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Will someone help me work out what to do?

(17 Posts)
lisson Mon 04-Mar-13 10:40:37

Sorry... hope this is not to long but I don't want to drip feed.

DS is in year 6. Like all children in England, he got his secondary school allocation last Friday and we were lucky to have been offered our first choice, so I have already accepted the place.

Three weeks ago, at parent's night just before half-term, his teacher spoke to me about the handwriting problems and described how they are causing him problems with SATS. She made it fairly clear that its up to me to deal with it, because the primary school has no plans. And the teacher also happens to be the school's SENCO co-ordinator.

So, I tried to help DS improve his handwriting over the half-term holiday, but I got nowhere. So, last Monday I found a handwriting tutor and took DS to her on Saturday. The handwriting tutor's day job is head of special needs at a local independent secondary, but I was just taking DS to her for some help in improving his handwriting.

The tutor spent 90 mins with DS and at the end she said that she thinks he has dysgraphia and auditory processing difficulties, but she obviously needs to do tests to be sure. She thinks that DS should have extra time for doing exams like KS2 SATS and later GSCEs.

The tutor's advice was to find out from the school what the deadline is for applying for extra time in the SATS and exactly what assessments they will need. Also, will they accept a privately arranged assessment by this tutor or do I need to pay for more expensive ones from an educational psychologist?

I checked online and the deadline for applying for extra time in SATS passed last week, so its too late for this.

What should I do now? Try to speak to the primary school SENCO or contact the secondary school one?

And are these assessments always privately paid for?

Hope you read this far! Any experience or knowledge of the processes would be gratefully received.

lisson Mon 04-Mar-13 15:00:02


Ineedmorepatience Mon 04-Mar-13 15:11:07

Hi lisson, this board is not very active for some reason, why don't you pop over to the special needs children board, it is much busier and has very knowledgable people on

lisson Mon 04-Mar-13 16:40:19

thanks, I will.

23balloons Sun 17-Mar-13 21:58:47

Hi It is not too late. My mind has gone blank but I had the same thing last year. I got ds assessed privately in April & discovered he was dyslexic and should have extra time. I spoke to the Head who wasn't interested as it was the week before the SATs when I got his report. I contacted the people who administer the SATs - info on my other computer (I will look it up tomorrow) I emailed them and because ds was just diagnosed he fell within the significant change of circumstance category so extra time could be applied for after the deadline. The school had to apply on my behalf though. I emailed the Head directly & insisted they did this & his extra time was approved within a day.

23balloons Sun 17-Mar-13 22:12:22

I have just remembered it was the Standards Testing Agency (STA) that I contacted with my query on extra time. They accepted my report without question, I had a full Diagnostic Assessment carried out by a PATOSS registered assessor. I think they either need to be registered by patoss or an Ed Psych

lisson Sun 17-Mar-13 23:01:54

thank you. The school say Ds would not qualify anyway because there has to be 3 distinct problems, but I think he will (unfortunately).

What's PATOSS though?

lisson Sun 17-Mar-13 23:05:14

Professional Association for Teachers and Assessors of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (I looked it up!)

I arranged for DS to get a full assessment yesterday. The assessor says she has the requisite qualifications but I was planning to check before she started assessing DS. Do you know how to check whether someone belongs to PATOSS or not?

Also, hope you don't mind me asking but how did the assessment cot?

lisson Sun 17-Mar-13 23:05:56

should read "how much did the assessment cost"?

(Hope I am not asking anything too private!)

alimac87 Sun 17-Mar-13 23:19:30

SATS don't really count for anything, unless it's different where you are? I always thought they were for the school more or less? (I don't mean that to sound horrible, obviously you don't want your DS to be struggling if there's a way round it).

The one thing I'd be wary of is the transfer to secondary - in our experience, secondary school ignored everything that had ever happened at primary (including a PATOSS teacher assessment in Y4) We ended up getting an ed. psych assessment and now everything is creaking into gear but the supposed information sharing between primary and secondary never happened (dd is y7).

lisson Sun 17-Mar-13 23:31:02

I know what you mean about SATS and a month ago I'd have agreed with you.

The problem is that this year DS has become very aware of the levels thanks to his teacher who even has posters on the wall about how many marks to get each level. It seems to be a constant theme and the children have gone from not really knowing what they are for each subject to being acutely aware of it. Several parents have complained to me that their children are upset because they just can't seem to get those extra two marks that will bump them up another sublevel. It ridiculous.

Even then I wasn't bothered as Ds was due to do ok. But then he got this dysgraphia/ auditory processing thing out of the blue and it seems to be shaking him a little. As though he isn't the person he thought he was.

