We receive a great many enquiries from international parents looking for specialist support for their child in a UK school because this is simply not available in their own country. SEN teaching is highly developed in UK private schools and we can usually find a suitable school for a child. Bear in mind, however, that additional learning support in a boarding school will incur an extra cost and specialist SEN school fees are much higher than those of a mainstream school.
There are numerous types of SEN which can cause learning difficulties for children. The most common is dyslexia and it is estimated more than 4% of the UK population are dyslexic. However there are many other conditions that can affect a child’s ability to learn and progress at school, including:
Most SENs are graded according to severity and there are several different types of school to cater for the various levels of need.
There are specialist schools for each SEN and we find most to be wonderfully happy places. However, they are often avoided by parents who would much rather their child went to a mainstream school with a learning support unit. Unfortunately some parents still feel a stigma in having their child labelled as in need of specialist care.
Our approach is generally to try to show parents both types of school, but of course this depends on the diagnosis of the condition and its severity.
British boarding schools probably have the best learning support units in the world but before they will consider a child for admission they have to be sure they can provide the right support and facilities. That means that MOST schools will ask to see a recent Educational Psychologists report before they will allow parents to visit or register their child. Please discuss this with us first. If you do not have one, we can usually recommend an Educational Psychologist in London, but bear in mind it can take a month to get the report which then results in two visits to the UK.
Next tip – start as young as you can. Most senior schools are "selective", meaning your child has to pass a stretching admissions test. The older they get, the more difficult this could be. If we can place a child in a preparatory boarding school, especially of the "all through" variety, it can make the transition / progress to senior school a lot easier. In the case of dyslexia the condition often is diagnosed around age 7 and thus it is preferable to get the child into the right school before the age of 10 if possible.
Next issue – cost. Once you get to senior boarding school the average annual cost is now on average £30,000 +. If your child needs several extra learning support sessions with therapists per week, you could find the cost escalating to circa £40,000 per annum. If your child needs a specialist school, the cost could even rise to £50,000 to £70,000, especially if they are in need of constant supervision.
Next issue for international parents – visa issues. Most mainstream boarding schools do not have a problem issuing CAS letters for visa applications. However some of the specialist schools do not have Tier 4 status, which means they cannot accept children needing visas.
We handle many SEN assignments. They can take quite a long time and we have to charge consultancy fees. We don't take on cases unless we believe we can succeed – so best to call us first on +44 1622 813870 for a free initial consultation or complete an Enquiry Form We will need to see copies of your child’s previous school reports and the medical diagnosis.
25th September 2017
20th September 2017
19th September 2017