Secondary school recs for child both gifted and with slight needs(15 Posts)
My son had a language disorder (mixed receptive and expressive problems), which has largely normalised for his age group, as was expected, but his language skills are still well below his intellect (non verbal IQ and reasoning tests done by the language people put him in the top 0.5%).
He's not a sporty, rough and tumble boy, but more sensitive, quirky and nerdy, and so far seems to sometimes attract some negative attention from the boys who look for someone to pick on. The primary objective is a school with a nurturing environment for him where that behaviour is actively discouraged and the ethos is one of acceptance, tolerance, etc.
Because language and comprehension wise (and emotionally, due to the slow language history) he is younger than his 10 years and I think we need small class size where teachers who know him can understand he is gifted in areas (maths, music, computer programming) even though language speed and understanding range between average to needing a slight bit of repetition, or rephrasing things he does not understand.
The problem I am finding is that at the caring-ethos schools academics are lacking. He is currently at an independent school known for its caring ethos, but even being in the tops math group he can still do his homework sheets in about 15 seconds. I'm starting to think that getting the caring ethos along with sensitive stretching of children academically (as opposed to a full-on competitive academic environment) doesn't exist.
I've searched MN and investigated the schools for the quirky - anyone know of any other schools that would be worth a look for us?
DS2 is one of the geekiest, quirkiest children you'll ever meet. He is exceptionally able and also has SEN. He has been at Watford Boys Grammar for two terms now and is very happy. I have been very impressed with the level of pastoral care. The Learning Support department is well-staffed and well-run. There are plenty of children who are G&T at Maths, Music and Computing, and the standard in these subjects is very high. Is is a partially selective school rather than fully selective, so a significant proportion of the students are less academically able.
What area of the country are you looking at?
Halliford in Shepperton has a fair few quirky boys and those we know/are very happy. It is less selective but certainly has some very bright boys who have gone there because its a smaller school.
You could have been describing my ds at that age, he's in Y10 now and doing great at an inner-city comp. Just your run of the mill comp with average results.
It's a very big school, big enough that they can set the children for more or less every subject individually so a child could be top set in one subject and bottom set in another. The size of the school means there is very little the staff haven't seen before and there are always going to be children about that a quirky child can relate to and be social with.
It would have been helpful to say we are looking anywhere within reasonable reach of London. DH only needs to be in the office 2 days a week, so a longer commute is not an issue as it's not daily. We are thinking about seeing places like Bryanston, Uppingham and Oakham, for examples of distance.
Thanks ThreeBee, I will investigate Watford Boys Grammar. Is your boy able to fit in socially there, and have friends? I am worried about potential bullying, but you have made me wonder more directly about his possible circle of friends. It would be great to find kindred spirits for him wherever we go.
Thanks, Mary21 - Shepperton would work fine for us, location wise - I will have a look at Halliford.
Oddboots - how did the local comprehensive do for your son as far as friendships? I am worried that at our local state schools there is such a climate of sport, that most boys will try to fit into that, and that anyone else will be very much on the outside.
He didn't have any close friends at primary, but has made several lovely friends at WBGS, most of whom seem to be musical or mathematical. He has joined a choir, plays the clarinet in wind band, and has also joined Humanities Club and Classics Club. The school also has a Maths Club and a club for designing computer games, but these clash with his other commitments.
He hasn't experienced any bullying yet, despite being one of the smallest children in the school and telling everyone about his Asperger's on first meeting them.
My ds's school does do sports and has some good sports people among the students but that's something that has just passed ds by, his social group are more likely to be the ones entering maths and science competitions and their lunchtime/after school hobbies are card game or computer based (although ds has suddenly got a passion for dance and drama that came a bit left of field so he has been doing a lot of that recently).
I'm sure you'll find something to suit your ds.
He sounds very like my DS OP. Same DX, same problems, although my DS is 12 and in first year of secondary. Although he is bright he was rejected by most schools because of his statement that he had at the time. (He has not support now and is actually in school in France!). He was offered a place at KGS who imo totally dismiss any SEN, and indeed can support it, if they a child is academically able. It is an academic school and I would recommend it if it's reachable for you. Do a search on here if you want more info.
Or PM me. Happy to give you benefit of my experience in trying for London schools.
Thanks for the comments. I'm taking from this that my son has many options, which I wasn't thinking before.
The small class size, however, is a must, so I assumed that state schools were out, as anything he is uninterested in he will just not pay attention to and fade quietly (not disruptively) into the background. In a small group at his primary the teacher notices and draws him back in.
I assume grammar schools are like all state schools and have about 30 in a class, is that right?
Shiplake? Lovely and pastoral and huge investment in special needs. We looked and thought it was too caring and small for us...
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