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If your child is in hospital, can school really refuse to let them sit the exam on another day?

(31 Posts)
QuintessentiallyQS Fri 13-Jun-14 11:19:45

My son had an accident (Long and complicated story, involving toilet bleach in his eye), and went to minor injuries, and dh was told he needed to take him to an eye specialist for 8.30 am the following day for a check up and a closer look, and gave him a letter to take to school because he had several end of year exams.

The school told them that he had to come and sit the exams, as he would not be able to sit them another day. He could do his exam at home but it would not be marked.

Can a school really do this if a child is injured and has to go to hospital? Son went straight to school after seeing the eye specialist, and sat two exams with an eye patch and in pain, but missed out on taking his maths paper. So he will not get a maths grade.

I am beginning to have second thoughts we made a right choice about his school.

This is just one aspect of rigid nonsense we have experienced in this year.

outtolunchagain Fri 13-Jun-14 11:28:09

If it is just a school exam it probably doesn't matter and I wouldn't worry.My son's school has just had a rota of teachers going into hospital (40 miles away)to invigilate for a boy with leukaemia for his A levels so they definitely do do important exams in hospital

If it was external exams, they would not be allowed to do this - but the exam boards have systems in place for dealing with this - keeping a child isolated (so they can't speak to children who have already sat the paper) or giving them a different paper, if neccessary.

I assume the school can't provide a different exam paper - they probably only do one paper for the end of year exams, and may have used previous years' papers during revision for the exams, and they aren't going to be able to keep your child secluded, just for end of year exams.

However, this doesn't explain why they can't let him sit the exam at home, and put a note in the records saying that this was what happened.

As it is the maths paper he has missed, I would suggest taking them up on the offer to do it at home, and then find a local maths tutor who would agree to mark it for you. If it came to it, you could scan it in and email it to me, and ds2, who is reading maths at Edinburgh, could probably mark it for you - so your son wouldn't have an official grade, but would have a mark that you and he would know was a fair reflection of the work he has done.

OwlCapone Fri 13-Jun-14 11:32:46

That sounds ridiculous. last year, DS1 missed an internal Y9 exam due to a fracture clinic appointment and he simply sat it on the Monday. Ds2 missed a couple as he was sent home ill and he also sat them on the Monday.

I would ask what the implications are for your son. I'm guessing they'll use course work and teacher opinion if it affects setting next year.

QuintessentiallyQS Fri 13-Jun-14 11:39:38

Thanks for the offer, SDT, he is just in Y7, so it is an internal exam. I just dont understand why they could not let him sit it at home, mark it and tell him it cant be an "official" grade due to not actually sitting it.

He will "leave" Y7 without a mark for maths. He is gutted, as maths is his best subject, and he was part of the maths challenge as one of a handful of kids in his year, just missing out on a medal with one point.

The school is so strict in all aspects we are seriously considering moving him, and I am currently exploring other options.

summerends Fri 13-Jun-14 15:52:23

Quintessentially, your poor DS, especially also having to do the other papers whilst in pain. It does sound a bit intransigent of the school but it must be nice to have a DC who is gutted about missing a maths exam smile. The school obviously know he is good at maths though which is probably why they are n't worried about him taking it.

saintlyjimjams Fri 13-Jun-14 16:00:16

That sounds odd & yes inflexible

LIZS Fri 13-Jun-14 16:03:16

Sounds very unreasonable .

TooBigNow Fri 13-Jun-14 16:37:20

My DD's school is allowing two students to do a couple of their Y7 end of year exams on a different day due to illness.

Luggagecarousel Fri 13-Jun-14 23:17:42

It's harsh, but as this is how external exams are run, some schools run internal exams the same way,

in my son's school, ALL the end of year exams were disqualified, because there had been a security breach, and ALL were retaken, for the WHOLE year group.

A very hard lesson, but this is what would have happened in a GCSE, so in that sense, fair. I didn't like it, but supported the school's decision.

In your son's case, he could do the paper, and find out his mark, but it wouldn't be official.

i hope his eye is ok.

adoptmama Sat 14-Jun-14 05:56:08

I know it seems harsh, but the exam done at home cannot be graded. There is no way for any teacher to know if a child sitting an exam at home cheats or gets help. It is sad for your child but would be unfair to all other children to allow it to be graded. It would also encourage less honest children/parents in future years to claim illness or injury to keep their child home to sit their exams with support. It happens unfortunately.

The school are letting him sit the exam at home if he wishes so he can test himself and gain the experience of the way the exam is written. He should take this opportunity. The school cannot be obliged to offer a different exam paper on a different day - again it opens the floodgates. What if 3-4 children miss the exam and all want to sit again on 3-4 different days. The teacher then has to write all these extra exam papers and marking schemes (it takes me 2-3 hours to write each paper and more time to do the marking scheme). It is simply not practical to expect schools to do this. You would be asking for a new exam paper and marking scheme to be set for your child, for him to miss lessons to sit the exam in school, for a teacher to be assigned to invigilate him and for a room to be set aside for him to sit the exam in. All at a time when staff are marking exams for all students in all year groups and writing end of year reports. It is not as if the teacher can just conjure up another paper, with the same topic weightings and send him off to the library for an hour. He would need the same balance of questions and sit under the same exam conditions as the rest for his grade to be considered comparable. It is not as easy to arrange as you might assume.

