A damning new Ofstead report warns that as many as 750,000 children have been wrongly labelled as having special needs to cover up poor teaching. Here, one mother relates her own experience of what school inspectors have called a “culture of excuses”.

Lesha Chaplin-Park, 36, a PR consultant from Stafford, refused to accept her daughter Georgia, now ten, was dyslexic when her school said she had fallen behind due to the condition. Lesha home-schooled Georgia instead, and after one year she was back at school and top of the class. Lesha says:

Teachers were all too quick to stick a label on my daughter and put her in a box. Was it for extra funding, or just so they didn’t have to address the problem directly? all I know is that when I was told Georgia was dyslexic, I knew she wasn’t – and I’ve been proved right.

Georgia was eight when her school decided she had dyslexia. she had never been great with her spelling, but her problems stemmed from the fact that she was in a class with a couple of naughty boys who demanded all the teacher’s attention, and, being a quiet kid, she simply got left behind.

Her confidence took a knock and she got to the point where she’d rather not bother at all than get things wrong.

Towards the end of Year 2, the class teacher took me to one side and said Georgia wasn’t quite up to speed and they would keep an eye on her.

They assured me that if there was a problem they would pick it up the following year, and started talking about all the extra help available for her dyslexia. But as far as I was concerned, she didn’t have dyslexia.

Then they sent home a glowing report at the end of Year 3, in which no problems were mentioned at all. I started to lose faith in the school and the mixed messages they were sending out.

When I was at school, I remember children with learning difficulties being disruptive in class and doing anything they could to be thrown out of the classroom rather than have to read in front of other pupils and be shown up.

It seemed as if teachers were so anxious not to let that happen these days that they would stick labels on children – they were dyslexic, autistic or had aDhD – it felt like political correctness gone mad.

When they approached my ex-husband separately and spelled out Georgia’s supposed problems again, that sealed for me.

I decided I had three options: I could send Georgia back after the holidays and hope for the best, try to find her new school, or take her out of class for year and bring her up to speed myself.

I went for the latter option and decided to go with the home tutoring.

It wasn’t an easy decision, but I was four months pregnant with my son Luca, who’s now 20 months old, and I work freelance from home, so I was in position at least to try.

I was assessed by my local home education division within the council and was surprised to discover I had to spend only 45 minutes a day teaching Georgia to give her the same level of attention as a full day in a class of 35 pupils.

I made sure she was up and ready for 9am every day, and I did everything could to make her education come alive.

For example, when we studied the Great Fire of London, I took her to Pudding Lane, where it had started, and then she had to write it up afterwards.

When she made a lot of spelling mistakes, I would put her work in the bin, send her away with a dictionary and tell her to bring it back to me only when it was her absolute best. I had time to do that rather than a teacher who would just tell her to do better next

With my one-to-one tuition, I could drive it home that she had to do her best to succeed.

It worked, and Georgia regained her confidence. she’s started at middle school now, having being out of the classroom for whole year.

She’s in all the top sets and it was realised she isn’t dyslexic at all. I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to home-school my daughter, but I think schools have to look differently at children who are struggling and not be so quick to stick them in a box.

HOME IS THE NEW FIRST GRADE – Teach Your Child to Count to 10 – Early Learning Method

IS YOUR CHILD KINDERGARTEN READY? – iCount-to-10 – iPhone/iPad Application

Source: Daily Mail – http://tinyurl.com/2v6jpz9