So Ruth Kelly has sent her dyslexic son to private school because his state school hadn't made sufficient provision for his learning difficulty. Now I'm all for parents being able to choose whether to educate their kids privately or courtesy of the state (yes, even MPs), but what saddens me is that state schools seem to be failing students with learning difficulties, despite stringent screening and sizeable government bursaries to assist with these kids. What worries me the most is that a huge percentage of kids seem to be slipping through the screening net and going through their 11-13 years of education without dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD etc being picked up on. My brother is a prime example of one of these kids, he's clearly dyslexic, and exhibits all the tell-tale tendencies of a kids with learning difficulties, yet he has been 'screened' twice and nobody ever seemed to pick up on the fact that he wrote backwards until he was 7, cannot read analogue clocks, cannot tell his left from his right and frequently struggles to read long paragraphs of text. He had the vocabulary of an 8 year old at 4 but he can't tell the time. Friends with dyslexic kids have all told us that this is definitely dyslexia, yet because of his lack of statement he never received any additional help in his entire school career, and my mother (like Ruth Kelly) decided to take personal responsibility for his education and got him private English lessons once a week. This helped but was not enough, and he left school with a handful of low-grade GCSEs and a general disillusionment with the education system.
I just think it's so sad that there are, literally, thousands of children out there with almost identical problems to my brother. Bright kids that simply need a bit of extra help. And now they're thinking of scrapping SATs at 11 and 14 and replacing them with more flexible, frequent yearly tests. Students that struggle will get 'additional one-to-one tuition' - my one question is "Who will administer this tuition, then? Because teachers certainly won't have enough time? And if it's not teachers then who else is qualified to provide this tuition?"
I'm SO home-schooling my kids for at least the first two years, by the time I have them I'll be terrified to release them into the system. Best to remove them altogether for a bit and let them learn in a way that suits them.