Educating your daughter

Her education begins at home and continues with playgroup, school, college and perhaps university. Decisions, decisions...

Should my daughter move out of her sixth form environment?

Written by Julie Lodrick on 03/03/2013

Q. My daughter was very low and lacking in motivation last year and her performance at school was declining. She is extremely disorganised and this led her into arguments with her housemistress and missing prep deadlines. She saw a doctor who said she might just be under-pressure and that her symptoms would improve after her GCSEs . However, last summer her mood did not improve and so I took her to a specialist who diagnosed her with depression and ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

After her GCSEs, she moved to a big boarding school for her A levels which is very different from her previous school and her depression and ADHD has seriously affected her performance. She recently failed nearly all of her exams. I didn’t tell her new school about her diagnosis as my daughter is very self-conscious and she doesn’t want others to know about it, particularly because the school is very academic and stressful. She is receiving support for her organisation skills but it doesn’t seem to help. I am wondering about taking her out of school for a while until she gets her motivation back, and sending her back to a less stressful school, however, she would then finish school very late. Can you advise?

A. I can understand why you did not tell your daughter’s current school about her ADHD, especially at Sixth Form level when girls can be incredibly self-conscious and worry about perceptions. She may also think that if her teachers know about the ADHD, then it might affect her grades and progress in class. However, before you make any decision to remove your daughter from school, I would strongly recommend that you go in and see the school to explain the full situation. My suggestion would be to talk with her Housemistress in the first instance, as she will be experienced in dealing with these kinds of issues. You could also ask the doctor who diagnosed the ADHD, to write a letter explaining the diagnosis, which would then help the school to get a full picture of your daughter’s condition. The school will be able to then advise you and your daughter what the best course of action would be for her in terms of getting treatment or if, indeed, it would be sensible for her to have some time off school to recover. It may be very possible that she is able to receive treatment and begin the road to recovery whilst she remains in school and continues with her studies.

There are possibly additional academic factors affecting why your daughter did not do so well in her recent exams so as well as some medical treatment, the school might recommend some additional help outside class – perhaps some tutoring or some one-to-one sessions with support staff. The most important thing is to speak to the school who will be sympathetic and will be able to help you.

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