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No support for dyslexia at school. Is this normal?

(29 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 09:57:34

Not sure if I ought to be concerned or not, dd is doing very well at school and that's the main thing.

She's in Yr7. She was diagnosed as dyslexic when she was 7 as was a year behind. We had her assessed privately. Her secondary school asked for a copy of the report which we've provided. Her primary school weren't interested about her dyslexia at all, I had to push for a meeting with their senco who promised xyz and then did bugger all.

Anyway we moved her to a different primary and she came on leaps and bounds, even passed her 11plus though has actually gone to a comp in the next town.

When I gave the dyslexia report to her secondary school they asked me if I wanted her put in remedial classes. I said no as she is doing well at school and I don't want her missing normal classes.

We had parents evening last week and all her teachers are singing her praises, she's top of most of her classes. However her English teacher says her reading age is 11.06, so a year behind.

Now her dyslexia report mentions about how intelligent she is and that she will compensate for her dyslexia well but that this will het harder as she gets older.

Her French teacher hadn't been told she was dyslexic and had a go at dd for been slow copying stuff off the board. When dd told her she was dyslexic the teacher apologised and now helps dd with copying stuff into her book. Dd says she struggles with copying stuff down in German as well. Saying this, both language teachers say she's doing really well and is one of a small number selected to do two languages.

I saw the senco on parents evening who was about suprised I wanted to see her. I asked if dd could do with any support. She said it was my choice not to put dd in remedial classes. It seems its either all or nothing.

I'm not a teacher, I don't have a clue about dyslexia. A friend at college who was dyslexic found having stuff on different coloured paper helped, so I was wondering if they might suggest stuff like that?? I got the Impression the senco was wondering why I was bothered as dd is doing so well. I'm not a pushy parent but obviously want the best for dd and just don't want her to struggle if she doesn't have to.

Does this lack of interest from the school sound normal? Do I just accept that as dd is doing well then she doesn't need help? Also the school has never said anything about extra time in exams, etc. does this only happen for more severe cases?

nitekite43 Mon 27-Apr-15 13:47:27

I have been asking for my year 6 daughter to be screened for dyslexia since year 3 at her primary. I have just paid to have it done through the British Dyslexia Association, the school now want to do another one. my daughter who is 11 has a reading age of 6.5. she has severe case of maeres-irlan syndrome as well. can anybody tell me why the school wants to do another one

maggi Tue 29-Apr-14 10:04:08

My ds has writing and organisation issues with dyslexia. He finally showed up on the screenings at school in year 7 as having these. He had always struggled and been behind, got bullied and then had ELSA support for the ensuing damage to his social skills. His reading ability is actually higher than his age - until you ask him to read out loud and then you think he is reading in a different language with pauses in weird places, monotone voice, etc.

Anyhow in year 7 the written work load is greater than at primary school and he began to struggle - writing 3 lines in an hours lesson - he was so stressed he began to turn feral. The school solution was to give him extra reading classes for 10 mins 3 times a week during registration. In other words to increase his workload.

His problem was that he is very high achieving verbally and was put in the top streams for all his subjects (in a 12 stream school). It seemed that because he had the knowledge in his head the school weren't interested that he couldn't write it down. Amazing considering exams are written not verbal. The SENCO said 'Yes, he has problems but there are children here who are much worse.' In other words 'We are only able to help the the worst cases'.

My solution was to Home educate. It's brilliant!

flowerpowergirl Thu 24-Apr-14 17:10:45

Marking my place for these resources. Thx

nataliabuckler Fri 28-Mar-14 06:45:52

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Teachercreature Fri 29-Mar-13 12:25:04

Great to know lesley, I'll hang on to that myself for future reference!

lesleyatcrested Fri 29-Mar-13 09:37:51

Can I add a few resources that CReSTeD offer to help parents get the help they need?

