Adjustments/concessions or whatever it's called for GCSEs

(38 Posts)
insan1tyscartching Wed 19-Oct-16 22:57:22

I think I understand that adjustments have to be requested no more than two years prior to exams. Can somebody explain the process to me please and also what would be the maximum adjustment made in terms of time and marking? What evidence is required and from where does this need to come? Is a statement that states the need for extra time because of processing difficulties and slow recording skills sufficient or do school have to provide more evidence?
Dd is y9 at present receives extra time as a matter of routine and a scribe when needed but she has a unique/ unusual difficulty that impacts heavily on several areas of the curriculum which will mean she will not have completed the full curriculum in several subjects and exam papers might well need censoring if she is going to be able to actually sit the exam (again these difficulties and adjustments are documented in her statement and happen in school as a matter of routine) I'm keen to understand what school need to be doing as SENCo isn't terribly pro active without a prod,

PlaymobilPirate Wed 19-Oct-16 23:00:53

It's all educational health care plans (EHCP) now - support needs and SEC (special exam considerations) such as scribe, extra time, stop / start conditions are detailed in them.

24balloons Wed 19-Oct-16 23:07:05

Everything relating to reasonable adjustments is documented in the JCQ Guidelines which the school should be familiar with. Main thing is your dd already has adjustments & they are considered a normal way of working. The school needs to perform their own tests after year 9 by a qualified person & can then apply to JCQ for approval.
You can google & get the full document, there are lots of examples of what is allowed.

insan1tyscartching Wed 19-Oct-16 23:21:34

Playmobile I know there are EHCPs but dd has a statement and with the way our LA are going she will be y11 before it is converted. They are years behind, her statement was to be converted at her transition review, it's not going to happen for this one so has been pushed back to the next one so in y11 so the statement will need to be the supporting document.It might not be what is expected or legislated for but it is what is happening in our LA.
24 thank you I will find the document you suggest.

Heirhelp Thu 20-Oct-16 20:22:27

It might be worth speaking to the exam's officer or the senco to ask about the process. I would also ask that her teachers are made aware of her additional time/scribe so she has this in mock exams etc.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 21:21:30

Heir her teachers are aware, and any slip ups are covered by her TA being present anyway. I want to be certain that what needs to be done is being done because whilst the SENCo acts with a prod if I don't know when to prod then it's 50 50 as to whether what needs to be done is done.
I've emailed SENCo today asking for an update after last update (where she reassured me we needn't do anything until the end of y9) didn't fill me with confidence so hoping that she at least takes advice on exactly what needs to be done before reassuring me that not needing to do anything is correct.
If it was a situation that SENCo had experienced previously then I would be reassured but SENCo has said repeatedly she has never experienced anything similar before and so I think she needs to find out in plenty of time what can and what needs to be done so that dd has the best possible chance in her GCSEs.

mummytime Thu 20-Oct-16 21:22:37

Speak to the school they will either have a teacher qualified to do assessments or have access to and external person (such as an educational psychologist) who can do the assessment. There are standard tests, and then if it is indicated that the student needs help there maybe further testing. At school my older DC both had a teacher do a battery of tests and then write the report, the younger one then had to get her teachers to sign that she "usually worked with the extra time" etc.
AT college DD was assessed by an Ed Psych who came in. DS actually got sent to a specialist centre to be assessed.

Both the exam's officer and the SENCO should be very well aware of the procedure (most SENCOs spend a lot of time doing this paperwork). You don't need a Statement or EHCP to get accommodations, none of my children have them and its never been a problem.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 21:39:10

mummytime if dd's difficulty could be measured by testing then I'd relax but it can't.She has processing problems and occasional recording difficulties that extra time/use of scribe will ameliorate but she has a phobia, a really severe phobia that means her exam papers will need "doctoring" so that she isn't subject to triggering material. Ed psych has documented the extent of the phobia and the need for materials to be screened for suitability and this all happens in school now but I need to know that dd won't walk into an English/History/Science/RE/ exam, open the paper and be unable to stay in the room much less be in a position to sit an exam because of some extract/photo/diagram that is triggering forming part of the questions.
Because it's a unusual /unique situation I want to be certain that we all know what needs to and what can be done.

LIZS Thu 20-Oct-16 21:43:37

I think your senco/exams officer will need to have a specific conversation with JCQ and exam boards as screening papers is not the norm. Are the processing issues well documented and within the limit for extra time? This needs to be within 2 years of the exam sitting and the need substantiated by her teachers.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 21:48:37

Yes processing difficulties have been documented throughout (since she was three) school and ed psych don't think securing extra time will be a problem at all for that but extra time isn't going to be any good if she can't stay in the room/ or faints/ vomits.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 21:52:56

Lizs I want SENCo to be having conversations now particularly now we have an ed psych report that firmly and clearly states what needs to happen. It's not at all ambiguous (and that's not always the case IME) so it would be good to put that report to the exam boards now so that they can be considering what exactly can be done when the time comes.

