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 Post subject: Help!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
Posts: 44
Location: south
Have posted this in the SEN section too so apologies if you've read it twice!

have a real dilemna and any feedback and advice would be really welcome.

I have 5 children 4 of whom are all at the same independent secondary school. My youngest DS is hoping (in fact is desperate) to go there too in Sept 2010. They pretest them for entrance in year 6- he didnt pass. We took him out of his junior school and sent him to a feeder prep to give him the best chance of getting in when he resat the pretest in year7. THey offered him a place following the resit (he still fell short but not significantly and they felt with lots of encouragement etc etc he would be fine) and he was thrilled but it was ,of course dependent on a satisfactory result in the common entrance paper which he will take in the summer. He was diagnosed as moderately dyslexic in year 5. He is a typical dyslexic in that he cannot organise himself efficiently and his school work is always a struggle for him. It never occurs to him to sit down and do some work, I always have to suggest it. He is not lazy at all and is very good in lessons although perhaps not the most vocal of students but nonetheless, he contributes significantly. His report is glowing in terms of his character and the amount of effort he puts in but he is just unable to show any of his attributes when it comes to exams. He managed a 59% in one of the English CE mocks taken in Dec but the rest of his results are hovering around 30-35% which needs to be 50% by the summer. The school are understandably nervous about taking him. HHe is however an extremely able athlete who loves rugby,tennis,golf and gymnastics. He is also a real outdoor boy and would benefit enormously from all the extra curricular activities on offer e.g Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme not to mention all the competitive sport which this school takes part in. As you can see it is just the academics which are the potential issue. I know it sounds ridiculous to say"just " the academics but we feel so strongly that this school can offer him so much. The other issue of great concern to us is that he LOVES the school . With 4 siblings already there, he is a familiar sight watching the sport on a Saturday and knows many of the staff too. I should mention that it is also my OH's old school so a lot of family attachment. They will only want to do what they feel is right for my son but we have been around in circles so many times that we are beginning to wonder what IS the right decision. We do not have an alternative plan or school. There is the local secondary school which has a very good reputation but he will be going in at Year 9 and will know nobody. Add this stress to the disappointment of his not being at the school he wants to be at and I'm not sure that he will be a very happy boy. There is a special school near us which is for dyslexic kids but it is single gender which we are aginst and we are not that keen on going down this route having already visited this school 2 years ago. Other than that all the local independent schools seem to be fiercely selective and we do not (nor can we afford)want him to go to boarding school.

Sorry for the droning on but this is so hard. We know that he will struggle with his gcse's whichever school he goes to but we feel that we would rather see him struggle in a school where he is happy to be, but of course all students at this school take 10 gcse's so we are considering asking them if they can offer him a clipped curriculum of maybe 6/7 gcses which would be more manageable. We have a meeting with the Headmaster soon to discuss the whole scenario .

Has anybody had a similar experience with their children? I would love to hear what anybody else would do in our situation .


HELP!!!!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:59 pm 
I don't have a similar situation to you other than there is a high probability that DS2 won't get into the same senior school as his brother. As it is one of the most well-known and prestigious schools I am very worried that he will feel bad if he doesn't get in especially as everyone always makes such a fuss of DS1 for getting in.

But in this instance you need to find the right school for your child and it sounds as this is not it. If the school is wary it is probably because he will not thrive there and at the end of the day his happiness is the most important thing. I would not send him to the local secondary school. He has a greater need than any of your other children so in some ways he needs to be found the best education for him. I would look into a school that has a good SEN department or a low CE level, for example Stowe or Haileybury.

Where are you located? What has the prep school advised?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
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Location: south
HI and a huge thankyou for replying. I have emailed you.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:27 am
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Location: Barnet, Herts
My Ds's school Aldenham has a very good SEN dept specialising in dyslexia. 2 boys in my son's year(8)just joined from a specialist dyslexia school(Egerton Rothesay) and are progressing well. Where do you live as Aldenham is a boarding school too.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:39 pm 
Nell,

What about him staying back a year. We have friends whose sons are bright but are very weak in English and Maths. They have decided to keep them back a year and they will enter Year 9 but be Year 10 age. If the senior school you wish would accept this then this could be your best bet. I can't imagine the prep school would have a problem as it would be an extra year of fees. He could also move on not being bottom of the academic group but in the middle which would really help his confidence. Short term he may be a little bothered but you could give him the choice of a different school in his year group or the school he wants but waiting an extra year to go there.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
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Location: south
Thanks for that. We are on Surrey /Hampshire borders but didnt really want him to board. I think we will have to be more flexible though.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:16 pm 
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How much have you involved your son in the decision.

I know you say that he really wants to go to the same school as his siblings but have you discussed the whole situation with him, along with the fact that because of his dyslexia he might not be able to keep up with everyone else.

I really feel for you having to make the decision. However, from my experience (dyslexic son) the most important thing is for him to be comfortable and confident. How would he feel being at the bottom of the class or being in a lower year group? Or would he prefer to look at other options?

Does the school you are interested in know that he is dyslexic and will they be willing to help him or will they just have the attitude of 'his not likely to get 10 gcses so let's not bother'?

Sorry to not be much help. Good luck with your decision.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
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Location: south
Thanks SSM. We have involved him in the decision and we have discussed the fact that he will be in all the low sets and that he is likely to struggle with the work but he is still adamant that that is where he wants to go regardless. Yes it IS really hard . The school do know that he is dyslexic and there is a degree of learning support on offer but whether they are prepared to give him the help he needs, I really dont know. We do have a meeting with the head next week to talk it all through but I think what you said about not bothering with him cos he wont manage 10 gcses might ring true. All will be revealed. I think the school are keen for the decision to send him elsewhere to come from us rather than from them. They don't want to seem to be uncooperative but at the end of the day all we really care about is our sons's happiness. Being a parent is soooooooo hard :cry:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Schools can be quite competitive places. My dd goes to a mixed school so it is probably not as bad as a boys school and everytime the class get a mark back they all compare their grades. As it happens most get around A and 1 for effort but how would you feel if you werent in that ball park. I think it would be soul destroying to have that repeated lesson after lesson.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:40 am 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
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Location: south
Thanks for the advice everyone. We have had another chat with DS - a gentle chat along the lines of how would you feel if you were always struggling etc etc... Tears streamed down his face but with no sobbing just quiet tears :cry: IT was awful. He says he doesn't care that much about being bottom all he cares about is going to this school. We have been to see the head who is very keeen too have him and understands the emotional side but is also very aware that he needs to get some gcse's and if the pace of teaching is too fast for him then he will sink.

For the moment we are going to continue along the very positive path of him achieving as well as he can in the CE in the summer and do everything we can to help him with that. With that in mind I would like to know if anyone has any experience of the Galore Park Revision Guides for CE as I want to set up a work station for him at home which does not rely on him always having the correct books in his bag . Being dyslexic he definitely responds better to interesting looking texts, so some revision guides are better for this than others e.g. the CGP guides are fantastic .
I have re equipped his pencil case and we are building him his own desk area in an effort t make the revision a little easier. I have told him that if he can do 20 minutes a night between now and the summer then that will stand him in good stead. He is very happy to do that as it is not a huge amount but given that he gets home at 6.45 every night, I think it would be too much to expect any more at this stage. Fingers and toes firmly firmly crossed now!!!

Any feedback on good revision guided for CE would be welcome.


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