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(29 Posts)
greenfolder Tue 26-Mar-13 13:56:46

background in a nutshell

dd2- struggled through lower school- left at end of year 4 with level 2s in english and maths, having made no progress from year 2.

started middle school in year 5- every book she had was marked with red ink "keep up"- "not finished". speaking to school yielded no results at all.basically implied that i must not assume she is bright, just because her older sister is.

got an ed psych report £450- which showed that she was dyslexic- poor working memory, processing, reading age of 8 but was assessed as more than 16 years of age for reasoning etc. took this to school, told that there was nothing they would offer, private assessment, no reading recovery scheme because they felt she had a reading age of 10.

removed her to a private school for a year which helped a bit (caught up with reading a bit) but was diasterous in every other regard. moved her back to middle school for year 8.

year 9- move to upper school- took ed psych report- very encouraging- extra help offered- lessons to help her make the best of the extra time she is allowed. conversation that ed psych report needed to be updated for gcse but this would be done in house.

found out end of last week that dd was really upset that she wasnt doing well in her controlled assessments. asked her about strategies for using extra time, when she told me she wasnt given any.

went back to school to be told that she isnt allowed any extra time but will be allowed to use coloured paper.

am i being unreasonable to just want to put my head on the desk and weep? if the sum total of her education to date is for her not to be able to access a level playing field for the final assessments shall i just bloody remove her from the entire system? what is the point?

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 15:25:35

greenfolder it's outrageous you have to face this but sadly all too common.

I have spoken to several parents on here re very similar issues - you are not alone. The good news is the government have recognised there is a problem with SEND teaching and plan to get more parental involvement - in real terms for you what this means is if you complain they should be starting to take things more seriously.

With regard to your DD, you are NOT being unreasonable at all. It does sound as though she should have extra time. (I believe school must apply for this.)

I always recommend first of all speaking to the school, but it sounds like you have tried that approach already. In your case, I'd suggest external support as you sound exhausted with battling (and who could blame you).

You can get a free caseworker involved from the Parent Network (generalists in SEND) here:

Or, you could contact the BDA here for more specialist advice

This site includes tips on dyslexia-friendly schools you could use to negotiate with the school or you could just get support from them. Or, there are further specialist support groups here:

A support worker can help you negotiate with the school more easily and help you in this difficult time.

In addition, should the school not meet its obligations (as stated in the current Code of Practice, which I can also send if needed), then your other course of action is to complain over the head. Here is the procedure:

I really hope that is of some help and wish you all the very best! (please do let me know if you need anything else.)

happygardening Tue 26-Mar-13 15:53:47

We've are/have been in a very similar situation with my DS1 pretty high IQ very low processing, crap working memory, non existent writing skills, the only thing is fab reader/comprehension/photographic memory/okish spelling. He has four extensive ed. psych reports one paid for by current school loads of recommendations none of which seem particularly complex to me but he's been in lots of schools both private and state all to date have been rubbish at meeting his needs he's now yr 11.
My head aches from banging it against a brick wall stuffed with ignorant buck passing unhelpful teachers.
The most success we've had was getting the GP involved the school was in her opinion failing to even attempt to meet my DS's needs and he was becoming increasingly anxious/unhappy, writing to the chair of the governors and basically getting fucking stroppy and threatening legal action!!i
If your DD is entitled to extra time in exams she is entitled to extra time in controlled assessments.
We found that as the demands of the curriculum become more complex as they get closer to their GCSE's the more he struggles. Course work is a complete nightmare.
Do try those organisations mentioned above before its too late and you run out of time this is what has happened to us and GOOD LUCK.

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 16:00:23

happygardening so sorry to hear what a nightmare you've been through - my last school was very dyslexia-friendly so we had a lot of children transferred to us with similar stories of frustration (and that was just at primary level.) Glad your GP helped, that's something at least. Wish you the best of luck going forwards too.

happygardening Tue 26-Mar-13 16:12:19

Teacher many thanks. My DS moves onto 6th form college in Sept I am very cautiously optimistic that they will be more helpful.
OP if your DD is ever struggling emotionally do go to the GP schools do sit up and listen a bit more when letters come from doctors.

greenfolder Tue 26-Mar-13 16:35:37

thanks for the responses.

its all just so disheartening- she gets angry and frustrated (they have suggested counselling and anger management- i think meeting her educational needs might be the answer). as an example- she has been allocated to do btec science which is the equivalent to 1 gcse. in one way,this is good as no final exam but she loves science and feels she is being given the equivelent of drawing a poster about the rain forest rather than any actual knowledge about biology. As she wants to do animal management she will need more knowledge than this.

school's reaction seems to be to just constantly lower targets and predicted grades, when i know that if only they would engage she might do well. final straw was last week when i found out about the controlled assessment. her english lit teacher really gets her and has said that some parts of her work are grade a standard. she revises for the assessment, gets into it- spends most of the allocated time reading and deciphering the question and then realises that most of the time is gone, panics and scribbles down her answer (spelling prob worse than ever) and is faced by everyone else turning pages and finishing. extra time not mentioned when this extra time is just giving her a more level playing field.

thanks for the links teachercreature, i will look into seeing if a caseworker could help. i just want her now to get enough to be able to do a level 3 course at college and not have to go back to level 2.

