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Finding a Special School

(14 Posts)
imeverywoman Mon 15-Apr-13 09:03:10

I hope someone can offer me some sensible advice to help clear my head.
I live in East Sussex with DH and DD. My daughter has moderate dyslexia with severe dyscalculia and moderate dyspraxia. She is 12 and currently attends an independent school with an excellent LS department. However, the senior school does not provide the same support and we have been "gently" told that she cannot move up to the senior school.
We have been looking at various schools locally that have dyslexic units. But our daughters self esteem is so low currently because of what she describes as people whispering behind her back.
Because if that we are now looking at Special Needs schools because we want all her learning to be in the style she can handle.
We have looked at Frewen College. The Ofsted reports are a bit old but says the school is good. When DH and I went there it was a weekend so we didn't see normal classes. The facilities looked jaded. Very old computers and a minibus that shouted special needs. I know, I'm being shallow. DD will be going for 3 day evaluation soon.
We have yet to see Northease. But the reputation of boys with severe behavioural problems scares me. And I wonder what that will do for DD self esteem.
The other school we are looking at is Shapwick in Somerset. Excellent reports. Sounds like it has excellent facilities. And if we have to pay that kind of money I want the facilities to be great! We haven't got a statement and haven't got the time for a lengthy tribunal.

We have booked DD for 2 days taster and assessment at Lavant House, a girls school in Chichester. But I feel they will say DDs needs are too great.

Has anyone got experience of the above schools with a girl and any advice to offer me apart from being shallow!


KimBayliss Thu 18-Apr-13 17:30:41


I spent 2 days at Moonhall college in Reigate, Surrey and it was the most nurturing and friendly school I have ever seen. I think they take children up to 16.

Good Luck!

Picasso31 Fri 19-Apr-13 20:37:53

Have you thought about Bredon school in Gloucestershire? Dyslexic DD flourishing there. Mainstream independent school with specialism in SEN but majority of kids have some SEN (mostly dyslexia or dyspraxia). Facilities good, lots of open space, even a school farm.

MIlesdavis Mon 20-May-13 15:44:01

We are also thinking of Lavant House. What did you and your daughter think of it?

DJTom Tue 21-May-13 19:43:47

Hi are there any offer Special Schools in your area other than those ones? hope it all works out


mmm1 Tue 21-May-13 20:25:03

My daughter started Frewen College in year 7 just before xmas she is 12.
She has communication difficulties and dyscalculia and is thriving. There have been some very minor probs as she has social skills problems and they have been dealt with swiftly. She is growing in confidence. The amount of girls is growing now. My daughter is getting the best education and the fight with the authority was stressful but worth it.
Mainstream secondary in Bexhill was not am option if i wanted a happy child. Hope this helps

imeverywoman Sun 09-Jun-13 15:24:06

Sorry for the delay in replying. The taster day at Lavant House was a disaster. Daughter completely withdrew into herself. They said that she wasn't ready and maybe she should practice boarding for a while and possibly apply again next year. Polite way of saying NO WAY!

She has a 3 day taster at Seaford College this week coming which I am dreading. The interview dh and i had with head of SEN was very frank. They said that after examining her Ed Pschy report she would not achieve A-C in GCSE. Could we accept that she is looking at entry level qulaifictions? We are fine with that, we just want her to be happy and not feel excluded in a school and be able to make friends in an all inclusive environment.
We are now looking properly at Northease Manor. It is very near to where we live so she could be a day pupil. The fees are expensive but it is no more than we are paying at the moment for the Independant school she attends now. They don't do monthly payments so I don't know how we will manage that. It is a struggle financially already. We know that obtaining a statement from East Sussex will be extremely difficult. From what I understand, we have to go to tribuanl to get assistance. That could take 18 months? We don't have that time.
Seriously don't know what to do. Help

bulby Sun 09-Jun-13 15:37:22

Have you looked at any mainstream state schools (sorry I'm not local but get the impression the schools you mention are private). Some schools have a specialism in, for example, dyslexia. I am shocked that because a pupil probably won't achieve C entry level is considered the next stage, what about D or below?
Good luck I hope it works out for you.

JakeBullet Sun 09-Jun-13 15:38:45

The difficulty is that most LEAs assume that children will manage in MS (with appropriate support) until it is shown that they cannot which often means a crappy first year for them. However, my DS's MS Primary school have been extremely supportive (he has autism, ADHD, and dyspraxia) and put in additional support for him even before a Statement was agreed. He had a 1-1 right from entering the junior school and eventually her hours were partly funded by the LEA when the Statement went into place.

I know your DD is currently in an Independent school, but what are the State schools around you like? Some can be very nurturing, the secondary school DS will attend has an excellent name for supporting children with SN and I have heard nothing but praise from parents who have children with SN there. Does such a state school exist in your area at all?

Another option if you want to go down the Statementing route is to place your DD wherever seems right for her but coincide this with a push towards Statementing. The only thing is that the LEA will not want to fund Independent schooling placements for one child with their limited budget. I am not sure about the ins and outs of that though so it might be something to look into.

Good luck though, it is hard trying to get the right support for our children and it really shouldn't be like that.sad

mum2anxious Wed 12-Jun-13 22:11:45

You could try the Drive Prep in Hove. It's not a special school but an independent ( up to 16) with good SEN dept. It depends on how much help your DD needs. there's also Newlands in Seaford which is meant to be good for dyslexia. another place over in Kent is Bethany School.( north of Frewen) they are all MS private schools which are 'CRested'.
If she needs more support then Northease/Frewen are the only ones in the area. How is she socially, is she anxious? These are things you may want to consider.

Anyway...good luck

MagMan Wed 26-Jun-13 22:26:43

VV happy with Frewen. They have listened and gone the extra mile with us.

Badgers5 Sun 30-Jun-13 16:51:52

My DD went to Seaford College. She is a bright girl but needed help with her Dyslexia and under achievement. The weekly support they gave her enabled her to go to university. Not in the same support league as Stanbridge Earls School.

imeverywoman Fri 07-Mar-14 19:55:54

I just wanted to update everyone with what we ended up doing. My daughter went to Seaford College for a trial 3 days. She lasted one day and we had to pick her up and take her home. She completely retreated into herself so they couldn't get anything out of her.
We went to Frewen for a trial. She was offered a place but there was something about the school that didn't sit comfortably with my husband and I.
We then did the trial at Northease Manor. At last my daughter was happy after her trial and we felt comfortable.
She has been there now since September and the difference in her confidence and ability us amazing.
She made friends with the other girls in her class immediately. That has never happened before. She has never had real friends at school before.
She is learning well and progress beautifully. It is such a joy to see my lovely daughter look forward to going to school. Her confidence has grown immensely and she now believes that she is the same as everyone else not less.
The school is extremely expensive and there is no hope of a statement. So we will grin and bear it for the next 4 years. It will be worth it.
DD has finally found a place where is not excluded and feels at home. You can't put a price on that.

Expatmomma Fri 07-Mar-14 22:40:28

What a wonderful update. We are currently trying to secure a place in similar schools for Sept 14. It is so encouraging to hear how she is now blooming. Am truly pleased for you.

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