When parents ring and ask me for help in similar situations I always recommend contacting the BDA and Dyslexia Action to see if they can offer any help, but we also have a couple of resources available to help parents: The CReSTeD Criteria and the Parents Checklist, both of which can be downloaded (2 pages each) or viewed online.

The CReSTeD Criteria: Our criteria can look at bit scary but basically it is just our idea of what a good school should be able to offer for any child with dyslexia. Ignore the categories for now, just look at it as a list of questions.

The "Parent Checklist" This is an extract from a book written by Ruth Birnbaum, an expert in Special Needs, it offers up lots of questions for parents to think about.

When I speaking to parents I refer to these together as "Parents Homework", if you read through both of these, it's as though someone else has done some of the thinking for you. Not every point is relevant to every child but, by picking out the questions that are, you can use them as the questions to ask your child's school. What are they already doing and why aren't they doing the others?

I know the vast majority of the schools on the CReSTeD register are independent schools but I truly believe there are many state schools out there that do meet our criteria, I would love to add them to the Register but I have the same problem as you guys.... finding them.

Good luck to all of you, if we can be any help at all please call us, we have a freephone number: 0845 601 5013, Mon to Fri 9-5.

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 10:23:29

Dear all (and especially VivaleBeaver, since this was your original question!)

I have now spoken to my SENCo friend and what she said was very interesting. She says that it would have been considered usual to place even a very bright child with dyslexia on the SEND register, but mainly as a protection of her own interests.

In terms of IEPs, she says even if on the SEND register it isn't mandatory to have one - they are used as a benchmark but she says that she feels with bright children they can actually slow down progress. She also says Ofsted is apparently going off them now and the ethos is more that the school would need to show a learning pathway has been planned and monitored. So in other words, they should not just be doing nothing either way.

In terms of support, this might be of interest to all of you. She says have a look at this, the British Dyslexia Association's Dyslexia-Friendly Schools pack:

She recommends having a think about which parts would be helpful for your child and then see the SENCo and try to negotiate more support using this as a basis for your arguments.

Her final - very useful - tip was that with the big changes about to come in that the govt are wanting to give parents more say in what happens, since clearly you are the people with the most experience of your child's particular need (and even when you've taught a long time, each child's needs ARE different so I think it's a great idea.) She said with this in mind you could use the research into what schools can do and persuade the school it's a good idea to be doing more.

Hope this helps! smile

mummychris Mon 25-Mar-13 21:53:01

Thanks for all your support guys smile

bruffin Mon 25-Mar-13 17:46:19

I forgot to say DS has never had a formal diagnosis of dyslexia or anything else and his primary school said that if he was an average pupil he would have not got the extra help he did. This was because although he was not a long way behind what was expected for his age, he was a long way behind the rest of him ie the difference between his comprehension and his writing in yr 6 sats was 4c to a 5b.

bruffin Mon 25-Mar-13 17:40:13

She sounds similar to my DS who has been top sets and i had a similar problem with languages when he started secondary. He had been on SN register at primary but because he scraped a 4c by 1 point in writing he was taken off the register. His comprehension, maths and science all very high 5s.

Because he was top set in secondary his language teachers expected him to get 75% every test and was given lunch time detention if he didnt. I went to see the senco who agreed he should be back on the SN register. She also had a word with language teachers who backed off. I also got him moved down sets in MFL over the next few years.
Once he started doing gcses teachers started to realise the areas he struggled with and the SENCO tested him and he was given 25% extra maths and 10% extra for writing exams. His problems are not so much reading, but spelling and organisation.
It gets easier as they get older because they can start to concentrate on what they are good at. Biggest regret was DS taking German for gcse where he didnt do well compared to the rest of his subjects.

Had a little problem so far in A levels but hopefully its sorted and he is on the right track now.

