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Please can anyone advise: discrimination against disability at secondary school

(15 Posts)
Withinthewhirlwind Wed 26-Feb-14 16:42:03

Hi, I will try to be brief, but could really do with any advice/pointers (I am a long time member, infrequent poster, but have name changed for this)
My DS is in y11 at a selective state school, he has fairly recently been diagnosed with ASD, he is very bright but struggles with communication, both written & spoken. If he does not get the GCSE grades required by school to stay on to the sixth form can school ask him to leave or would this be discrimination on the grounds of his disability? School are not questioning his intellectual ability to cope with A levels. If anyone can help, I will be v grateful!

homework Thu 27-Feb-14 21:10:27

Yes school can ask him to leave if he doesn't get the grades required to stay on for sixth form. Have you been and spoken with senco to see if there any access arrangements that your son might be entitled to that could help reduce the stress and pressure.
They might give him the benefit of doubt if he missed out on one subject by few marks , you need to discuss your sons plans with them . Make sure you have plan b in place just in case , that you and your son are happy with.

Mrskeylime Thu 27-Feb-14 21:14:49

Would a scribe help him at all?
As homework says he may qualify for access arrangements to help him to cope with the exams. Have a look at the JCQ website.

Withinthewhirlwind Fri 28-Feb-14 10:16:45

Thank you both for replying. The SENCO is very much on DS's side, he will use a laptop in exams but is not entitled to anything further. Plan b is not an option - he also suffers from anxiety and selective mutism - moving to a new school is not feasible. Home ed is the only alternative - but just not sure how we can home ed chemistry!!

homework Fri 28-Feb-14 11:24:21

If senco is on your side surely he/ she should help you a little with this , if your looking at chemistry etc , then surely he get c grades, so will pass his gcse , that he be able to stay in school , you maybe need to think though subjects for a level .
Can you ask t o speak with head of sixth form to clarify , what grade levels required to do each subject , sciences may be higher than others but how mocks go , that surely some idea of how he copes under pressure .
Would he maybe consider doing another subject if he didn't get grade to be able to stay in that school , this could maybe be your b plan.
How do you think he cope with uni , as this must be where he's aiming for , I know change will be hard and difficult , but you could end up somewhere more support , no harm in looking , might make him grow in confidence to manage looking at sir rent options.

Withinthewhirlwind Fri 28-Feb-14 16:44:25

Yes, SENCO will help, but I am worried that the senior management team will not be sympathetic, as the school regularly appears at the top of the league tables and results are obviously very important to them.
I am due to meet with them soon to discuss all this, but I just wondered if the " unfair treatment" under disability discrimination would help. Science GCSE exams are now much more a test of your general science knowledge in prose English, than testing your pure knowledge of, eg, physics, and this makes subjects, such as physics, which should be easy for him (predicted an A* in maths) really hard, and it strikes me as though it could count as unfair treatment.
I am hoping that if he stays at he school, he can continue working with the ed psych and SENCO, which has only just started and is looking promising & that his confidence will increase as gets older. University is his aim, but it does not necessarily have to be straight after school, but he does have to stay in education next year & I'm worried at the moment, how on earth that is going to happen! Thank you for replying - I really do appreciate it!

ThreeBeeOneGee Fri 28-Feb-14 16:59:08

DS2 has ASD and is at a selective state school (perhaps it's even the same one?).

The general requirements to get into the sixth form are 6 B grades at GCSE but certain A-level courses require an A grade at GCSE.

If DS2 doesn't meet these requirements, then I don't think they'll be discriminating against him. The school only offers A-levels, and if he gets below 6 B grades then I'd be wondering whether A-levels are the most suitable type of course for him.

I understand that a change of setting would be a big challenge for him, but FE colleges are often very supportive of those with additional needs.

However, hopefully his current school will be able to support him too, in which case he'll hopefully get the required grades.

Withinthewhirlwind Sat 01-Mar-14 08:27:06

That's exactly the problem - his school require As & v possibly Bs to do A levels, he may not achieve these because of the written element of subjects that he could pretty much do in his sleep in their pure or traditional form, school recognise this and accept that he is intellectually very capable of A levels and that their format will suit him much better - this is why I think the GCSE format discriminates against him! I was hoping that someone on here might have had experience of this, and known if there is any mileage in it, his situation is unusual but vacant be can't be unique!

Withinthewhirlwind Sat 01-Mar-14 08:28:15

Sorry, not sure where that random vacant came from!

Mrskeylime Sat 01-Mar-14 09:20:18

Are you sure he doesn't qualify for a scribe - is his anxiety around writing? What evidence do you have to support his difficulties with writing?

Mrskeylime Sat 01-Mar-14 09:22:09

Who has assessed him specifically for access arrangements?

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 01-Mar-14 11:06:45

I understand and agree that the style of assessment and examination in GCSEs is less suited to those with ASD. Too much inference and reading between the lines for DS2's way of thinking.

I don't know how much those skills can be taught if your brain just isn't wired that way. DS2 seems to have particular problems with Humanities, especially R.S.

Some iGCSEs seem to be better, e.g. the Cambridge Science iGCSEs seem more ASD-friendly than the AQA Science GCSEs.

Withinthewhirlwind Sat 01-Mar-14 17:19:22

Mrskeylime - unfortunately a scribe wouldn't hep him, as he would not speak to them! School have experimented with different exam scenarios and they and DS have concluded that he works best in the main exam hall using a laptop, so that is what we will be going with,

He has had a full cognitive assessment and the school have used this to determine his access arrangements, I had hoped he would qualify for extra time, but he scores very highly on processing which I understand is the factor extra time is based on.

Three - you are right, but unfortunately there's no choice at his school. His physics teacher has said that doing well in the GCSE is no indication at all of your ability in physics, and that it is simply designed to test a general knowledge of science.

Ah well, he is working hard (his mocks were fairly mixed) so that is probably his best chance of doing well - thanks everyone for your help.

Mrskeylime Sat 01-Mar-14 17:48:22

In some circumstances extra time can be awarded without below average scores in processing/reading/writing speed.

The school can contact JCQ directly to discuss your ds's case. I was on an access arrangements course recently and there was a representative there from JCQ who advised that schools should do just that in in a situation such as your ds's.

On the JCQ site(www.jcq.org.uk) look at page 26 paragraph 5.23

Withinthewhirlwind Sat 01-Mar-14 22:32:55

Thank you, I will, that is really helpful

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