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Dyspraxia extra time in GCSEs- senco advice? (long sorry)

(10 Posts)
nostress Sun 29-Dec-13 11:05:07

DS1 is in Y11 was diagnosed with dyspraxia in Y4 (but was under senco since reception). He has twice been assessed by an ed pysc and once by occupational therapist. Also had assessments at children's hospital. All professionals agree dyspraxia and all say extra time required in exams. He is at a 14-19 academy so is in his second year there. They have all the info about his dyspraxia from the old schools. He uses an ipad in lessons and a laptop in exams as his handwriting is illegible.

He has a tutor for Maths as he finds it hard because of poor spacial awareness. Tutor advised me to ask school for a large print copy of the maths GCSE because he finds reading graphs etc. hard. Senco responded that this was not possible as he doesn't have large print text books etc. Tutor thinks this is bollox and he should have it. DS is not bothered and says small print fine and says he would be embarrassed to use big print anyhow. So I have not pushed that.

Then a few weeks ago DS had his GCSE mocks. He was not given extra time. I emailed senco asking why and he did not respond. I only found out much later from my son that he said DS couldn't have extra time because he uses a laptop to speed up writing. But a laptop doesn't speed up his reading or mental processing! His mock grades came out in the holidays and he has done badly. For example, predicted b got a d in English. But DS says that he left out the entire 18mark question at the end of the paper because he didn't have time to do it.

I know that exam boards are making it difficult to get extra time now but I can see why he is being penalised. He has it hard enough because of his dyspraxia and now he's being screwed over. He's only predicted b and cs and I think this could mean he wont even get that and get Ds or worse. Also very pissed off that SENCO not talking to me about these decisions and instead talking to DS. DS cant relate all the information to me about what he said because he has dyspraxia and finds that difficult.

There's no one in school to answer my queries as on holiday. Please Sencos what is happening in GCSEs at the minute??

LIZS Sun 29-Dec-13 11:20:09

Not a SENCO but have ds in similar position and have had recent discussion on this . Basically the JCQ requirements are now very specific and we have, albeit a little reluctantly, forgone the extra time application for now . ds has mocks in January and should it prove an issue we have very little time to get an Ed Psych report to attempt to support a formal application for the summer exams , even assuming he were to meet the criteria on assessment.

The key criteria seems to be a processing score on the WISC IV UK (iirc) scale of below 84 (that is score not percentile). Ds ' assessment at age 10 placed him above this on all 5 areas , his one 3 years ago below on one element only but that came as a surprise to the Ed Psych at the time and she now feels , as do we and the school , that it may not now be so and we'd be wasting money trying to prove it.

Do you have any professional reports from within the last 3 years which show any of these areas to score below 84 ? Unlike extra time , for laptop etc it only has to be an established mode of use to qualify to be used in exams, so much more straightforward.

nostress Sun 29-Dec-13 11:57:12

No he hasnt had an assessment more recently than y6. I'll have to dig out the reports to look. But I can remember that his spacial score was 12 (out of 100) whereas his other scores were 80+ and remember that a difference of more than 30 strongly suggested dyspraxia. Its so depressing all the changes are against him- linear, tougher on spelling, no extra time, no speaking and listening in English.... Absoulte academic write off if you dont get a C. sad

LIZS Sun 29-Dec-13 12:10:16

You need to look at the actual score (out of 140ish) not % . Spatial isn't one of the Index/Scale for WISC test listed on our report although may well be a component. We have a summary showing scores and % for Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory, Processing Speed and IQ.

tbh if your report is from Year 6 , I fear your options are either that you have about a month to get a new one (we've been told deadline is end of Jan, although there may be some leeway) which demonstrates the need in these statistical terms or may need to work with the school to find alternative strategies to get the best out of him ie exam technique so that he attempts the high mark questions first.

wetaugust Fri 03-Jan-14 22:27:41

Look at the website of the examing body i.e. AQA, OCR etc. The website will tell you what is needed to be granted additional time and who is eligible to apply for it. Years ago it was any qualified teacher - don't know about these days.

If school refuse to assist then threaten them with the Equality Act - seriously.

You may also want to ask for a separate room so he's not disturbed as the rest of his chort leave the exam while he remains for his extra time. That's a perfectly acceptable request.

Hassled Fri 03-Jan-14 22:34:02

Agree that there needs to be a more recent assessment than Year 6. There has to be approval from the exams boards, I gather - so the school needs to put an application in pronto.

My Dyspraxic DS2 was re-assessed by the school SENCo in Yr10 (now Yr11). In his case he doesn't get extra time for exams where he can use his laptop. Where he can't (Maths, Science, etc) then he gets the 25% extra. We're happy with that.

Moominmammacat Sat 04-Jan-14 16:11:08

My dyspraxia ds got 25% extra time from y11 on Ed psych report. Senco complete rubbish, battled it all myself with school exam co ordinator, came out with 11 a*_c. Now at rg uni with far more help than he ever got at school.

nostress Mon 06-Jan-14 13:13:08

moomin the rules have changed and they are getting much tougher this year thanks to gove.

The senco has just phoned and apparently all of the y11 SEN kids have to be reassessed in the school by an external assessor over the next few weeks. These new rules mean getting 25% is practically impossible. But what's really stressing me out now is that he said he will have to be reassessed to use his laptop. What happens if they take his laptop away sad . I'm getting really stressed, angry and depressed about it..

LIZS Mon 06-Jan-14 15:22:02

that's the situation we are in with ds, but they have said no issue re laptop as the qualifying criteria differ.

nostress Wed 19-Feb-14 17:04:59

Update!
The external assessors were in last week and all SEN kids were reassessed. My DS has been given extra-time (thank god) but another boy in his year with dyspraxia was not. Another of his friends with dyslexia has also not been given extra time. He can't tell me much about the assessment apart from that he had to write things down and copy things. Also the lady asked him lots and lots of questions but he couldn't tell me what they were. I know his friend with dyslexia is quite high achieving.

He is also allowed the laptop for 'essay type questions'.
She also suggested that he could use scribe. He said he would rather use a laptop but now he is having second thoughts. I think if he uses a scribe he will not be given any available marks for spelling so I think that its best to use a laptop. Just in case he can get some marks for it!

We have also had parents evening so I now know he only attempted half of his media studies exam before running out of time (scored an E) and he only completed 2/3rds of his English paper (scored an E). The D he was given in his report was because his controlled assessments are a C. He did better in maths/science though (short answers) and got Cs despite not finishing.

Its still going to be a struggle to finish though! Has anyone got any tips on remaining focussed for such a long time? Maths/English/media are all going to be nearly 2 hours of exams and he gets distracted after a few minutes. He has some double lessons (2 hours) and his maths teacher says he can not concentrate that long even though he is allowed (encouraged) out go 'to the toilet' and he usually does a lap of the school before returning. And his teacher also lets him do exercises at the back of the class.

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