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Access and Special Consideration for GCSE advice needed.

(22 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 09:21:20

My DD is siting her GCSES this year and has a diagnosis of anorexia.

I would like to ask about what special consideration/ arrangements we can ask for and how to go about this.

The school have said they are going to arrange rest breaks, but I also would like for her to have extra time. And I did also read that you can get a percentage allowance. Is this the case?

Any advice greatly appreciated about what when and how to go about this.

Due to the type of school it is, I think i'm going to have to potentially be 'That Parent' about this, as I do not have confidence in them to explore all options on our behalf, so want to be really clear in my own mind what those options are.

TIA smile

AlexanderHamilton Wed 07-Feb-18 09:27:40

EXtra time is usually for students with some kind of processing issue or a physical disability that slows them down. Students have to have properly administered tests that show they are below a certain percentile for handwriting, dyslexia etc

Special consideration would be for something unexpected that happened in the midst or just before exams such as a bereavement.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 09:34:30

Hi Alexander, her acute anxiety impacts on her processing speed. Would a relapse during/ just before exams count for the latter? She must be entitled to some sort of acknowledgement of the impact of her illness, surely.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 09:35:40

Does special consideration only apply to illnesses that occur at the last minute, not ongoing conditions?

catslife Wed 07-Feb-18 09:40:24

For medical conditions the supervised rest breaks is standard procedure.
The school have said they are going to arrange rest breaks, but I also would like for her to have extra time.
whether you would like your dd to have extra time or not isn't the issue here. There are strict criteria for whether a dc qualifies for extra time (or not) and standardised tests have to be carried out and your dc needs to be below a certain threshold to qualify. If they are still above that threshold (even if it's below average/ lower than they should be) then they don't qualify. Despite what is in the press about extra time it's actually very difficult to prove a child needs it.
The deadline for extra time is earlier than exam entries, so it may be too late to apply by now or only limited time for testing. Some types of access arrangements need to be established as a normal way of working before exam entries.
The JCQ information is in the link here
Special Consideration can apply for factors that occur on the day/just before an exam. So if your dds condition gets worse just beforehand then special consideration can be applied for.

Myusername2015 Wed 07-Feb-18 09:41:31

Hi op I’m a head of year 11 so know a bit about this
I’d have a look at

That is the joint exam board guidelines on access and special consideration. As the poster above says to be granted access arrangements evidence must be in place that this way of working is sustained. What’s happened in her mocks? Does she get extra time in class/complete assessments on word processor etc? Special consideration can be applied in the case of ongoing illness you will need medical evidence and as much of it as possible. I’d recommend an urgent meeting with School senco.

KeithLeMonde Wed 07-Feb-18 09:42:22

Here's a link to the guidance:

Assuming that the school are doing exams overseen by JCQ regulations (this means the major UK boards: AQA, Edexcel/Pearson, WJEC - but NOT iGCSEs) then these are the rules they have to go by. They will be inspected by JCQ during the exam season to check that they are following all of the regulations.

Have a good read of this as it should answer your questions and give you an idea of what is going to be possible.

KeithLeMonde Wed 07-Feb-18 09:44:10

Oops double cross post.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 07-Feb-18 09:55:24

Speed of information processing is a cognitive function. The standardised tests catslife refers to measures the speed a person is able to understand & react to a mental task. There is a correlation between that & anxiety but is usually the other way around eg the slow processing speed exacerbates anxiety. To get extra time you have to be on a very low percentile.

Davespecifico Wed 07-Feb-18 10:03:10

I think you have 2 possible ways forward for this. If you’ve observed that she takes a longer time with written work than she should do, ask School to run relevant assessments to see if she qualifies.
Alternatively, you could contact specialist who diagnosed her to see her again and see if they think she needs the time on medical grounds.
You will need to really get a move on because School need to establish this as a normal way of working on order to process an application for extra time in GCSEs.
Btw, don’t commission an ed psych report without first telling School or they may say results are invalid as evidence.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 10:03:32

Ok, thanks everyone. I think we'll stick with rest breaks for now as I think we would struggle to give the evidence needed for extra time, unless she was very unwell at the time of assessment. She is now in the early stages of recovery, but if she has a relapse just before or during the exams then I would apply after the event for special consideration. How does that sound as a plan?

PS when I said 'I would like her to have extra time' i do realise that there are criteria to be met! All i meant was i'd like to pursue the possibility of extra time, if she met the criteria.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 10:06:15

The trouble is Dave, that she is naturally quite a fast working but debilitating anxiety can have quite an impact!! I don;t think she's slow enough per se to meet the criteria, so I think we will have to go down the special consideration route if she is very unwell during exams.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 07-Feb-18 10:09:52

Ultimately, yes do what you can to help her get her GCSE’s but she has bigger mountains to climb at the moment. Qualifications can come later (despite what some may tell you). She’s in for a bumpy ride.

Davespecifico Wed 07-Feb-18 10:12:17

Do go for it if you really think she’s slow at written work. She needs to be in 14thish or less centile on relevant speed/memory tests to qualify.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 10:36:34

Thanks, alexander but we are living that 'bumpy ride' and have been for a year so- did you think I might not have noticed ;). But thanks for the advice.

Dave, I don't think she'd be anywhere near that low unless she was really poorly and plagued by intrusive thoughts. which could happen. and if it does, we'll apply for special consideration afterwards. does that sound like an ok plan?

AlexanderHamilton Wed 07-Feb-18 10:51:05

I wasn’t trying to be patronising. But having had a close family member severely affected (in the midst of A levels) I do have considerable experience. Exams had to be delayed.

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 11:10:48

Sorry if I am being over sensitive, alexander. Your advice has been very to the point and seems to suggest that my dd would not qualify for anything 'special'. that's ok. i didn't start this thread looking for empathy. i wanted proper advice- which i've got. but then, in the midst of that a generally non empathetic thread (again, i'm not looking for empathy or sympathy on this particular thread) i got what felt like a mini lecture/ being told how to suck eggs- and it smarted a bit. sorry.

unweavedrainbow Wed 07-Feb-18 11:15:37

@ExamHelp just to butt in slightly, but if your DD sees a psychiatrist then she won't have to meet the centile requirements for extra time but the school only has to show that she has "substantial impairment" and that this is her "normal way of working" (you will need a letter from the psych to back this up). Anorexia is considered a medical condition and the Access Arrangement Regulations take into account that people with medical conditions and physical disabilities might need extra time for other reasons rather than just slow processing or other cognitive difficulties (with Anorexia in particular, fatigue is probably an issue). This is discussed in 5.2.3 of the AA Regs file

[Link removed by MNHQ at poster's request]

unweavedrainbow Wed 07-Feb-18 11:17:15

sorry link doesn't work- available to download here

ExamHelp Wed 07-Feb-18 11:20:03

unweavedrainbow, thanks so much for butting in smile

she does have a formal diagnosis from the psychiatrist. the main impact of her difficulties currently in an academic sense (apart form school absence) have been memory difficulties and concentration difficulties. fatigue is also an issue. will follow your link and then pop back.

Flyingprettycretonnecurtains Wed 07-Feb-18 18:08:20

You would have to get the consultant to write in and say she has to have extra time on medical grounds for x, y z reasons. You need evidence of usage and also that it affects her positively but the deadline for jcq applications for this year is very soon.

TheDrsDocMartens Wed 07-Feb-18 18:27:31

Encourage her to use the rest breaks and particularly at times when she feels the anxiety mounting. I’ve worked with many who don’t use their breaks. If she has some calming techniques she could be taking 10 mins to go through them before restarting.

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