Teachercreature Tue 26-Mar-13 16:58:42

greenfolder I agree entirely she is likely to be getting angry from her needs not being met - it must be incredibly frustrating to have all those great ideas inside you and not be able to get them out on paper at the same speed. The lowering targets thing is definitely not the right approach.

Really hope you are able to find someone who can offer support in getting the school to sort it quickly. The govt has at last realised that SEND support is badly in need of change:

This bodes well as it will force schools to re-think. Probably worth trying happygardening's advice of a GP too if they are willing to help. Best of luck and hang in there!

Mutteroo Tue 26-Mar-13 22:33:19

OP you have my sympathies! DD had similar issues with dyslexia & was completely failed from both state & private schools from yr.7 to yr.10. The good news is she's now 19, working & happier than she's ever been. I would also say for DD, counselling was utterly pointless & I say this as an advocate of counselling!

A question about your child's lack of extra time. Has the school recently carried out a reassessment of DD's needs? If so, who did this? I know because of DD's lack of diagnosis, that there's a huge misunderstanding of dyslexia by teaching staff. My DC are considered bright & so couldn't possibly have dyslexia! Yes they're bright, but they both have appalling memories & horrendously slow processing! I'm grateful that DS had fantastic support from yr.7 which showed me not all schools fail in this issue. Sorry I've rambled on, but OP I have your back so keep on fighting & keep us updated.

goingmadinthecountry Tue 26-Mar-13 23:31:22

She should have been assessed recently. Ds is very dyslexic and qualifies for 50% extra time or 30% plus a reader. He's at a grammar and this is what means he is on a footing with his classmates. Check she has been assessed properly, and if not kick up a stink.

happygardening Wed 27-Mar-13 08:28:19

"there's a huge misunderstanding of dyslexia by teaching staff"
Mutteroo you can say that again. But I don't understand why anyone with a modicum of intelligence who can read an ed. psych report must be able to understand what a dyslexic child can and can't do. It doesn't seem a complicated concept to grasp. But still you sit in parent teacher meeting listening to the same crap; "he doesn't write" "yes I know that you have a 20 page report explaining why" "he doesn't follow verbal instructions" "yes I know that you have a twenty" etc etc. Frankly I have a pretty low opinion of the majority of the teaching profession who are unable and unwilling to treat children as individuals and are very happy to blame poor performance on the parents/children rather than their practices.
I too work with children failure to treat the many many very complex children I come into contact with as individuals would result in disciplinery proceeding being taken against me and if anyone complained it would automatically be assumed I was in the wrong!! Sorry end of rant.
With regard to counselling if your DD is experiencing anger management issues then if you can persuade her to go and also if you can find one and finally if you can afford one because it's not cheap then a specialist paediatric CBT counsellor can be very beneficial this can also help with exam nerves/stress often experienced by dyslexics.

23balloons Thu 28-Mar-13 23:19:13

You should start emailing/writing to the school and complaining. There is an equality act 2010 and dyslexia is covered by it as a disability. The school are discriminating against your daughter by not treating her fairly - DDA disability discrimination act. She will be at a substantial disadvantage to her non dyslexic peers if she is not given extra time but you need to establish a history of her receiving extra time in order to qualify now.
I am not sure how old she is? There is useful information on the British dyslexia website and IPSEA is a good website to look at. Is she on school action or SA+ You need to get hold of the school's sen & equality policy &read them & cause a fuss.

Mutteroo Fri 29-Mar-13 02:25:17

OP, have you got any further? As you can see there are others here who sadly identify with your dilemma, but is light at the end of the tunnel.....bit you may need to keep fighting.

Happygardening, rant away! I totally agree with you but for us the problem was before we paid for the ed psych reports. DD's primary school has decided she had ADD & were very good in ensuring they kept her on track. Sadly DC primary school had little understanding or finances to support the kids that were achieving & thats as far as it went. DC went on to senior school where she dropped from the 2nd set in English to 2nd from bottom in just two years. Nobody questioned it except me & then her English teacher who knew she was in the wrong class. Would they move her? Would they heck! We moved her to her first private school who decided she had behaviour issues. She was terrified of being kicked out of the school & didn't understand why she was being the way she was. OP of course has her report & its outrageous that the professional who wrote it is having their opinion basically dismissed. It doesn't cost the school to give the OP's daughter her extra time entitlement so what are they playing at?

It's very late & I need sleep so my rant is now over, but please OP let us know if there's any news?