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 16:25:48

Mummychris I'm very glad to hear you're getting a caseworker to help, sounds ideal. They should be able to advise how to get the school to meet their obligations - I'm not surprised your trust has been ruined. Just remember that your son is entitled to support and hang on in there! Very best of luck with it!

mummychris Mon 25-Mar-13 16:15:57

Well Iv spoken with parent partnership today and having had a lengthy conversation with them they are proceeding to put me in touch with a case worker to help me with the school. Having went into school on Friday I was promised coloured paper would be put into place today but low and behold nothing. Must trust with the school is rock bottom !

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 14:23:50

Wow then I am just totally stunned to hear how poor the support is given the need - and you must be exhausted with battling already.

"To be able to read fluently" is indeed a ridiculous target. And how they arrange support is their problem, not your DD's!

In theory support can and should be achieved at any school since each child is 100% entitled to a good education - but as you've already sadly found, in practice this can sometimes take a huge fight.

With regard to where next - I always suggest to parents trying to get the support from existing school first if possible, since you are absolutely in the right here and sometimes you find a couple of meetings (especially with the head) can solve the issue. Sometimes the school just needs to be made more aware.

But if they still don't sort it after that then it depends on how you and your family feel - you could certainly go the whole complaint route and force the school to sort it out, but if (understandably) you are sick of fighting, then another school could indeed be much better. Schools are definitely not all the same - my last place was extremely dyslexia friendly with a great SENCo and as a result we had a lot of children shifted to us (who then blossomed). If looking for another school, read their Ofsted reports, visit the schools, ask to talk to their SENCo and establish how they'd plan to support your daughter, and see if you can get any recommendations whether via locals or the web.

Special schools are not very common nowadays and I gather it is fairly hard to get a child into one, but you could have a look here for one and see what you think:

I think you could also use some specialist support on your side too - there are some support groups mentioned on that site too, perhaps try them? Or the BDA? I'm sure they must have encountered many cases like this and might be able to give you more specific advice and help.

And I really am very sorry to hear what a hard time you're all having. It's heartbreaking - it shouldn't be this way, and I am really hoping the changes coming in will make life better for all.

kalpamum Mon 25-Mar-13 13:51:30

Thank you Teachercreature. Yes it is a Statement. I just feel so lost at the moment what to do. At primary at the end of yr 6 they had put in place 1to1 with lots of programs to support all aspects of difficulties mentioned above. These only were in place for 6 weeks, also had full support for SAT's after we had argued for this. We have a SALT report with a plan for 1to 1 support.

These have not carried on at high, and the targets on IEP are ridiculous and not SMART, one being 'to be able to read fluently'. This is not a short target that is achievable. School also state that DD does not have the time to do extra support on top of the curriculum.

If we have already got these problems in yr7 is it worth the battle; or am I in a no win situation if this is the school's attitude. I wonder if I should be looking for an alternative school or are they all the same! I don't know how severe a child has to be to get a place in a SS.

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 13:35:09

* re targets on IEP - and Realistic! Was so indignant at hearing your daughter's experiences I forgot one!

Teachercreature Mon 25-Mar-13 13:06:03

Kalpamum I haven't taught in secondary school but that sounds all wrong to me just based on what I have read in the Code of Practice. I am amazed that a child with a statement is not getting more support, that's incredible. (Can I just check she does have an actual statement, not just an IEP - have I understood that correctly?) Also absolutely agree your DD should not be expected to tell teachers she needs help - they should know.

What I do know for sure is that if she is supposed to have 12.5 hours support and someone reading etc this should most definitely be happening. I'd be interested to hear exactly what support the school say they are giving "within the curriculum"? Does that mean they are providing differentiated work at the proper level for her, or does it mean "she copes ok so we leave her to it"?! Give the issues you outline I feel she should definitely have more support, even more so if there is a TA in the room. Plus if she has a statement then she should definitely be given extra exam time.

IEPs - they do recommend only a few targets so as to not overload the child. They should be Specific, Measurable and Achievable, with clear achievement and exit criteria. Once achieved new targets should be set - this enables gradual progress.

