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access arrangements - school reluctant to apply despite recommendations from report

(11 Posts)
shelsco Fri 21-Mar-14 21:34:34

DS1 (15) is in year 10 and up to now has done well at school. He has complained about lack of time to finish tests in recent months and is generally slow at remembering, sequencing etc but he does work incredibly hard and gets decent results. (He did struggle with reading at primary school but he had a 2 year course of vision therapy and improved tremendously). His younger brother was struggling since starting secondary so we ended up having him tested for dyslexia. it turns out that he had auditory processing disorder and mild dyslexia. Once we realised what the symptoms were we had DS1 tested as well as a lot of his symptoms were similar if not worse. He has also been diagnosed with APD and mild dyslexia but school are saying he is not poor enough for access arrangements. His cognitive processing skills were on the 3rd percentile (underlying abilities on 95th). All other processing skills similarly weak but not quite as bad. Reading comprehension, however, very high. DS1 doing well but in stressful situations has difficulty. School has not noticed a problem and thinks he has no need. He has not let them know of any problem with time issues and if he doesn't understand asks friends so this isn't surprising. My worry is that he will not achieve his target grades under the time constraints of GCSE exams.
Several times recently he has said he knew the answers in maths tests but felt the reading and understanding of the question took him so long that he had to miss then out so he would finish. Dyslexia assessor who does access arrangements said because his processing scores are so low, along with his reported difficulties not much further evidence is needed and could easily be collected by school to submit to JCQ.

SENCo at school doesn't seem to understand cognitive processing and gave him a reading comprehension test then said he was very high and therefore needed no concessions. My question is can I do anything to get what DS1 needs. School basically don't seem to recognise cognitive processing issues.

homework Fri 21-Mar-14 23:18:23

Can you make an appointment to speak with head of year to see if he can help get senco on board , also downloads pages from access arrangements that apply to your ds and take them with you . Ask that he has a full assessment for access arrangements it's not just on reading ability but length of time takes you to read and understand .
They have tightened the rules but , if he assessed then you know one way or other.

streakybacon Sat 22-Mar-14 07:40:13

You could contact JCQ yourself and explain the situation. They may agree that he needs access arrangements in place and you can take their recommendations to school and ask them to apply. JCQ are very approachable (I HE and had to sort my son's access arrangements myself) - I'd suggest doing it by email then you have written responses to show to school. The chap I dealt with was Nick Lait laitn@jcq.org.uk

If you haven't done so already, you'll find the access arrangements document for this year here

shelsco Sat 22-Mar-14 09:03:10

Thanks. I did try to arrange a meeting with the head of year but he was unable to help. He told me that he went to see the SENCo and was told that it was her job and not in his remit. He apologised profusely but said he was powerless to do anything else. He had seen the head and received the same answer. I phoned and asked to see the head but he was unable to see me so I saw the deputy instead. He had very little understanding and said the reading test is the one that is recommended for deciding access arrangements. Will they have tests for cognitive processing as well? He didn't seem to know what it was and I'm not sure that the SENCo does, given that on getting his report showing low processing speeds they gave him a (very easy) reading test then concluded he was fine.
I did also download all pages from JCQ booklet, highlighted certain parts and took them with me. the bottom line was that the deputy felt my son was fine and was just 'having a bad when the test was done'. The fact that their reading results corroborates the reading results in the test would sort of disprove this argument. However, he really just didn't think that DS1 needed help. If he doesn't then obviously I'm happy, but it is concerning me that as the pressure is increasing he is complaining of running out of time and the school's view is well that's not unusual all lots of pupils run out of time. Not all pupils have processing speeds of 75! Aaargh! Feel so alone in all this. JCQ did say I need to paint a picture of need but dh was reluctant to trial extra time in tests as JCQ suggested as he said this would advantage anyone! sad

LIZS Sat 22-Mar-14 09:12:39

Even on 3rd percentile there is no guarantee he would match the specific criteria for extra time. Can you afford a referral to an Ed psych experienced in this area if the dyslexia assessment isn't adequate.

RaRaTheNoisyLion Sat 22-Mar-14 09:16:32

Apply for a statement and request a CAF. You'll probably not get much with either process but it will get their attention and they'll start taking you seriously when the alternative is reams of paperwork and hours of staff time.

shelsco Sat 22-Mar-14 11:11:26

Well the assessor is qualified to the highest level and actually foes access arrangements as part of her job. Her evidence is accepted by other schools, just our school thinks he is doing too well. My worry is, as things are getting harder, he is struggling more and may not continue to do well.
How much does an ed psych report cost and do they do full assessment or just screening?

shelsco Sat 22-Mar-14 13:35:55

What's a CAF?
I think they would laugh me out of the building if I asked for a statement. He is in the top set and until now has shown no obvious signs of difficulty except inability to read aloud, despite having a reading age of 20 and standardised reading comprehension of 125. He is very able but is now upset by running out of time in certain subjects (Actually the subjects he is best at). I am worried that he will not reach his predicted grades (even though he is working incredibly hard) because of slow processing. The school on the other hand can't seem to recognise that someone on target for high grades can be having these difficulties. Obviously, if his processing is not making much difference and he is achieving anyway then he doesn't need access arrangements. My worry is that now things have become more stressful and challenging, thye are starting to have an effect.

LIZS Sat 22-Mar-14 14:04:26

You can expect to pay between £400 and £1000 ime. The problem schools have now , and we've recently been through it with ds, is that the stats alone are not enough. Even if by chance on the day your dc is tested one of relevant scores is below 84 the school still has to argue the case and be able to evidence the need to JCQ.

RaRaTheNoisyLion Sat 22-Mar-14 14:24:34

Lots of our kids are in top sets for things and have statements.

shelsco Sat 22-Mar-14 15:03:07

Well I can't afford an ed psych! I think ds would score below 84 on any test of cognitive processing. His lowest two scores were 73 and 83 so to improve the one of 73 would be hard to do unless the test was a lot easier. He also has a diagnosis of APD which again was due to slow processing. Because he falls in the lowest bracket for cognitive processing not that much evidence is needed compared to if he had a higher score. The lady who assessed him applies for access arrangements all the time and felt he had enough evidence. It's just the school who feel he is too good! I'm worried that without the access arrangements he won't be!

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