So, if he gets extra time in the SATS, and his performance improves as a result, I think it will boost his self-confidence. So that's the only reason I care.

(Actually I am so fed up with the school's pushing SATS that I almost wish them a sweep of bad results!)

lisson Sun 17-Mar-13 23:33:25

I just checked the tutor with whom I arranged do the full assessment yesterday on the PATOSS register. She's not listed there.
Does that mean her report would not be accepted? She was adamant yesterday that it would be and full of stories of how often she has done this in her teaching job.

23balloons Mon 18-Mar-13 22:58:40

Hi I think if you are going to pay it should either be a PATOSS registered person or an ed psych. Not everyone is on the search list but if she is listed she should be able to give you a registration number. I got a special discount through work ( work in HE & have negotiated a special rate) I paid £300. My son was dyslexic though, if there are other problems an ed psych may be better? Don't know how much they cost but I am trying to find one for other do who I suspect is dyspraxic (harder to test for in children).

Now ds1 is at secondary I have used the report to ask for extra time in written tests eg English as you have to establish a history of extra time if it may be require later on for GCSE. I looked on the JCQ website and the accept PATOSS or Ed psych but the practitioner should be registered with the school. If a child is given extra time as normal working practise throughout tests in school it is easier to get this later on. I would start with SATs to establish a precedence. The reports can often take 3weeks so time will be limited & ultimately the school must apply. I think the Head knew I would complaint a lot if they didn't apply for ds though. If your tutor is qualified you could ask for proof.

23balloons Mon 18-Mar-13 23:03:30

Also SATs are used to set targets in nearly all secondary schools. Even though ds only got 4c for writing he has been put in the top set as his reading was higher, his maths & science were 5 & he performed well in CATS. All of his teachers are aware of his difficulties with spelling and he no longer is labelled as 'lazy'.

Hope it works out for your ds

lisson Tue 19-Mar-13 09:47:56

Thank you 23 balloons. DS is due to have the tests with this other person next week. The only two advantages is that she is cheap(ish) i.e. under £400 and I have her contact details.

I called the Standards Testing Agency because you mentioned them. They were helpful. They confirmed what you said about late diagnosis being a reason why a late application for extra time can be accepted under the "exceptional circumstances" clause. They also explained the process: I get the report and send it to the school. The school should then apply to the LEA and the LEA will have the final decision.

Then the Standards Testing Agency asked me to do a telephone survey and I said ok because the person i'd spoken to had really tried to help. It was more geared for teachers but the survey asked "Were you aware that 22nd March is the deadline for registering candidates for level 6 SATS?". Well no, I wasn't aware (and no reason why i should be!). Except DS is a level 6 in maths and I've heard nothing about putting him up for this exam. Wouldn't you think the school would tell parents if there child was being put forward for this extra exam?? I suspect that they haven't put DS's name forward but I don't know why.

I am a little unhappy with the school at the moment because the teacher has been heavily pressurising DS to improve the quantity and the quality of his handwriting. The strong implication was that he was just not trying. DS was buckling under the stress because no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't improve and the teacher kept complaining at him. So, I asked the teacher to back off and I took him to a handwriting tutor to see if she could help. Instead the tutor pointed out that he probably has dysgraphia and auditory processing disorder (and she has enough experience to know). So, I told the school and suddenly the teacher (who also is SENCO) is treating me like the pushy parent from hell.

23balloons Tue 19-Mar-13 16:38:15

Hi My son's school was similar. Your tutor does sound like she knows what she is talking about. I think ds2 has similar problems especially with writing.

Ds1's teacher kept saying he was slow and wouldn't keep up at secondary which was one of the reasons I got him tested. Even when I did though she did nothing to help him and wrote him a horrible end of year report. I would have complained but I was worried ds2 would get her and she would take it out on him. If ds2 does get her I will complain this time.

Also the same thing happened with maths. Ds1 was always top of the class for maths but the only children who got entered for level 6 were the ones being tutored for11+ . Ds got almost full marks in the level 5 paper and is working comfortably at level 6b/a in secondary school. Thankfully the teachers at secondary are great and he is doing really well this year. He was offered the use of a computer but he cannot touch type.

Keep pushing for your son and do complain if they ignore the report. In the end I had to contact his new secondary school myself & email the report as theSENCO hadn't bothered!

lisson Tue 19-Mar-13 17:56:15

I find it astonishing that a SENCO would notice that a child in their class was struggling with one aspect of their work but assume that the child just wasn't trying even though the child was conscientious about everything else. Maybe I am expecting too much? Am I?

But even if its easy to miss these things, then you would think that when you discover your mistake, you'd be bending over backwards to help? Or even just make a tiny effort?

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