It is a shame for your son, but he is only year 7 so it is not an academic problem. The teacher will already have a very good idea of his level anyway without the exam. Personally I think the school have offered you a reasonable solution in allowing your son to do the paper at home to practice and gain experience of sitting the exam. I would encourage him to do so. It certainly does not sound like something which would make me look to change school. I think you are getting a little over concerned about it tbh.

OwlCapone Sat 14-Jun-14 08:00:37

It is not as easy to arrange as you might assume.

I wonder how my DSs school manages to allow children to sit exams the following week then? With absolutely no fuss and no questions of it being a problem. As I understand it, they use the same paper too and rely on honesty. I imagine it is fairly obvious whether a child has gained a grade that is not commensurate with their ability as shown during the year.

It can be done if the school wants to do it.

Whyjustwhyagain Sat 14-Jun-14 08:07:28

Actually, I think the thrust of your post should be that the school insisted your DS went in and sat his exams despite a hospital appointment and being in pain.
It's one thing to encourage pupils to go into school if they are well enough, but not to insist on it.

But I don't see why you are so upset at him missing a Y7 maths exam (talking as a mum with 2 very able mathematicians)
If it helps, DS1 missed his KS3 Y9 maths exam in the days of compulsory Y9 tests) as he was ill. Didn't make the slightest difference to anything.

Hope your son is feeling better, accident sounds nasty sad

mismylinford Sat 14-Jun-14 08:26:31

for my experience yes they can stop you
a week before i took my final a levels i was in a car accident and was in hospital icu for 5 days before moving into a ward. my tutor came to see me and told me i had 3 options not do any exams and wait till next year to take them, not do any and apply for extenuating circumstances (15% of your current Mark) or to go in and do them.
stupidly i discharged myself 8 days after nearly loosing my life to sit the exams and i couldn't even remember my own name never mind do calculate xyz.
previously i had exams that clashed with each other so i was in 'quarantine' for a day and couldn't see or speak to any of my class mates unill i had taken the exam.

Whyjustwhyagain Sat 14-Jun-14 08:29:44

Public exams, such as A-levels are a very different proposition to Year 7 exams sat when you are 12

ExcuseTypos Sat 14-Jun-14 08:39:09

Yes they are being inflexible, but I really wouldn't worry about Y7 exams.

Will having no mark for maths have any impact on him in the future? I very much doubt it.

sunshinecity17 Sat 14-Jun-14 11:33:01

The thing with sitting it at a later date is that the kids will have told him what's on teh papers so it won't necessarily be a fair test.
My DD missed her end-of -year school exams this year because she has broken her arm.They gave her the option of using a scribe/computer + extra time or not doing them til she can write.She chose the latter

Adoptmama - I think the paper could be graded, but the mark could not be recorded as an exam grade - essentially they could treat it like an extra piece of homework, and mark it on that basis. But they are refusing even to mark it (if I have read the OP correctly), so whilst he would get the experience of seeing how the paper was constructed, he'd have no idea how he had actually done - hence me offering ds2 as a marker!

noblegiraffe Sat 14-Jun-14 19:10:50

Sounds utterly bizarre to me. Kids at my school miss end of year exams all the time and just sit them the next time they are in a lesson. I find that kids do worse if they sit it later than at the proper time because they miss out on the revision beforehand etc.

What do they do with the results that are so important that they would rather he had no mark at all?

nicky2512 Sat 14-Jun-14 19:16:20

That seems very unfair. DD is year 8, we are in Northern Ireland so I think that might be the same as your year 7 (age 12, first year at grammar). Two children in her class missed several exams and were allowed to do them in school the day that they returned. Hope he is much better now.

Beingfrank Sat 14-Jun-14 22:51:11

My son missed his last year 9 exam because he injured (broke, as it turned out) his wrist at lunchtime. He did it the following week with someone else who had been ill. No issue, no drama.

RuddyDuck Sun 15-Jun-14 09:13:06

I would also question the level of maths teaching in your son's school. At my dc's school, loads of children take the maths challenge, not just "a handful". Even ds1,

RuddyDuck Sun 15-Jun-14 09:17:50

(sorry, touchscreen fail!).
Even ds1 who was not in top set for maths and isn't a particularly strong mathemetician got a bronze or silver medal in the Maths Challenge most years. Afaik, most schools round here enter lots of children for the Maths challenge. I would definitely look at the level of maths teaching your son is getting.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jun-14 09:27:07

The number of kids entered will have nothing to do with the level of maths teaching, simply that it costs money to enter per 10 pupils and some schools have more money than others. Also, as the maths challenge is the sort of maths that isn't taught at school, the number of certificates won't reflect the level of teaching either, unless the school specifically coaches for it.

Hakluyt Sun 15-Jun-14 09:31:16

It's not the actual exam that's the issue, it's the school's attitude I would have a problem with.

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