I don't think you are asking too much at all - I'm only sorry to hear you're having to fight so hard to get what your daughter is entitled to. I'd suggest first step is to request a meeting with SENCo/head and make your concerns very clear to them, pointing out that they are not meeting the agreed support levels and that it's obvious your daughter needs support in order to progress. (Which she can - I have taught several dyslexic children over the years and the right support makes a world of difference to them.)

If they fail to sort it out you then have two ways to progress:

1) If she does have an actual statement then yes, you could request an early review.
2) You can complain above the head. There is a whole complaints procedure here:

You might also like to take a look at this as well as the current Code of Practice I mentioned in an earlier post - it spells out the current problems and children's rights, and sounds like your DD's school should be thinking about it too! (there is a further link on the side to proposed changes).

I hope that's of some use to you - if you need anything else let me know and I can speak to my SENCo/secondary friends. Very best of luck!

kalpamum Mon 25-Mar-13 12:41:33

VivaLeBeaver - My experience so far with High school has not been very successful. I think it helps to discuss the difficulties with your child and come up with some of your strategies she can use at school and the links above are very useful. I feel at this age school expect the child to take control and make teachers aware of the help they need, but as my DD says she is embarrassed to say in front of the class and when she does ask for help is told to wait or she is not the only child in the class room so not been helpful so far for us.

Teachercreature can I ask what the norm is at secondary school. We fought hard at primary and DD only diagnosed with severe dyslexia in yr six after we went private for assessments (Is 4/5 yrs behind in reading). We have now a statement in place but is very wishy washy 12.5hrs support. Only states support is required in literacy and maths with no description how and time spent on this. Also support for speech and lang, social and emotional, fine motor skills, sensory, vestibular. At the moment school only providing 1hr a week for DD to do a computer reading and spelling program. Meant to read once a week to someone but not happening! We have questioned this with school and they say that everything is supported within the curriculum. Only 2 targets on IEP. I can't see how when language is 3 yrs behind along with Auditory processing in lowest 1% DD can cope with no 1to1 support. Although there is a TA in the classroom DD does not get any extra assistance she reports and no reader/extra time in tests.
Is this the norm in high schools, am I asking for too much? At the moment I think I need to request an early statement review, I feel we have wasted yet nearly another year of trying to gets support in place.

tethersend Mon 25-Mar-13 00:19:46

It is her subject teachers' responsibility to accurately differentiate work for her- they will be assessed on this. However, they cannot do this unless they know about each child's needs and abilities. The easiest way for this information to be disseminated is via an IEP which is circulated to all her teachers.

The SENCo is being negligent. It is her responsibility to ensure that your DD's teachers are able to meet her needs (leaving aside exam access arrangements).

Ask her for a meeting to discuss how your DD is being supported in class. During the meeting you can ask where she is on the Code of Practice and suggest that the strategies you discuss can be written up as part of her IEP.

Support takes many forms, not just withdrawal classes. Any SENCo worth their salt will know that.

Teachercreature Sun 24-Mar-13 23:59:34

One more thought I just had re SEN/IEP - I know the IEP only records "that which is additional to or different from the differentiated
curriculum plan, which is in place as part of provision for all children". ie anything different from the others. If your daughter is coping really well, this is why she may not have one.

In which case, what I said earlier could be wrong and the school might actually not be required to put her on the SEN register if they are not "intervening". However I am not 100% sure which is true as I haven't yet taught a dyslexic child who didn't need some extra support! (And it should still be in her records.) It may not be a statutory requirement - if you can't find it in the Code of Practice (just scanned it quickly myself but brain switching off cos it's late, sorry!) then I suspect the BDA would know - you could ask them. Or I have a friend who is a very good SENCO and could ask her for you if you like?

