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Extra time for special needs at entrance exams for Sutton Grammar School

(8 Posts)
Berganza Thu 25-Oct-12 22:12:06

I thought it was a right for children with special needs (with a psychologist report recommending it) to get extra time in entrance exams. Wilson, Wallington and St Olave's in Orpington do it, but not Sutton Grammar. I would like to know if anyone knows about this issue.

tiggytape Thu 25-Oct-12 22:58:27

Yes it is an issue because the law requires them to do it.
If a child has a condition that, in the opinion of a medical expert, requires them to have additional time in a test then the school must abide by that. Anything else would be discrimination in terms of failing to make reasonable adjustments for the child to access the test on an equal footing with everyone else.

There are many conditions that require extra test time eg a physical disability that means a child cannot write for extended periods without being in pain. To not allow them a break and extra time as medically required is deeply unfair and should be challenged.

I know many parents might say extra time for such a crucial one-off test sounds like a big advantage but this is only allowed for cases where an expert says it is necessary (not just parental opinion).
If a child failed the test having not had it adapted in a reasonable way to meet their medical needs, they would have a case to appeal. I don’t think you should rely on that though and instead should formally complain to the Head and, if you get no joy go, to the Governors. If your child’s condition is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (you’d need to check but basically longterm and has a significant impact on aspects of daily living) schools have a legal obligations to adjust their procedures in a reasonable way to ensure your child has a fair chance (just as all the other schools have done).

Berganza Thu 25-Oct-12 23:30:46

Well. It was the head who told me they do not allow extra time as a matter of policy. I decided not to apply for the school as I thought he did not care or understood the condition. My son has dyspraxia, with slow writing/processing speed.I might write to the adjudicator to clarify the issue for future applicants.

Berganza Thu 25-Oct-12 23:33:39

Thank you very much for your answer tiggytape

tiggytape Fri 26-Oct-12 09:00:49

Berganza - I honestly think you should. They cannot have a blanket policy to make no allowances for disability!

If (and it is a big if) you had a spare slot on your CAF, you could still stick Suttom Grammar down purely so that you could appeal on the grounds that they refused to test your son under the conditions needed to meet his medical requirements (you'd need to prove academic ability too of course).

Don't do this if it would mean crossing off a decent school that you might get into. But, if for example you have 6 choices and have only got 5 schools to list, rather than leave the last box blank, I would put down Sutton Grammar purely to leave the door open for appeal next year.

I can see why you'd be put off by that attitude though - if they lack the willingness to do the basics required of them then it makes you worry about how much they'd do once the child was at the school.

Berganza Fri 26-Oct-12 11:11:39

My son has passed the exam at Wallington. The one I thought would be good for him after the open days. We still have to see if he gets in, but he has a chance. Their attitude was miles away from Sutton, or the others.

I am considering your suggestion, but I doubt my partner would agree. He thinks our son would be better at the local comprehensive, which is a good one.

A letter to the adjudicator cannot harm. Thank you again

tiggytape Fri 26-Oct-12 11:16:41

Berganza - I don't blame you or your partner really. Why would you fight to get your DS into a school that makes their feelings plain from their very first dealings with you? It hardly bodes well for future support and a good relationship with them.
But at the same time, it is deeply unfair that they treat people this way and makes parents feel very cynical about their motives for not meeting disability obligations. As you do not want this school anyway, a letter to the adjudicator would help future people in your position who do want SGS because it is local or because they don't have any good alternatives.

Startailoforangeandgold Fri 26-Oct-12 11:56:04

Having a dyslexic DD I'd definitely say you want a school that has a sensible attitude to their pupils problems.

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