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Old 19.11.2011, 20:12
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Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

Hi,

I have twin boys 8 years who are high achievers and don't fit well in to the Swiss school system. One of the twins far exceeds the level of maths in the class and is bored and frustrated, however he has Irlen syndrome and we have just ordered special lenses for him from the USA, he finds reading without overlays bdifficult. Both have ADHD and Dyslexic tendancies and are misbehaving a little in class, due to frustrations and various other issues including bullying.The School Gemeinde is recommending that they both go to Sonderschule, we can accept that for one twin, but the other twin is definately gifted and talented in maths and music, but is struggling with reading because he needs the glasses. Thinking on to later in life, how damaging is it to have Sonderschule on your school report with respect to job prospects and or gymnasium entry.

Any thoughts.

Last edited by telandy; 19.11.2011 at 22:35.
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Old 19.11.2011, 20:35
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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Hi,

I have twin boys 8 years who are high achievers and don't fit well in to the Swiss school system. One of the twins far exceeds the level of maths in the class and is bored and frustrated, however he has Irlen syndrome and we have just ordered special lenses for him from the USA, he finds reading without overlays bdifficult. Both have ADHD and Dyslexic tendancies and are misbehaving a little in class, due to frustrations and various bullying.The School Gemeinde is recommending that they both go to Seonderschule, we can accept that for one twin, but the other twin is definately gifted and talented in maths and music, but is struggling with reading because he needs the glasses. Thinking on to later in life, how damaging is it to have Sonderschule on your school report with respect to job prospects and or gymnasium entry.

Any thoughts.
Probably whats more important is the exam results at the end of the day, if he finishes his education after going to Sonderschule rather than not going & not completing his education, the answer is clear. Being Deslexic myself, I am very pleased I received the help I needed, my brother on the other hand got a Scholarship to St Johns Cambridge, became a Partner of Goldman Sachs, retireing at 43 when they became a corporation.
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Old 19.11.2011, 20:50
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

Much easier in the UK than here in CH. The A'Level system means you can pursue studies in the subject you excel in, and drop the rest- which suits kids with Aspergers and other syndromes, where they can be hugely talented in Maths and Science and very poor in other subjects. This is of course not possible in CH. Switzerland still is way behind on the integration of children with special needs, sadly.

Children here are setted as a class, not as individuals, so kids who are very good at some subjects, and very poor in others don't generally fare well. At secondary level I mean - in some areas from the age of 10, some at 11. In the UK for instance, children would be together in a mixed ability tutor group- then go on to lessons their separate ways- like Set 1 for maths and Physics, 2 for German, 3 for English, and so on- whereas in Switzerland the whole class will attend all lessons together.

I really feel for you and the children. Are you from the UK? Must say i would be tempted to go back to the UK in such a case- but so difficult to comment without knowing the full situation. Bonne chance.
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Old 19.11.2011, 21:09
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

Would a private school be an option? (At least for the gifted one?) I am a big fan of Swiss school but I've seen already with my two that kids who don't "fit" can have quite a big problem. Before Swiss school my oldest was at a bilingual private school and whilst I only have experiences there when he was very young, I do think that he was given a lot more individual attention and individualised work which suited him very well.

I've got no idea if Sonderschule is a problem in later life - is it not possible to get individual help in the classroom? We have been offered that option for my younger son (who actually hasn't started kindergarten yet) as he has a rare eyesight problem too will most likely need to use magnifiers and possibly even special texts - we were told that he could have an assistant with him in class - at when he gets to primary school / reading age.

I hope you manage to find a solution, it's not a nice situation to be in I know, and whichever choice you make you're always wondering if you're doing the best for your kids - I'm in that situation myself at the moment too.
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Old 19.11.2011, 21:27
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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Much easier in the UK than here in CH. The A'Level system means you can pursue studies in the subject you excel in, and drop the rest- which suits kids with Aspergers and other syndromes, where they can be hugely talented in Maths and Science and very poor in other subjects. This is of course not possible in CH. Switzerland still is way behind on the integration of children with special needs, sadly.

