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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:37 pm 
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Hi ladies, hope you can help. My daughter has sensory issues and as a result, the school she currently attends put in special allowances for exams such as allowing her to do her exams in a separate room so she can concentrate better. Now, I have never felt fully comfortable with this but have gone along with it as her grades have really imprroved, and she herself is comfortable and happy with this arrangement, so have never really questioned it.
My concern is that the school head advised me to apply for special circumstances on the day of the grammar test, meaning to request a smaller environment, with less children (apparently, they do this), I am not comfortable with it, also, I am worried about whether this will impinge her chance of getting through as she will be identified as a child with 'issues', (she is very academic, but she works better in smaller groups, she is adapting to larger environments and getting better at it, but still working on it) my question is, will she be disadvantaged in any way by me requesting special circumstances on the day? Is there any bias regarding this? Or are children all treated equally when the marking takes place and it is just based purely on the exam performance? Obviously, if it does, then I would prefer for her to sit the exam with everyone else with no special circumstances at all if it is going to disadvantage her getting a place in any way. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks:)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:18 am 
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If this is her normal way of working - ie exams in a small room - then you absolutely can apply for her to have hers taken in a small room for the 11+ - speak to the 11+ team at your local LA and ask what they need you to provide as evidence - usually a letter from the school confirming this is the normal way of working would suffice. It may not be a room juts for her - it may have children who have for example sight issues so have a blown up paper - meaning they need more space etc but it will be a much smaller environment.

The marking is predominantly done by a computer reader and is completely anonymised so she will not be penalised in any way. It may also help longer term as it would set down another example of it being her normal way of working, for when you get to the public exams GCSE/A level and help the exams officer evidence a smaller venue for then, whatever school she ended up in.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Not your area, but I know of someone who had a DC sit their test in a separate room and they got a good score and a place.

Grammar schools cannot discriminate in this way. They can only allocate places based on their own admissions policy.

However I would advise you talk to their SENCO before the test (if you haven’t already) to see if the school is able to meet your DCs needs and what their attitude is to SEN. Some schools are much better than others.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:29 pm 
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Thank you so much ladies. That is very helpful. My concern was that if there is a separate pile for those that have been given 'special circumstances' and then even if they score well, then the actual needs come into play on a case by case basis and a decision is then made whether to offer a place or not. The school have said they have to make the test accessible for everyone, but I can't help being sceptical that it may place her at a disadvantage. It is really difficult to decide what is for the best. She often has exams in smaller groups, not always on her own, so is used to a smaller environment, but has also sat some mainstream mocks with hundreds of children in a normal exam setting too, has scored OK, but could do better. However, I am aware that these mocks were her first ones so nerves would have come into play too.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:36 pm 
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State Grammar Schools cannot discriminate in the way you are concerned about. They will not know where your DD sat the exam, just her score and rank and will deal with her in exactly the same way as any other candidate.

Private schools are not always as transparent but, one would hope, in the circumstances you have described, where this is her normal way of working, they would also accommodate her needs and look at her abilities rather than her sensory issues.

Tinkers has a very good point though that you should talk to the SENCO in any school you are considering about the provision they have and how that may help your DD (both Grammar Schools and comprehensives, as well as private schools if you are considering these.) Provision can be patchy and it does not go without saying that GS are always better - you may find that an alternative school is far better suited for your DD - any research you do with regards to SENCOs and provision can also be helpful of you do find you have to appeal, as you will already be a step ahead with what a school can offer your DD.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:47 pm 
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Special arrangements are there to try and level the playing field so that those with a disability are not at a disadvantage. If you think your child would be disadvantaged without special arrangements, then apply for them. If you don't, and your DD does not perform as well as you think she could, she won't get another go.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:47 pm
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Trident wrote:
Hi ladies, hope you can help. My daughter has sensory issues and as a result, the school she currently attends put in special allowances for exams such as allowing her to do her exams in a separate room so she can concentrate better. Now, I have never felt fully comfortable with this but have gone along with it as her grades have really imprroved, and she herself is comfortable and happy with this arrangement, so have never really questioned it.
My concern is that the school head advised me to apply for special circumstances on the day of the grammar test, meaning to request a smaller environment, with less children (apparently, they do this), I am not comfortable with it, also, I am worried about whether this will impinge her chance of getting through as she will be identified as a child with 'issues', (she is very academic, but she works better in smaller groups, she is adapting to larger environments and getting better at it, but still working on it) my question is, will she be disadvantaged in any way by me requesting special circumstances on the day? Is there any bias regarding this? Or are children all treated equally when the marking takes place and it is just based purely on the exam performance? Obviously, if it does, then I would prefer for her to sit the exam with everyone else with no special circumstances at all if it is going to disadvantage her getting a place in any way. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks:)


I hope you don't mind me writing this but I was a little concerned reading your post.I got the impression you don't necessarily understand your dd's sensory issues and how they impact upon her. I was impressed with the school who do seem to understand her issues and are working to improve her learning experience.It seems there must have been a formal assessment at some stage which has diagnosed the condition and made recommendations to remedy the learning difficulties so that she is not discriminated against.Have you been going to any meetings at the school ?

It seems what the school have been doing has been working so she can express her abilities at the appropriate level.I would not hesitate in applying for special measures for the 11 plus.They are there to prevent discrimination and to ensure equality.You will find this may benefit her in future public exams at Secondary level.I wouldn't worry about what what other people think and it will not disadvantage her to have special measures.

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:32 pm 
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Special arrangements can only be made if they are the child's 'normal way of working' ie every test they sit; is the Headteacher prepared to say this?

Special consideration/arrangements can be made for GCSE, A level and degree exams.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:59 pm 
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Under the Equality Act 2010 parents/carers of a pupil with a disabilty who wish their child to enter a selective test can make an application for a reasonable adjustment with supporting evidence including information from your current school and if appropriate medical evidence.This is normally considered by an independent panel with the appropriate expertise.

The reasonable adjustment duty is taking reasonable steps to ensure that prospective pupils with a disability are not put at a substantial disadvantage compared with those who are not disabled.The adjustments will depend on the circumstances surrounding each individual child's disability.The adjustment may be the size of the paper or sitting the examination in a separate room because of an identified medical or behavioural difficulty.

A person has a disability if she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on her ability to carry out day to day activities.Grammar schools are used to receiving such applications each year.

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:22 pm
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Thank you so much for the advice ladies.

I don't mind your comment at all quasimodo. I do understand her sensory needs, I have battled with discrimination all her school life regarding it (not all teachers are familiar with SPD) and just want to ensure she gets the best chance at the exam without their being any discrimination based on the special circumstances. She is a bright little spark and is learning to 'self-regulate' as she is maturing.. It has been an uphill battle and advocating her needs is something I will do for the rest of her school life if need be.

Speaking to the SENCO is a good idea and I will certainly do that. The special circumstances was recommended by the head and he has said he will support it as well as support me in completing the form.

All your comments hVe been really useful. Thank you :)


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