As a parent with a child who has additional educational needs such as dyslexia, you’ll be looking for school that balances the academic with behavioural and counselling support, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and social skills training. It won’t have a traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning, but it should offer a tailormade timetable for your child. It may be a school where the visual arts and performing arts take centre stage, and where teaching methods are innovative and creative.
Choosing the right school for your child is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a parent – and if your child has additional educational needs such as dyslexia, then it can feel even more overwhelming. As well as considering curriculum, facilities, cost, academic results and pastoral care, can the school meet the needs of your child?
Depending on the individual needs of your child, you have a choice of schools offering varying levels of specialist provision for dyslexics. A specialist independent dyslexic school such as Appleford School, Frewen College and Fairley House should be considered if your child has moderate to severe dyslexia.
Here we round up the top specialist independent dyslexic schools in the UK, both day and boarding schools.
Read more: Choosing a School for Your Dyslexic Child
Type: Co-ed, day and boarding
Fees: Annual fees range from £20,565 to £21,696 for day students, and are £32,868 for boarders.
Appleford School is a traditional day and boarding school for students aged seven to 16 years with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and associated learning needs. Founded in 1988, this small rural school of around 150 boys and girls, Appleford delivers a more creative, nurturing and supportive alternative to mainstream education.
As well as offering a range of academic, practical and vocational subjects through to GCSE level, the school focuses on encouraging achievement in sporty, creative and adventurous activities.
It’s focused on helping your child to overcome the barriers to learning and success posed by their specific learning and language difficulties. The school balances the academic with personal and social skills to ensure that students not only leave the school with the A Level grades or BTEC certificates but also with the life skills that come with completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and activities as varied as horse riding, judo, tennis and yoga.
There’s a very positive learning atmosphere and supportive that supports a full curriculum leading to GCSEs and BTECs in a range of subjects.
If your child is struggling within a mainstream school, the small class sizes, ICT provision and specialist resources, and teachers with specialist qualifications and experience can offer your child the tailormade education they need – and deserve. And despite being a small school, Appleford is also offering an holistic education where your child can enjoy plenty of co-curricular clubs and activities, sport and outdoor pursuits.
Read our full review of Appleford School here.
Location: Central London
Type: Co-ed, day
Fees: Annual fees are £35,808.
Fairley House is a central London day school for children with learning difficulties that is praised by parents for helping to develop their child’s potential, giving them confidence, and “turning them around”. Students typically attend the school for two to three years before they return to mainstream education.
Founded in 1982 to become a centre of excellence for children with dyslexia or language problems, this day school has become one of the city’s leading specialist schools. With over 35 years’ experience of identifying and teaching children with dyslexia and dyspraxia, Fairley House has a reputation for helping children return to mainstream education with the confidence they need to succeed.
There’s certainly no traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning at the school, and an education balances the academic with behavioural and counselling support, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and social skills training.
The school has three decades of experience teaching children with dyslexia and dyspraxia, so if you are looking for an inclusive school where your child can benefit from the right specialist teaching, support and encouragement – Fairley House has both the reputation and the expertise.
This specialist independent school is focused on helping children with dyslexia and dyspraxia to re-enter mainstream education, and the average stay is two to three years. Its central London location is also a huge plus for city families.
Read our full review of Fairley House here.
Type: Co-ed, day and boarding
Fees: Annual day fees range from £12,600-£19,110 for Years 3-9; and £25,050 for Years 10-13. Annual full boarding fees are £27,660-£34,170 for Years 4-9 and £40,110 for Years 12-13.
Bredon School is a co-ed day and boarding school which offers a dyslexia-friendly education with a very practical approach to learning, a choice of academic and vocational curricula, and an outstanding outdoor education programme.
Founded as a senior boarding school for boys, Bredon has grown into a co-ed day and boarding school open to girls and boys aged seven to 18 years. It’s a happy, relaxed and friendly school that offers outstanding specialist support for students with dyslexia.
It’s not results-driven and, although there’s plenty of academic rigour and a requirement for hard work, the school describes itself as “a greenhouse not a hothouse”. There is plenty of outdoor education going on too.
The school has a unique offering – its dyslexia specialism. This is certainly one to shortlist if you are looking for a school that can offer your dyslexic child an education that fully understands their needs and abilities.
If your child is struggling in a mainstream school, academically and/or emotionally, then this school could be the very real change that they need. The school has also moved with the times to offer both full and flexi boarding which really meets the demands of modern working parents, including those from the Forces and living overseas.
Read our full review of Bredon School here.
Location: East Sussex
Type: Co-ed, day and boarding
Fees: Annual fees range from £19,746 to £29,994 for day students and from £29,193 to £42,450 for boarders.
One of several specialist schools in the UK, Frewen College is a day and boarding dyslexia-friendly school for seven to 19 year-olds. The school is an expert in dyslexia; it’s been specialising in dyslexia and related learning difficulties since 1972; every classroom teacher, including therapists and teaching assistants, has specialist dyslexia training.
There’s certainly no traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to learning at this school, which recognises that “no two dyslexic pupils are ever the same”. Instead you can expect your child to have a very personalised approach to learning that is based on their own Individual Education Plan (IEP). They are taught in small class sizes of up to eight students, so each child can get the attention they need from their teacher, and also encouraged to take part in class discussions.
The location is also wonderful – in the grounds of a Grade I listed Jacobean mansion in the beautiful Wealden countryside; this rural location is a real plus as students get acres of playing fields and grounds, as well as access to another 100 acres of ancient deer park for cross-country runs, orienteering and nature rambles.
Frewen is an excellent choice if your child has Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, and Speech, Language and Communication needs. This is not a traditional school with extra help for dyslexia – it is a specialist school where your child will be given the support they need in all lessons, all of the time.
Its excellent sport facilities and countryside campus means the school can offer a broad outdoor programme, and the option of flexi boarding can really help students to develop their independence.
Read our full review of Frewen College here.
Type: All-boys, day and boarding
Fees: Annual fees range from £14,793 to £18,138 for day students, and from £26,331 to £29,676 for full boarders.
More House School is the largest specialist school in the UK for boys with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Located in Surrey, this independent single-sex school for boys aged eight to 19 years (Year Four to the Upper Sixth) offers a choice of full boarding, weekly boarding and day places.
Founded in 1939, More House is a very well-established specialist school, and it has an excellent reputation for its nurturing education that helps boys with Dyslexia, Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) to flourish.
More House stands out for good reason. Every boy has his own personal timetable which allows him to study subjects based on his individual interests, strengths and talents. This is combined with plenty of extra-curricular activities and specialist support from the Learning Development Centre.
As the school focuses primarily on teaching children with specific learning differences, you know that your child will be getting an education that is tailormade for their needs. The school’s curriculum and approach is much more flexible than a mainstream school, and your child will have access to a range of tools that can support their learning.
The make-up of the student body can also help your child to feel more relaxed as they are working alongside like-minded students, and this can have a hugely positive effect on their self-worth.
Read our full review of More House School here.