What to Consider When Choosing a Secondary School For a Child With Dyslexia
Deciding which secondary school you would like your child to attend can be a big decision, particularly if your child has dyslexia. If your child has a SpLD, you will want to be confident that a prospective school understands the nature of your child’s specific learning difficulty and can provide appropriate support. So how can you go about establishing this?
1. Be clear on your child’s specific needs
Know the potential barriers that your child has, and the ideal support strategies for them. Also, be clear on any provision that they are receiving in their current school to help them access the curriculum.
If you have a diagnostic assessment report for your child, review it carefully. They usually note your child’s potential barriers to learning and recommendations for further support.
2. Be clear on your child’s interests and strengths
What specific skills and strengths does your child have? How would you like to see your child excel? Can the school support these areas? For example, if your child is musically gifted does the school have a strong music department that can nurture and develop their talent?
3. Be clear on the type of school are you looking for
Different schools provide different experiences. What is important to you? Academic results? Strong pastoral care? Specific resource provision e.g. sporting facilities or a strong music department offering further opportunities? Would you like your child to be educated in a state or a private school?
Include your child at all stages of these discussions – what would they like they secondary school to be like? What type of support do they think they need? Do they have any strong preferences?
Once you are clear on what your child requires from a secondary school, you can start researching your options. This may take a little time, but it can really help you to make an informed decision.
Start by looking to see which schools are in your locality. The internet is a good starting point. Look at your Local Education Authority (LEA) website. It will detail local schools and the application process, including dates and deadlines. These are important to note, as applications should be made in a timely manner. In many areas competition for places at schools can be strong, you cannot just presume that your child will be offered a place at your preferred school.
Speak with teachers at your child’s primary school. They know your child well. Can they recommend secondary schools that may suit your child and their specific needs?
Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Speak to parents about their experiences and their child’s experiences.
You may not find a school that perfectly meets all of your requirements, but having a vision and knowing what is important may help you decide between two different schools.
Draw up a shortlist of schools you want to visit.
In the next blog ...
We will be looking at what to consider and ask about when visiting a school.