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Permission to use a laptop during GCSE exams - what are the chances?

(22 Posts)
Fuzzymum1 Tue 25-Sep-12 18:06:13

My DS2 is 14 and just started year 10. He has asperger's with some motor control issues. For example he didn't walk until he was almost 19 months, didn't ride a bike until he was 9 and has terrible trouble with his handwriting - five year old DS3's writing is often easier to read.

His tutor plans to speak with the learning support department to apply for permission for him to use a laptop for written exams etc. What are the chances of this being granted? He is very bright - got an 8A in maths at the end of year 9 for example but he struggles to convey what he knows as examiners won't be able to mark something they can't read. I think use of a laptop will greatly improve his chances of getting the good grades he is capable of.

madwomanintheattic Tue 25-Sep-12 18:25:19

Why hasn't he been using one up until now?

What method does he normally use to record?

Why hasn't this been an issue until yr10?

<that's what they will be asking>

Is he statemented? sA+? What did his OT say about it the last time he saw her? (I get that it might have been years ago)

Fuzzymum1 Tue 25-Sep-12 18:59:28

Up til now he has just about coped but in the time limited conditions of an exam he struggles.

He normally writes by hand but has used an alphasmart in the past.

It has always been an issue but the demands to write more and quicker are now making it more of an issue.

No SA+ etc, just SA, he hasn't seen an OT as none of the issues were considered so unusual that they warranted input.

creamteas Tue 25-Sep-12 19:04:02

My DC are also ASD with motor control issues.

They have scribes and/or extra time for exams and received this with no problem at all.

BigBoobiedBertha Tue 25-Sep-12 19:04:27

I was told by DS1's school that you had to be using one as part of the normal school day. It isn't something you can just get permission for in the exam.

The other possibility is a scribe but I think the same applies - it has to be something he has been doing in the normal course of school work, not just for exams.

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 25-Sep-12 19:13:49

He should have a good chance of it being awarded.

He has to use this as his normal way of working, and the school needs to provide evidence. For example, they could allow him to use a laptop in internal exams and attach the scripts to the application. The evidence has to come from a range of departments.

The exam boards want him to do his very best and want their examiners to be able to read his scripts.

An alternative would be to use a scribe, but again, he would need evidence of this being a normal way of working.

OddGoldBoots Tue 25-Sep-12 19:14:17

I have been thinking about this myself, my ds (Y9) has similar problems and has hypermobility in his hands, he uses a special pen and a writing slope day to day and can just about manage this although his writing is still awful even using them.

If he has two lessons in a row which involve a lot of writing he is in pain, if he had to do 3 hour exams, possibly more than one a day there is no chance he will cope, he just physically couldn't do it. He uses a netbook for internal assessments in long writing subjects so I am hoping to get it formalised that he may do so in exams.

Maybe you could ask if your ds could use a laptop/netbook for some of their assessments to see if the teachers think it is helpful. It's worth remembering that the school will want him to do well, they won't fight you if they think this is what it required, it is further up the chain that there may be a battle.

WofflingOn Tue 25-Sep-12 19:17:53

My DS has AS, in his GCSEs he was part of the extra time brigade, and a couple of those were using laptops due to their specific needs. They regularly used one in class, so I'd start investigating now so that everything possible is in place for him.
No need for a statement to access this either, my DS was SA+ all through school.
Good school though.

madwomanintheattic Tue 25-Sep-12 19:57:27

how has he coped with SATs etc?

there is usually no problem at all with using a laptop or getting extra time in exams if you routinely use one/ get extra time for tests for schoolwork - if he has coped to date but is now feeling the additional pressure of notetaking in class and keeping up, then you need to be requesting for him to use other methods of recording across the board - not just for exams. otherwise it just looks a bit dodgy.

thewhistler Tue 25-Sep-12 20:06:43

As others have said the school will have to give evidence it is his normal mode. I suggest you get him to use one for internal exams , written homework in arts and social sciences. Get more time too. Ds like yours tho maybe not to bright. No statement but school supportive.

Fuzzymum1 Wed 26-Sep-12 12:59:02

Thanks everyone, that's really useful information. I will speak with his tutor again re him using a laptop or similar in lessons/internal assessments and see how we go.

GetDownNesbitt Thu 27-Sep-12 21:24:16

It isn't necessarily true that they need to be using one in normal lessons.

To use it in exams, your DS must be assessed for 'special arrangements'. We routinely assess a chunk of our Y9s before they do their first GCSE units. Access arrangements can include a scribe, a reader, transcripts, extra time, use of laptop or any combination of the above. Extra time is most common, but we have a few who use laptop for exams and not in class.


GetDownNesbitt Thu 27-Sep-12 21:25:42

The assessment is fairly straightforward - a SENCO from a nearby school does ours and it takes less than half a day.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Fri 28-Sep-12 10:33:00

My Dbro got this for the sane issues your DC has. Got A*, A & B in all exams. Wouldn't have without the use of the laptop.

My DD's school tests ALL DC's at the end of Y9 to make sure that every child gets the dispensations they need.

My DD has been assessed as needing a scribe, a reader and to have 25% extra time in her exams.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Fri 28-Sep-12 10:35:51

And it ISN'T true that they need to be doing it in class. My DD doesn't get a scribe in class, she uses a dictaphone. She is still getting a scribe in the exams.

She does have the floating TA as a reader in class though.

NotWilliamBoyd Fri 28-Sep-12 10:39:19

Couthy - ok but your DD is still recording her work in a modified manner, so that would be evidenced as her 'usual' method of work.

IME OP your DS would need to have use of laptop as his usual method of recording his work in class and also now for controlled assignments etc; I'm surprised to read of DC being allowed a laptop just for an exam as I would consider that bad practice on a number of levels.

BitchyHen Fri 28-Sep-12 10:47:57

I would have thought that your son should be entitled to use a laptop as others have said if he is using it during school. He should probably be allowed extra time in the exam as well.

I think that it would be a good idea to meet with the SENCO at school. That way the SENCO can pass on information direct to teachers about the support your son needs in lessons.

Fuzzymum1 Thu 11-Oct-12 18:23:40

I thought I would post a quick update, I was planning to ring the school this week when DS2 came home on friday telling us he had a 'meeting' about it on monday morning but that we didn't need to be there for it. It turns out the meeting was a full on assessment of his skills/abilities/needs. We will hopefully find out the results soon but DS2 isn't sure when.

CharminglyOdd Thu 11-Oct-12 18:30:18

I used a laptop in exams for a problem that only manifested when under exam conditions - I could write for short periods in normal lessons but had problems in both exams and lectures (where it's much more intensive). I only needed a doctor's note up until last year (last year of uni) to confirm this, along with a letter from the previous SEN co-ordinator stating what I was used to in exams. I imagine if you can get a doctor's note to back up the school assessments then you stand a very good chance.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 11-Oct-12 18:31:44

fuzzymum that's about par for the course. DD1s lot have run assessments and given her extra time for her English CA (she's dyslexic). It would just have been nice to have been told last year what they were going to do and when. Given said CA was so early.

Fuzzymum1 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:56:18

I thought I would come and post an update. We spoke with DS2's tutor at a meeting with her a couple of days ago and she promised to chase up the results of the assessment as she knew that provision would be made but not what it would be. DS came home on friday and said that he has been granted 25% extra time and use of a word processor for all GCSE exams and controlled assessments - It's a huge relief as I'm sure it will make a huge difference to him. He is very relieved about it too as he really struggles to concentrate on what he's writing as well as making it legible.

IndigoBelle Sun 02-Dec-12 21:01:46

That's great news.

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