Children here are setted as a class, not as individuals, so kids who are very good at some subjects, and very poor in others don't generally fare well. At secondary level I mean - in some areas from the age of 10, some at 11. In the UK for instance, children would be together in a mixed ability tutor group- then go on to lessons their separate ways- like Set 1 for maths and Physics, 2 for German, 3 for English, and so on- whereas in Switzerland the whole class will attend all lessons together.

I really feel for you and the children. Are you from the UK? Must say i would be tempted to go back to the UK in such a case- but so difficult to comment without knowing the full situation. Bonne chance.
Yes we are from the UK, been here for 6 years and love Switzerland, but not the school system. Going to the meeting yesterday was more like the boys have been accused, judged and sentanced without any parents involvement. There is no parant say or interaction, they are just preaching on what they want for the school. Cannot afford private school sadly, looking also at an exit strategy to the UK, which would involve OH and kids and I would stay here and keep the house here, family would come on holidays, and I would visit UK probably once a month - NOTE that UK government is likely to bring in a 45 day rule from april 6 2012, which will limit visits. Job market in UK is dire at top end and I have a good job which enables me to travel reguarly including the UK.
This is really not an ideal situation, but we could get a good Sonderschool or a not so good one, if we stay. Where is that crystal ball also the children will be two years behind the UK kids with respect to reading and writing, so we will be on the back foot a little.

Last edited by telandy; 19.11.2011 at 22:56.
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Old 19.11.2011, 21:37
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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We have been offered that option for my younger son (who actually hasn't started kindergarten yet) as he has a rare eyesight problem too will most likely need to use magnifiers and possibly even special texts - we were told that he could have an assistant with him in class - at when he gets to primary school / reading age.
Please contact you local blind association,http://www.sbv-fsa.ch/ ours are helping our lad in the class reading, it is funded by the canton and they have been fantastic.
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Old 19.11.2011, 21:43
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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Please contact you local blind association,http://www.sbv-fsa.ch/ ours are helping our lad in the class reading, it is funded by the canton and they have been fantastic.
Yes, we already have help from them thanks
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Old 19.11.2011, 22:05
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

If it's possible to project forward, do you think that this condition would have to be something that your son declared in a future job application? (I'm thinking there is usually a question relating to any disabilties or medical conditions). If it is, then this would surely go at least some way to explaining the presence of the sonderschule on the CV.

Also, is there a possibility of integration into mainstream schooling in the future? Schooling at primary school age doesn't figure at all on my cv. And to what extent are factors other than marks relevant to gymi entrance? My children are not old enough, so I have no idea as to this final question.

I hope you find a solution that feels right. Moving back to the UK is a drastic step, but as I know, as parents we have to be capable of doing the most drastic (and amazing) things for our children. I am sure you will do your best and find the right solution.
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:06
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

The other thing to remember is that educational provision in UK is not standard across the country. In addition in the current economical climate cuts are being made and schools are facing tough choices. It will take time for your child to get a statement and the funding that goes with it. It would be wise to check what would be available before taking such a big step.
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:19
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

hi there - if you don't mind - would you add a short description of what a sonderschule is? or a link? i've only heard about einführungsklasse - basically repeating 1st grade?! good luck!
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:30
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

A friend of mine has two boy grandchildren (8 and 10 y.o.), they lived in Burgdorf, canton Bern, only the grandmother was born in UK, everyone else were born in Freiburg or Bern, and are all Swiss citizens.

Due to boredom and misbehaviour the younger one was condemned to the special class. The mother appealed to the headmaster, whom stood by his decision. Nothing could be done.

The family moved to Lyssach, canton Bern and discussed the situation with the new school. The youngest boy was then assessed by a child psychologist who determined he had an IQ of at least 140. He then attended a special state school for bright children 3 days a week in Bern. His miss-behaviour stopped and he started to thrive in school, and also enjoyed the two days a week when he was with his normal class.

I would suggest you ask immediately for an interview with the headmaster and stress you are looking for a professional assessment. If he refuses, try for a referral to a child psychologist from your doctor. Or move to a different school catchment area.

Good Luck!
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:44
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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hi there - if you don't mind - would you add a short description of what a sonderschule is? or a link? i've only heard about einführungsklasse - basically repeating 1st grade?! good luck!
It's a a "special school" (= Sonderschule) catering for students who have special educational needs due to severe learning difficulties, physical or mental disabilities, or behavioural problems. Being in a Sonderschule used [in 1991, when I worked in one] to mean that you were either blind (i.e. you would be taught, and taught in, Braille script), or physically disabled, or unable to go to a mainstream school due to - to call a spade a spade - low intelligence or severe behavioural problem.

