents find an excuse to pop in to school several times a week.

I should just work your way through the lists for Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire.....

The good schools should have no problem providing your DS with any help he needs.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Tue 18-Feb-14 10:30:39

Sorry - you did say from yr 9. Same comments apply!

3boys0girl Tue 18-Feb-14 10:52:22

Thanks! So what I have started looking at are : wellington college, tonbridge, bradfield and charterhouse. Any insight on these 4? Any ideas for similar schools?

Lots of schools which advertize full boarding seem to let the kids out Saturday -Sunday but other are strict on exeats week ends. Oundle was one we were interested in but its not flexible enough for us.

I dont thnk I want a school with only children with dyslexia. I suspect his dyslexia is mild and he can adapt to a tradional environment. I just want to make sure that he can have support and that the fact he is on a laptop will not be a problem.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Tue 18-Feb-14 11:10:35

I don't know any of those schools personally - though Tonbridge come highly recommended by MNetters.

As a next step why not do a search here for any schools you're interested in. Just enter the name - there will be hundreds of threads for some and it will soon become clear which posts are helpful (and which are rubbish.) Generally people will mention other places for comparison. (I have found the advice here invaluable in our own school search.)

Btw are you sure you would not like your Ds to try out boarding before yr 9? (Finances permitting obviously.)

You will find it easier if you can narrow your criteria a little. What sort of school is he at now? Boys or co-ed? Is he thriving? Has he expressed a preference? What's prompted him towards boarding in the future? What did he think of the schools you've already visited? How did you choose them?How clever is he? How dedicated to the violin? What are his HT's thoughts?

Suffolkgirl1 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:18:46

Royal Hospital school, suffolk. Good musically and lots of sailing. A friend has just moved her dyslexic son there and he is loving it.

reddidi Tue 18-Feb-14 14:19:17

As well as identifying a 13+ school you presumably also need to find him somewhere for Y7 and Y8. It is a good time now to be looking for a prep school, and a good prep school head will probably have some recommendations for you to consider.

Your DS's SpLDs affect the choice in two ways:
(i) (Nearly) all boarding schools have pre-selection tests in Y6 or early in Y7. Some schools place a stronger emphasis on maths ability in these tests whereas others look for a strong English performance too. Some schools have abandoned lengthy tests altogether and use computerised ability assessments together with an interview. Your DS obviously stands a better chance of a place in a school with a format that will suit him.
(ii) Schools vary in their support for SpLDs; all will profess their ability to deal with dyslexia (and most will deliver on this), but dysgraphia may be a different matter. You need to talk to the relevant person (not always called a SENCO in independent schools) at any school you are seriously considering, but you need to whittle the list down first.

If he is seriously into sailing then RHS and Tonbridge stand out from those schools mentioned, but lots of schools do some sailing so there is no need to pick one that doesn't.

You need to get a move on though, prep school open days tend to happen end February/March and senior schools in the Summer term; although you will want a 1:1 visit before commiting, the open days are very useful, not least for motivating your DS.

3boys0girl Tue 18-Feb-14 16:04:27

Thanks for your replies.

DS is in a prep school that goes until y8 so we are fine. It's a London day school coed. He is top in Maths but average in English and anything that needs a bit of writing. He had his first exams with the extra time + laptop a few weeks ago and looking fwd to see how he will do now that the SpLD has been diagnosed and is taken into account!

School did recommend some schools but his profile is so spiky that really they did not rule out anything and did not strongly recommend anything either...Not that helpful!

He is keen on boarding as I think he won't have his brothers on his back all the time and also a lot of friends are going boarding so really it seems like a great plan! He did enjoy Tonbridge. The head of learning support asked him back after seeing the ed psych report which worries me a bit, not sure it is a good sign...

I was really after more suggestions as I don't feel my list was very exhaustive! RHS looks great but its too far away. we both work full time and I can't see him commuting every week end or us picking him up.

Oh god this is complicated, at least I am thinking I won't need to go through the whole process for his brothers (hopefully they will be keen on boarding too!)

ZeroSomeGameThingy Tue 18-Feb-14 16:24:59

You never know OP - you might find your other DSs suit other schools!

So he's the oldest - and wants to carve out a bit of space for himself through boarding? Sounds like a plan. But you didn't say why you picked the schools you have looked at.

It could be a good sign that Tonbridge has asked him back. In the meantime have you looked at Abingdon, Radley (don't know if too late,) St Edward's or Winchester (which seems to have a decent reputation with dyslexia)?

reddidi Tue 18-Feb-14 17:06:24

Picking up on a couple of things...

"School did recommend some schools but his profile is so spiky that really they did not rule out anything and did not strongly recommend anything either...Not that helpful!"

No that isn't very helpful!

"The head of learning support asked him back after seeing the ed psych report which worries me a bit, not sure it is a good sign..."

That sounds like a very good sign - they are trying to find out about him, what suppoort he needs and how they can give it.

"I was really after more suggestions as I don't feel my list was very exhaustive! RHS looks great but its too far away. we both work full time and I can't see him commuting every week end or us picking him up."

Lancing (v. good for music)? Cranleigh? Not sure where you are but some primarily day schools have viable boarding contingents - Epsom College and St John's in Leatherhead for instance (but others mainly have overseas boarders which is not the same kind of experience).

"Oh god this is complicated, at least I am thinking I won't need to go through the whole process for his brothers (hopefully they will be keen on boarding too!)"

But if splitting them up is a reason for boarding now, will it make sense to send them to the same school later? And will one school actually fit them all? It is a pain to have children in different schools, particularly if they are all playing matches in different places on Saturday, but sometimes it can be the best thing for their education.

ishouldcocoa Tue 18-Feb-14 17:13:22

I'd check out Cranleigh School. Ds has dyslexia and has had huge support from there.
Charterhouse is quite a tough school to go to if you struggle academically. By all means approach the schools but go and see them, too, and take your son with you.

3boys0girl Wed 19-Feb-14 08:48:02

Thanks for all the good advice, will check Cranleigh, Lancing, Winchester,etc..
Radley is too late, there is a late list but DS is not Einstein so chance as i understand it.

@reddidi : I think you are right. As much as I like my current school, advice on secondary school is poor and for newbies like me, it is a nightmare. you just don't know where to start! so if they not able to narrow it down for me, I could really spend 10 years looking at schools!

About splitting them, I think they end up fighting a lot these days because they do so much together and they are quite different too. But having said that, I am hoping to find a school where they could both be happy. and anyway, they would not spend their life together in a boarding school! I have to be pragmatic, it will become a awful headache if we split them.. DS2 is sporty, driven and super academic at the moment so I feel the choice might be easier.

@ZeroSomeGameThingy : on the current school selection. Quite a random selection process, getting school names from mums at school, secondary schools presentation from other prep schools, calling to check full versus weekly boarding and learning support department. But still feeling my list is a bit thin..

FourArms Fri 21-Feb-14 08:35:04

Wycliffe in Stonehouse was good for my dyslexic and dyspraxic sister. Too far?

northlondoncat Fri 21-Feb-14 16:16:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indieakka Sat 22-Feb-14 22:39:58

Try Leighton Park in Reading...

Shiplake has a good reputation for Learning Support as well but I don't know how academic it is.

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