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 09:31:57

"It doesn't cost the school to give the OP's daughter her extra time entitlement so what are they playing at?"
They are playing the cant be bothered teacher role.The one size fits all ethos. It would take one virtually effortless thing to revolutionise my DS's ability to access the curriculum and then completely transform his grades but apparently pressing the print key is too much hard work!!

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 09:33:00

I'm only a little bit bitter and twisted. grin

greenfolder Fri 29-Mar-13 10:01:26

Well. I had an email last seconds of term from the senco saying that she will do a "reading test" to see if she qualifies. I assume that this will test her reading speed but not her working memory or processing speed. Where can I get info about what defines the need for extra time?

mummytime Fri 29-Mar-13 10:06:45

It has got harder to get extra time, part of Gove's big clamp down. MyDS got it quite easily, my DD has so far had two lots of testing to try and get her some.

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 10:08:10

Reading and as importantly writing speed which of course is very much related to processing will be tested. My DS get 25% extra time he is the fastest reader I've ever encountered and I read very fast but writes at about three words a minute! The use of a lap top should be allowed, a scribe in maths if she's completely disorganised and its illegible is also possible but unless the's armless your chances of being allowed Dragon are now virtually impossible.

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 10:13:06

The changes mummytime mentioned are why it is now virtually impossible to get permission to use Dragon. Although if your particularly bolshy with lots of spare time to throw your weight around and good support from someone like that mentioned above and you've got time as everything takes forever you might be able to over ride this. You need to pick your fights carefully.

happygardening Fri 29-Mar-13 10:14:20

Sorry meat to say unless she's armless.

Teachercreature Fri 29-Mar-13 12:17:57

greenfolder that's a good start. But I agree with the others - do keep fighting if they then say she doesn't qualify - a reading test can mean a number of things! Also according to the BDA it needs to be done by a "qualified assessor". There are some links here which I hope will help:

This one then adds you need to contact the actual Examining Boards?

It looks like there was a clampdown on it due to a suspicion some schools were abusing the system (although I wonder if that was just more awareness...):

I'd say definitely speak to the BDA though - they should know the most up-to-date information and be able to direct you on. Will keep my fingers crossed for you!

Teachercreature Fri 29-Mar-13 12:22:26

oh and happygardening I agree, rant away, sounds like you've had a shocking time of it. My closest friend has a visually impaired child whose difficulties work in a similar way to some aspects of dyslexia and she's been fighting since he began school and was immediately dismissed as unintelligent (at the age of FOUR). Unbelievable.

iamsmokingafag Fri 29-Mar-13 12:41:37

for extra time the assessor can administer a reading speed test, writing speed test, or processing speed test depending on the child's needs (which the school should already be aware of if there is an EP report).

BUT any access arrangement must reflect the pupil's usual way of working in class, so the school must allow extra time in mocks etc and have evidence on file. The school may not be aware of that requirement, so it might be a good idea to mention it.

Access arrangements are classed as a reasonable adjustment, so school can't pick and choose when she has the extra time IYSWIM.

The JCQ website has all the info.

23balloons Fri 29-Mar-13 15:41:15

Agree look on the JCQ website it has the latest information. When was the last EP report done, you need to look at the raw scores, from memory she must have something like 2scores below 84 but most importantly she must be given extra time for end of year tests & mocks too or it is not her normal way of working.

My ds in in y7 and I am already emailing & demanding he has extra time in end of year tests as he has more than 2 scores below 84 but is quite bright and they would rather not bother with the extra time as it is a pain to arrange. It is disgraceful the way dyslexic pupils are being let down by the education system.

Flappingandflying Fri 29-Mar-13 17:04:47

Ok. JCQ set stringest guidelines for exam access arrangements and have overvthe last two years tightened up their requirements considerably. They send out inspectors and the paperwork has to be watertight. To get extra time the pupil must have at least one (preferablyy more) below average standardised score (thats 84 or lower) in either single word reading, comprehension, writing speed and legibility, processing speed, working memory. A centre does not have to accept any of the findings of an independent ed psych because essentially people were paying a lot of money to certain ed psychs who even though there were no below ave scores were recommending extra time. This then gives that child an unfair advantage over a child who might have exactly the same scores but whose parents can't pay out. The whole premise is that any access arrangement should not confer an unfair advantage and should be the normal way of working.

The in house tester has to be qualified. Some schools don't have anyone qualified so the head will choose to accept the outside reports. You need to find out what the situation is at the school.

Essentially any pupil who might need any access arrangement should be tested at the end of year 9 or start of year10 so that whatever is put in place is a normal way of working. The exams officer must apply to jcq for ET. You can give increments of it so one of mine has 25% for long written papers and 10% for everything else plus a room on their own to read out loud. Conrolled assessments are the same as for an exam.

iamsmokingafag Fri 29-Mar-13 17:45:41

flappingandflying presumably the single word reading test must be a timed test?

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