There are different Sonderschulen for different needs. Going to a school for the blind or catering for those with physical disabilities (these were more common when mainstream schools were by and large not wheelchair-accesible) was considered acceptable. But a "Förderschule" (learning difficulties or behavioural problems), or a "G" school ("G" = "geistig behindert" = metally disabled, which used to include kids with morbus down). These ones are not what you want on your CV.
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Old 21.11.2011, 18:49
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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hi there - if you don't mind - would you add a short description of what a sonderschule is? or a link? i've only heard about einführungsklasse - basically repeating 1st grade?! good luck!
Using google translate, it comes back as "special school." Before that was done, wouldn't the child(ren) need to be assessed by an educational psychologist? As mentioned by another poster, the problem could be that the children are in need of more stimulation to give them a challenge, rather than a programme that is modified down.

Dyslexia covers a range of difficulties in connection with the reading process, but is not connected with any lowering of IQ. (Information confirmed by several specialists at a SEN conference I attended in the UK last month.)
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Old 21.11.2011, 19:55
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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The School Gemeinde is recommending that they both go to Sonderschule, we can accept that for one twin, but the other twin is definately gifted
There are several possibilities:
- you agree that they both need Sonderschule and the damage done in the record is nothing compared with the damage Gymnasium would do to them if they really needed Sonderschule.
- you don't agree that they both need Sonderschule and then you just say no for the one twin. A psychologist report stating that they are different should do it as far as "argument of authority" is concerned, you'll see if they follow that or not.
- they actually mean that you have to follow their choice and that anything else will be blocked whether you like it or not: in that case, there is nothing you can do at school level, you have to go up a level in the system and see what happens.

My two cents: Sonderschule does not mean that they are not gifted, it just means that they socially can't cope with the straight lines they are surrounded with in school environment. If that is true, they will have a bad time in school anyway, so why not take the offer of a Sonderweg (own way).
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Old 21.11.2011, 19:59
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

Ok! Sonderschule is without all the PC varnish a hell of a stigma, in the Volksmund it is the "deppele schule," idiots school. Coming to a German school for the first time and not speaking any German and being a tad dyslexic, dzyle... Oh whatever myself I was earmarked for the Sonderschule. Jeez, I just can't imagine what my life would have been like had my father not put his size 47 foot down. You have my solidarity and I would suggest take a decision very carefully.
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Old 21.11.2011, 20:15
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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My two cents: Sonderschule does not mean that they are not gifted, it just means that they socially can't cope with the straight lines they are surrounded with in school environment. If that is true, they will have a bad time in school anyway, so why not take the offer of a Sonderweg (own way).
Is it the children who "can't cope" or the system that is so rigid that it can't cope with children who do not fit a narrow norm?
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Old 21.11.2011, 20:32
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

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Is it the children who "can't cope" or the system that is so rigid that it can't cope with children who do not fit a narrow norm?
I personally don't think so, but the primary teachers usually don't ask my opinion.
Let's say that in Gymnasium, the idea is not to serve the individual child more than what is possible to do dealing with a group. It gives some room, but not that much room. We don't treat them as anonymous numbers but in its individuality, the child must cope with the group. The academic results must be there, otherwise, the child is by definition at the wrong place. That's the main idea, roughly.

EDIT: For clarity's sake: I doubt very much that all the children recommended for Sonderschule actually need it. Some primary schools can be very "cautious" and overreacting to the difficulties of children that can evolved in all kind of directions later on. Let's say I've been surprised too often by students to see myself as a great crystal bowl guru of pupils' future.
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Old 21.11.2011, 20:34
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Re: Sonderschule - How damaging is it to have it on your record

I think your questions can be much better answered by the staff of the Sonderschule. Pay that school a visit and also get an idea of the atmosphere there. You'll see whether it's a place where kids are encouraged to learn and develop or just being kept for a future as unskilled labor.

Personally I haven't heard a positive story about this kind of school but that doesn't mean that there aren't any good ones.
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