which schools to look at for dyslexic dd living in North London(10 Posts)
My DD is in year 5. Summer born. Has always struggled academically but good at sports and creative stuff. Recently tested for dyslexia and had it confirmed. She has a particular problem with spelling and maths but her reading has really come on since end of year 3 beginning of year 4 when she started to enjoy it and reads every night. We are currently exploring some options for secondary schools and would like to choose one that she will feel happiest at and with good support for her needs.( as well as good sports, art facilities, extra curricular opportunities and good pastoral support!) We have seen Parliament Hill girls which we all liked and Highgate woods which we were less impressed with. Have heard good things about Dame Alice Owen and as we are in Islington we would be able to apply albeit with an entrance exam. Northbridge House has been mentioned to me as having good dyslexia support and also St Christophers in Letchworth. Does anyone have any experience/views on these or other potential schools to consider? Would Highgate school be too academically challenging for her? Don't want her to feel intimidated and out of her depth. We will obviously visit the schools and judge for ourselves but any further options to consider or useful info about an of the schools mentioned would be great. Thanks
I'd say entry to DAO is unlikely as even the top kids per class don't get in, even with a year of intense preparation. I think the odds are something like well in excess of 1000 kids test for 65 places. A child who struggles academically is unlikely to succeed.
Being dyslexic is not the same as not being academic, though obviously you can be both. Has she had a full assessment done. This should give you some idea of her strengths and weakenesses and the person giving the assessment may well have knowledge of local schools and how suitable/supportive they would be.
There is not necessarily a correlation between a less academic school and good dyslexia support. Its more a case of looking at your daughters strengths and weaknesses and trying to find a good fit. If you are reasonably open with a secondary school, acknowledge there are weakensses along with the strengths and offer to help support, they will decide whether she will cope. One advantage of the British system is that you really specialise at A levels, so a child who is, say, weak at English but good at science ought to take off at that point.
A few ideas:
1. If your child is having to concentrate hard in the classroom think about smaller classes and a quieter culture.
2. If a girls is good at maths/science but stuggles with english think about co-ed. More boys than girls seem to have this profile.
3. Look at her friendship group and where they are going. It sounds odd but at primary DD was friendly with a group of nice studious girls, yet the school was recommending she only tried for non selective schools along with the clique already known as "the rich girls". We ignored the school's advice and applied for several academic schools, albeit ones with a slightly wider range. She was offered places at two of them and in sixth form has the same aspirations as her former friendship group.
4. Be prepared to support, especially with maths and English. These are building block subjects and if she struggles with either, this will feed into other subjects, and indeed into life in general. Look at study skills. How does she learn/revise. Is orally with a lot of testing better than trying to read from a book. Listening in class is then very important. Can she find a friend who is prepared, formally or informally, to be a study buddy and allow her to copy notes. If she learns orally and is taking a language see try to find exposure to the language, even if it is listening to French radio, or wathing some classic films etc.
5. Encourage her to do something extra-curricular: drama, music, sport. Good for self-esteem and it also helps build resiliance which might then flow through to the classroom. Ideally the secondary school is one which welcomes achievement in the music room or on the sports field.
My DD is dyslexic and is at North London Collegiate School. It has been fantastic for her, they have given her lots of support. Her self esteem, which was very low when she started in Y7 is much much higher now. Drama, music and art are really important there as well as the more academic subjects, and she has done well at these, which is probably why she is so much happier. The humanities and languages are a struggle, and the school is sympathetic. Her maths and sciences are good.
I realise that NLCS doesn't really have a reputation for being good for girls with learning difficulties, but in our experience they have been great.
Same for us at NLCS! They understand that clever comes in different flavours.
Thanks for writing something encouraging. I know your comments are a year old. We removed our DD from an independent locally as they had no real idea of how to support her. A year of a state school has been relaxing for her, but her spelling seems to have regressed, so we do wonder if we could ever find a sympathetic and helpful independent school. She is bright, socially gifted and joyful and we would be too sad to see this eroded. I guess we must keep on searching. Thank you.
St Margarets in Bushey for amazing pastoral care and SEN support?
I have a DD at St Chris, and would recommend it.
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