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Oxford secondary school for dyslexic child(10 Posts)
My DS1 is in year 6 and has been in a north Oxford state primary school since yr 1. We are guaranteed a place at Cherwell and also have a good chance of getting in to the new Swan school.
DS has always struggled with learning and always seems reluctant/lazy and gets really stressed with homework which I have had to do a lot with him to manage to get him to scrape through to be a low average for his age. His problems areas are maths, spelling and literacy. He has never read independently although he is able to. He just doesn't seem to be switched on by this!
The school dismissed dyslexia in early yr 4 after carrying out an assessment for him because he was still 'low average' where he scored poorly dispite the fact that he was scoring extremely high in his visual skills.
I decided to have him reassessed before his STATS and before he goes to secondary school and the analysis shows he IS dyslexic. It was carried out by a highly trained assessor. His scores were 145 for visual and around 85 for other stuff.
It's always been obvious that he's very visual and I have known that this style of learning would suit him and I guess this is why a stretched state school has been a struggle for him. However socially he has been happy with the school. We have gained much as a family from integrating with the community school and I feel it's been a good choice for this.
I had a meeting with his primary following the dyslexic diagnosis and the SEN said there was nothing the school would or needed to do for DS as he was achieving average results (albeit low) - they would however give him extra time in his SATS.
I was hell bent on him going to Cherwell or Swan even though, if I am honest, we could stretch ourselves and send him to private. The main reason for this is a) the cost of private education b) I want my children to mix with all classes of society.
Now I really am wondering if I am doing the right thing. Am I being pig headed about point (b) and at the detriment of my son's education? Will he be held back at achieving his potential (probably creative) because the state secondary schools will have the same remit as the state primary school to make sure that each child only gets into the average (low average albeit) and then their mission is done?
I am in no way criticising state schools for this, I can see that they have a job to do and do not have the resources to get the best out of our children only to get them to the level they are required to. I guess my son is not 'bad enough' to warrant extra help.
I could and do encourage him at home to explore his creativity by going to an external art group but wonder if I am doing all that I should?
I should mention that, if any, the state secondary I would consider would be Leckford Place.
Thanks so much in advance x
To be honest, I'm a bit gobsmacked that you would think Cherwell school would only be interested in "the average" for its pupils. It has the highest Progress 8 and Attainment 8 in the county and amongst the highest in the country. I have no idea what its SEN provision is like though.
Have you thought about the Unicorn school in Abingdon which is a specialist school for dyslexia?
Thanks for your reply. I think I didn’t make my point clear about ‘average’ results.
No I completely agree with you - Cherwell is amazing and acheives far higher than average results! My point was for my own child and the fact that, as he is SEN once the current primary school sees he is achieving ‘average’ results they let him settle at that and don’t push him/try to teach him in a visual manner to go beyond that. That’s what I was saying. I was not critiscising Cherwell or it’s results.
My knowledge of Unicorn is limited. I thought it was for more severely dyslexic children. But maybe I am wrong?
I would go and talk to both schools and ask to speak to their SENCOs. Really the best school for a dyslexic child often depends on the SENCO.
I probably wouldn't be as keen on a new u tried school, as it is a risk, but with the right person it is a chance to make sure every teacher is on board.
My DS went to a highly desirable Comp a bit like Cherwell and it was a breath of fresh air after his (high sought after) Primary. But a lot of that was due to a fabulous SENCO, people from a couple of years before she arrived didn't have such a great experience.
Where does your son want to go?
You need to ensure the school will allow for his needs. Like if the school is streamed will he be in bottom set (because of dyslexia)? This frustrated my child as she loved English but was always in bottom set and often missed out on what top set were doing (having a favourite author visit). It was a huge frustration. So make sure the school he goes to can make allowances for him and not just put him in the bottom sets - unless that’s as best he can do.
If you can stretch to private you couldn't do better than Bruern Abbey near Bicester. It is weekly boarding. Fabulous school. Our grandson goes, loves it, and it has transformed his life. The boys can come home on Wednesday night so only 3 nights of boarding.
Leckford Place has a wonderful SENCO- absolutely fantastic. The art teacher (Wendy) is amazing, and the maths teacher for kids who struggle (Sarah) is the best around. Her students often say that maths is their favourite subject.
I think Leckford can be a very good place for a child like yours, with it's very relaxed friendly atmosphere and lots of academic support and personalised encouragement.
Shiplake College seems to be very supportive of Dyslexic pupils. My DS has 3 friends who are there and doing well
Bruern Abbey is prep not secondary, so your DS would only have 2years there, OP, but the school's aim is to support dyslexics to return to mainstream secondaries, so might be worth looking at, as Buddywoo said? It's day, flexi or weekly boarding, not mandatory boarding three nights a week, if that helps...
Similarly I think most children go to the Unicorn for a period of time with a view to going back to mainstream, whether state (often) or independent.
Very bright children with specific weaknesses often do slip through the net because they can use their strengths to compensate - but this gradually becomes harder to do, and anyway takes more energy. You might very well find a period of specialist input - however you obtain it - could help your child fill in gaps and understand better how they need to work, and maximise their ability to fulfill their potential in a standard school environment thereafter.
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