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Am I too pessimistic?

(11 Posts)
teelizzy Tue 29-Sep-20 09:32:02

DD1 (14) has been self harming for the last 9 months and been seeing a therapist for 5 months. School friendship groups (ie a particularly bullying and toxic one) are a factor. Lockdown too. She's also pretty dyslexic.

School is a well-regraded state school in London, they've been engaged and are following through on their anti-bullying policy and safeguarding.

Some friends have suggested private options but I'm sceptical because:
-her academic performance is ok but not stellar
- she's dyslexic to a degree that pulls her academic attainment in several subjects below her ability
-with her history so far she is a safeguarding risk for any school she's in

There are realistically three local private options, all selective. Am I being overly pessimistic to assume they will be very reluctant to take her as a pupil? And is there not a significant risk that even if she were accepted she could be managed out at the schools discretion?

(Please, no well-meant suggestions of boarding, irs not right for us as a family)

DH thinks I'm being overly rigid and discounting too quickly.

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ragged Tue 29-Sep-20 09:54:34

Need to heavily involve the Dd in this decision.

I don't understand why only 3 private schools are possible in London.

I share your pessimism, but when you pay for private you get to lean heavily on them to explain how they would support -- ask them if they could support her before you dismiss them as totally unsupportive of someone like your DD.

Malmontar Tue 29-Sep-20 10:50:06

Are you in N London? Instead of private have you looked at the less well regarded state schools? They usually have waaay better SEN provision. More SEN kids=more money in the pot. Schools like Camden Girls for eg are rubbish with Dyslexics but the ones people don't sell their souls for are really great.
Private will try much harder to support her and will likely get her into the learning support department but you'll probably have to pay extra for that. Have you considered a good dyslexia tutor instead? 1:1 with one at home would be cheaper but could give her the boost she needs.
Lots of kids with SEN develop MH issues without receiving the right support. They are socially aware they are different and aren't doing as well as they can and it can be really hard to accept.

HandfulofDust Tue 29-Sep-20 11:51:38

I would speak to the schools honestly. You might learn alot from their reaction.

teelizzy Tue 29-Sep-20 13:07:49

Thanks all. @ragged there are of course more schools. I have excluded schools where the academic requirements for entry are totally unrealistic for her (think JAGS, Alleyns, CLGS) and/or the commute is too long.

To be clear, dyslexia is not the main driver for considering a possible change, it's her mental health and self harming.

2 of the possibilities declined to take her into their junior school when she was 8.

We're in south London zone 2.

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teelizzy Tue 29-Sep-20 13:29:56

@Malmontar her current school is well regarded but not selective (it's a faith school). I'm not in N London but would share your view on local equivalents to eg Camden, HB with the added complication that they are nearly all grammar schools and therefore fully selective.

I know a fair bit about the 3 local options from friends whose kids attend. One as far as I know has no meaningful learning support and was uninterested in taking her when she was 8, but is viewed as being less picky at senior school level.

Our conclusion was that the most realistic local option was one of the other local comprehensives (which they are as the grammar schools are in the neighbouring LA).

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Malmontar Tue 29-Sep-20 13:40:01

I understand MH is the driver but you need to understand why she's self harming. This is a symptom of or reaction to something rather than an issue in and of itself. If the underlying cause if that she's underaachieving and feels stupid and low, than more specific support is needed around her dyslexia. If it's fuelled by social media and those sorts of pressures, private school can make it a whole lot worse. Im not saying state kids aren't effected by this at all, but ime it is a whole different ball game in privates or very middle class state schools.

ragged Tue 29-Sep-20 14:20:45

useful thread for OP

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/3237399-Non-selective-independent-secondary-school-SW-London

Includes mention of a specialist school for folk with dyslexia.

teelizzy Tue 29-Sep-20 15:24:07

@Malmontar I think on reflection both are potentially factors though the start of self harming coincided with friendship group issues which it took her some time to recognise as bullying.
Her education has been horribly disrupted over the last 6 months as the school sent out endless written assignments which is the worst format for her with no meaningful online teaching.
I had the same concern re social media and a good point in her current school is that they have a clearly stated policy on cyber bullying which they have followed through on.

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Malmontar Tue 29-Sep-20 16:16:20

I see. This is the case with a lot of kids right now, even more so with kids who have SEN. I would speak to the school about the support she could get in terms of dyslexia. Please don't underestimate how belittling this can be. For eg my Y8 DD is being withdrawn by a dyslexia teacher from tutor time and that's working well. She also has a language disorder and her speech and language team has a whole team of mental health professionals as this sadly often really affects SEN kids, especially those that are mentally aware of their social standing and how performance at school affects this. The school should have some extra funds for this (tutoring) so please ask the SENCO. There is a pupil census coming up and they will want her on roll for that, so mention that you're thinking about leaving if something is not put in place.

I would personally get a good quality dyslexia tutor as well. See how she gets on with that until Christmas and then revisit then. We got DD a dyscalculia tutor over lockdown and the difference has been amazing.
People sometimes have this idea that if you throw money at it it'll fix the problem but private comes with its own list of cons too, parents are often very involved and it's harder for kids who bully to get in trouble, and they know this!

teelizzy Tue 29-Sep-20 22:45:33

Thanks @Malmontar. Your last point was exactly what concerns me.

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