GCSE special consideration/adjust
Last year DS was diagnosed with Crohns disease. He is under treatment but his condition, whilst a lot better than last year, is not yet fully stable. He suffers from a lot of fatigue and stomach pain.
He has been coping amazingly well at school (in year 11) and is predicted some really great grades so we haven't been unduly concerned. However, yesterday one of his teachers suggested to us at parents evening that we approach the exams office about special consideration.
This hadn't even been on my radar and has only been mentioned by the one teacher. However, he has a lot of exams as he's taking 12 GCSEs and it's highly likely that the fatigue will affect him at some point, and the stress may well make the condition worse.
Does anyone have any experience/advice they can share with us before I speak to the school? Having done a bit of research online today I think we are probably too late to apply for most things and could only use special consideration if any of his exams are particularly affected, am I right?
You should speak you your school SENCO and the Exams Officer.
Access Arrangements need to be applied for and need significant evidence to support them. Reading your post, extra time probably wouldn't helpful for your son, it would just mean that he had longer to sit in the exam. I would think that rest breaks would be more appropriate for him.
The deadline for Access Arrangement is very soon, however things like rest breaks can be given by the SENCO without JCQ approval.
Special Consideration can only be applied at the time of the exam. The school's Exams Officer will be able to advise you. Make sure you have any medical evidence to hand, it helps to be able to provide it to the exam boards to strengthen your case.
However, the % applied is only small, 1 or 2% at most, but it. Isn't be enough to tip your son over a grade boundary.
DD was told that she could also get special consideration as she suffers from a squint which wasn't remediated despite surgery which means that when tired, she has to concentrate more to avoid double vision. She gets mainly tired the more she needs to read and concentrate.
I asked her how she felt about it but she said that she had learn to manage the fatigue and knew when to take a break from studying to rest her eyes. She said that the double vision rarely occurred during exams, more when studying for them and she didn't feel her situation warranted special adaptation. She got 2 A*, 7 As and 2 Bs, so did well without it.
Definitely worth it. He may be allowed rest breaks. Do you have the exam timetable yet? The deadline is pretty soon though.
I think the initial deadline has actually passed so it probably is too late but it sounds like it's worth making the initial contact and seeing what happens
Definitely worth it. I am an invigilator and spent last Summer as a 1:1 with a girl during her A levels as she suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome. One exam took all day as she was allowed rest breaks (including sleeping) and extra time.
Sometimes she may get half way through then have a 3 hour break). Another she needed to break after 15 minutes (for say half an hour), then after a further half hour have another one hour break and so on.
Please explore what may be available to him.
Yes please investigate. If he is eligible and feels well, then it's all great (and he won't need to take any rest periods) but if he has a particularly poor day health-wise, he will not be able to show his potential. Given that the new GCSEs are so linear and much more (in some subjects, ALL) depends on the final exam it is essential that children perform at their best.
Rest breaks are deffo an option. If you get a signed letter on headed paper by the consultant that says 'give rest breaks' then thats all you need. Senco should have the wit to gather a bit of supporting evidence. Perfectly doable now.
Thank you all so much for the advice. I will contact the school on Monday and we will be discussing it with the consultant the following week.
There is no exam board deadline for access arrangements. I have had to do ones during exam season for e.g. A broken arm.
Rest breaks shouldn't need a letter, pretty sure from memory (was an EO until last summer briefly!) that it's a centre delegated thing. If things are bad onthe day then special consideration can be applied for, this might add a minimal amount to the final percentage.
I have Crohn's and flare ups were particularly bad around A level exam time and degree finals. The condition is not caused by stress. But stressful times can make the symptoms worse. Good idea to get a plan in place in case he needs exam concessions. Wishing him lots of success
Would investigate the possibility of rest breaks.
The Equality Act 2010 requires an awarding body to make reasonable adjustments where a candidate, who is disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. The awarding body is required to take reasonable steps to overcome that disadvantage.
I am not sure if Crohn's is a recognised disability. However, the deadline for general access arrangements e.g. for long term conditions requiring extra time was 21st February.
Does he have an individual health care plan in place at school? I would have expected the school SENCO to have arrangements in place.
If he needs things like a toilet break because of his condition, the JCQ regulations state
" Candidates who are allowed to leave the examination room temporarily must be accompanied by a member of centre staff. Those candidates may be allowed extra time at the discretion of the centre to compensate for their temporary absence."
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