Teachercreature Sun 24-Mar-13 23:34:17

Ladies I'm so very sorry to hear of the trouble you're having! I've been lucky enough to teach in highly supportive schools myself but I know from parent friends (and reading up on SEN online for them) that SEN support isn't always what it should be - yes it does seem to vary a great deal from school to school.

VivaLaBeaver - I hope you find a good tutor, I know they can be fab. I had a girl who was severely dyslexic and made wonderful progress with one, so I am sure your daughter (since she sounds like she is already coping very well indeed) would benefit. If she is a diagnosed dyslexic, yes she should be on the register. The extra time question is one I've seen come up before - sounds like your school haven't done anything about it yet. There's a link at the bottom which may help. You do indeed have the right to request support from them, no matter how well your daughter is doing. You can also request a copy of the school's own SEN policy, which they legally have to provide. Incidentally it is also possible to make staff aware of an issue/special need without being on the SEN register, since there will be internal staff communication - but she should still be on there anyway.

Also Caz05 and Jambalaya are both right in what they said. Currently the SEN register goes School (or Early Years) Action, School Action Plus, Assessment, Statement. Statement is very rare and hard to get nowadays.

Mummychris I also definitely would agree try SENCO first then if no joy try the head. If that still doesn't work you can also complain to LEA - there's a whole complaints procedure. I can't comment on exactly what support your son might need without seeing him/his work but I can tell you that if the school has agreed to something they really need to be sticking to it and that gives you very good grounds for complaint. The stuff re statements and IEPs they told you is not correct.

If there's anything else anyone would like to know specifically please do ask - if I don't know myself I have friends in secondary who can help. In the meantime here are some links which might be useful. (You might also be interested to know that there are changes in coming in to improve the whole of SEN - what this means is schools will need to be ensuring their SEN support is up to scratch and Ofsted will be interested to hear from unhappy parents.)

This one is particularly useful as it specifies the current Code of Practice for SEN and lays out what all schools should be doing (both primary and secondary) - they must abide by this:

Info on dyslexia and extra time in exams from the British Dyslexia Association:

Rules re extra time for tests in KS2:

Rules re extra time for GCSE:

Best of luck one and all!

JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 24-Mar-13 22:19:10

If she has a dyslexia diagnosis she's entitled to this stuff, regardless if how well she's doing.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 22:15:44

They've never said if she's on the SEN register or not, never mentioned anything about school action, she's never taken a test to her or my knowledge to see if she can have extra time in tests.

Her form tutor didn't know she was dyslexic until I told him.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 24-Mar-13 22:11:25

And once the test confirms the extra time, she's entitled to it for all tests she does - spelling tests in English, vocabulary tests in German - it's not just for the 'proper' exams. smile

JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 24-Mar-13 22:09:50

The teachers would only know if she was on the SEN register, and with a dyslexia diagnosis she should be, at School Action level.

They have to do a test to be allowed extra time, at our school, everyone on the register does it.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 24-Mar-13 22:00:17

teachercreature. Thanks for the reply. That link looks very good, ill have a good look at the stuff on there. The specialist tutor at home is a good idea. I'll ask around and see if I can find a tutor with an interest/experience of dyslexia and see if some sessions might help dd with her reading. The senco is going to make sure all her teachers know about dd's dyslexia which they currently don't! Her English teacher didn't know either!

mummychris. Sounds like you're having similar problems with what we had with dd's first primary school. They promised they'd put her on class action after I pushed for it but then never actually did anything. Dd never has had an IEP as I was told she wasn't bad enough to need one. Even though she was dyslexic and a year behind at the time. School said she needed to be two years behind before they'd statement her. When I asked what I could do to help her at home they told me not to do anything as if I gave her extra stuff to do it would stress her out. I'd have thought that been behind and struggling at school would be more stressful. I ended up moving her to a different school.

I never told her new primary that she was dyslexic, I wanted to see how it went. It was a small rural primary with only 12 kids in her class and with the extra attention she blossomed. But we were lucky there was a state school like that nearby.

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