Independent schools and learning disabilities

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Genie
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Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby Genie » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:53 pm

Hello everyone

My LO, aged 7, is likely to be diagnosed with a mild learning disorder (dysgraphia). I know that state schools are required to support their students with disabilities, but what about independent schools? Last year, a child at our school was diagnosed with dyslexia; the school did not support his needs and basically encouraged him to leave (which he did). I don't want my child to have to change schools, as the learning disorder has already caused stress. Can independent schools brush away children with disabilities, or are they required to support?
thanks.
Bibbity
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby Bibbity » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:43 pm

It depends a lot on the individual school, I am afraid. My own (unfortunate) experience with a pre-prep in Peckham is that schools talk about inclusion and support for the sake of a good public face but when it comes to being inclusive and providing support, they are less forthcoming and can even be hostile.

Re dysgraphia, can you check if the school is Crested accredited? I don't know if that would make a difference. Are you considering The Dominie? The head at my child's school was very critical of his writing (in reception) which I found quite a shortsighted and narrow perspective on his abilities.
2009Kat
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby 2009Kat » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:49 pm

In independent schools there is a contract between parents and school which governs the relationship and provision. State schools are different and are also bound by the provisions of the law/code on SEN (which do not apply to independent schools although they are of course entitled to follow them).
Independent schools are however bound by the Equality Act and therefore cannot discriminate against disabilities and should make “reasonable adjustments”.
In reality and extremely sadly some independent schools just ask children with difficulties to leave.
Genie
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby Genie » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:46 am

Thanks everyone. Your responses, along with some anecdotal stories I've heard, has been very disheartening. The school won't formally test for another 10 months, so when they do so we'll see if they follow through on the promises made on their website. I would be grateful for any other advice, or to hear your experiences.
JKEducate
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby JKEducate » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:20 pm

Dear Genie
I'm sorry you are feeling anxious about your child's potential diagnosis. I hope you will find this useful:

Having talked to many head teachers at independent schools, I'd say the consensus seems to be that if they are able to support that child and meet for their needs then they are very happy to have them in their independent schools, as long as they can independently access the curriculum and keep up. The school is happy to amend and support the children with mild spld… give them laptops, extra time etc. However, if the needs of a child applying to their school are more significant and, having read the EP report they feel they cannot support the child, then they will not offer them a place. They ask for full disclosure and to read all professional reports before deciding if they can meet that child’s needs in their school. They judge it case by case.

If you would like to discuss your situation further with us, please call 020 3488 0754.

We could also explore whether extra specialist help might support your child both ahead of and after any diagnosis, and help them stay in their current school.

Best wishes,
Katie Krais
JK Educate
Bibbity
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby Bibbity » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:36 pm

The thing is Katie, that there is a big difference between what schools say, and how they behave when the real child turns up and (a) starts eating into their profits and (b) won't necessarily be adding to their leavers' destinations list in they way they'd like. PR is one thing. An actual child is another.

If you are a parent of a child with special/additional needs who has been well received and accommodated by an independent school, please do tell me about the school. I would love to hear about it.
K1999
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby K1999 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:24 am

We moved our son from a state school to a all boys Prep school at year 3. He was being ignored in a classroom of 30 kids & teacher was pretty awful.

The prep school was lovely and after a year they suggested we have him assessed and we found out he is dyslexic. He really benefitted from smaller classes and extra learning support. Plus the school was very sporty and he loved sport.

Personally I think it was the best move we could have done and worth every penny.
ladyofacertainage
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby ladyofacertainage » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:00 am

I write this as a mother not an expert. My son, now 20 and at university went to Dulwich College at 11, it was them that picked up his dysgraphic tendencies, all boys were screened on entry at 11 for any problems and referred on for further assessment (at parents expense) . I think this still happens. He was well supported with one to one sessions in year 7 and 8, once up to speed he used a laptop and had extra time in his public examinations with absolutely no hassle for us, all sorted through school. He could go back to the learning support department whenever he needed help. There are lots of boys there with mild dyslexic/dysgraphic/dyspraxic problems and it is seen as normal., lots of boys using laptops as a day to day aid.
However if they are really struggling and severely dyslexic/dyspraxic problems it may not be the school for them as it's big and requires and amount of organisation.
I suggest you phone up any school you are considering and ask to speak to the Learning Support department, from hearing friends tales it can be very revealing, and you get a good feel of how receptive and supportive a school may be.
Red5
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby Red5 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:35 pm

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I hear so many stories of children with special needs being ignored in the private sector, there is little support for them. You really are far better off in the state sector where funding will go directly to your child once they have an EHCP or asking for funding to go to a special needs private school. There are a few private mainstream schools that promote good practice in this area, but you will be hard pushed to find them.
Flambeau
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Re: Independent schools and learning disabilities

Postby Flambeau » Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:03 pm

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the consensus here regarding independent schools and SEND.

What they say and they actual do in reality of what the implement in the school and in the classroom environment are two different things.

In primary school, I do think that it is better to select a well performing state school with a good SEND provision. Read their SEN policy, also ask for their SEN Information report all state funded schools are required to publish this information.

I would also meet with and speak to the SENDCO in the school, to see what support is available. but remember you are your child's best advocate and sometimes you have to be a velvet bulldozer to get your child the support that they need. This will either be an easy collaborative process or an up hill battle dependent upon how equipped the school is in terms of their SENDCO provision.


You may wish to make different choices as your child grows and goes onto secondary school, as you and your child are more familiar with their SEND, but also more able to verbalise ( assuming there are no communication difficulties) what support they are or are not getting. The smaller class sizes and specialist attention at a high performing independent school with a good SEND Provision may be just what they need.