Clonakilty Thu 20-Oct-16 21:54:00

Exam papers cannot be amended/ doctored in advance or at all in fact. They have to be kept under lock and key by the exams officer and no one can have access to them in advance, regardless of the advice or instruction given by an ed psych. National exams have very tight rules. You should speak to your exam officer and maybe reassure yourself by speaking to the exam board. From what you say, there is some sort of trauma? Exam papers are quite detached, to be honest although of course I don't know what might be triggering. The exam boards are quite careful, but nothing can be done to take out or rewrite questions. Not for GCSE. I'm sorry it isn't what you want to hear and as someone who has experienced trauma. I really sympathise.

noblegiraffe Thu 20-Oct-16 21:55:25

Crikey, that's an unusual one. I agree that the school will need to have a specific conversation with JCQ about that. Not sure how doctoring an exam before a child sees it will be handled as there are so many rules about keeping the papers secure. Exam arrangements are normally sorted at the end of Y9 in my school so your SENCO is ok there, there should be enough time before the end of Y11.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 22:01:35

No I didn't think they could be doctored but I hoped that someone could cover with a loose sheet of paper offending parts. Also dd isn't able to cover parts of the curriculum so I was hoping that she would be awarded some sort of allowance for the fact that she doesn't and isn't able to cover parts of the curriculum.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 22:06:22

Tbh Noble if the extra time she will get for processing was used by the TA to stick post it notes over the exam paper so she can cope. She will do better then than she would with all the time in the world if her phobia is triggered.

noblegiraffe Thu 20-Oct-16 22:08:21

No, there'd be no allowance made for not being able to cover parts of the curriculum.

I was reminded of the school that was in the news a couple of years ago for doctoring exam papers to remove questions on evolution which conflicted with its religious teaching. Apparently it had been allowed up till then but wasn't allowed any more, but that was for religious reasons so you could still ask and see what they say.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26823183

Clonakilty Thu 20-Oct-16 22:09:19

Oh OP - I feel for you, I really do, it looks like 5% is the maximum allowance made. Have a read of the regulations which might make things clearer. All the best.

www.jcq.org.uk/Download/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance/a-guide-to-the-special-consideration-process-2016-2017

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 22:17:14

Thank you, I suppose 5% is better than nothing, she is predicted top grades but for me if I get her through enough GCSE's so that she can do the A levels she will want to do (French Art Music Maths) and that wont be triggering then I will be happy at that. The grades don't matter too much to me I'll just feel relieved we got through it tbh.

noblegiraffe Thu 20-Oct-16 22:20:44

Special consideration doesn't apply here. The JCQ document says:

Candidates will be eligible for special consideration if they have been fully prepared and have covered the whole course but performance in the examination, or in the production of controlled assessment, coursework or non-examination assessment, is materially affected by adverse circumstances beyond their control.

LIZS Thu 20-Oct-16 22:23:25

Did the Ed Psych come up with any strategies to desensitise her to these triggers or support her? It seems unrealistic for her to go through school and life beyond without being able to recognise and cope to an extent, even if by leaving the room. In A Level French things may well still come up , through the study of literature or current affairs for example, which she might find difficult.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 22:25:21

You see that's why I want the conversations to be happening now so that everyone is clear on what can and can't be done. I get anxious if I'm not clear on things, if I know the plan then I can ensure that dd is as well prepared as she possibly can be and we can concentrate on making sure that the parts she can do are as tight as we can get them instead of second guessing what will happen.

Balletgirlmum Thu 20-Oct-16 22:30:43

Unfortunately I think what previous posters have said is correct.

I feel for you as DS (who has asd & slow processing) also has an extreme phobia about anything medical/human biology. There is nothing we can do & despite him being at a selective school I fully expect him to fail science GCSE.

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 22:41:15

Well yes dd will be getting therapy for her phobia but the ed psych didn't believe that progress will be quick enough for there to be any significant difference in time for GCSE's. All desensitisation is currently off because her anxiety levels are at such a high that it is just ingraining and expanding her phobia so the plan is to remove it for now, work on getting the anxiety down and then at a later date addressing the phobia.
It's quite difficult to make progress tbh the phobia is huge but the ASD complicates matters as of course she is quite rigid in her thoughts, her communication is "off", her ability to verbalise feelings and emotions is less than basic (she gets happy/ sad/ angry) and her ability to process language is affected. It's like wading through treacle tbh

insan1tyscartching Thu 20-Oct-16 22:54:08

Balletgirl dd's includes biology, (I think that was the start when she fainted in Primary when the ear was being discussed) but it also encompasses human and animal suffering, wars, natural disasters fundamentally it grows and grows. English lessons are traumatic when texts are triggering, History lessons she rarely attends and didn't at all last year, Geography again she goes to selected lessons and has adapted work, RE is another difficulty, Biology she doesn't attend at all, PHSE she only attends "suitable topics" and so it goes on sad

Balletgirlmum Thu 20-Oct-16 23:07:40

Can she not drop history for GCSE? English is a difficult one. I'm personally wondering if I will be able to Persuade ds's school to let him take single science physics & chemistry only (better than failing combined double) but it's never been done before.

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