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AIBU?

To think its unacceptable to have this exam arrangement?

119 replies

Hairydogmummy · 22/11/2019 19:24

DS16 has his mocks the week after next. We've had a letter today saying that kids who have extra time (which DS does for his Asperger's) will finish too late to get the bus home and have to make alternative arrangements. He will only just miss the bus which is frustrating. I've no way of getting him home until much later. WIBU to email them and say they'll have to arrange it another way? Either that or DS could take some extra time just not his full amount. I'm reluctant to do this as he struggles to finish exams anyway. It will be about 5 days that he'd miss the bus.

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BoneyBackJefferson · 22/11/2019 20:41

If you go to the exam board they will/should have a list of dates and times when the exam will take place.

Once you have the times and dates you then need to talk to the exams officer about arrangements.

The exam times usually have a window of operation. But if you decide to do them on the next day after everyone else you may find that he has to stay in school over night so that his internet/media access can be monitored so that he doesn't gain any sort of advantage.

In short there are a few options that can be taken for the real exams.

As for the Mocks it depends very much on the available staffing as to what the school can do.

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Hairydogmummy · 22/11/2019 20:43

I should be fine for the real thing as our school will be on exams too and I won't teach many classes myself as they'll be in exams so will be able to go and get him.

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JemilyJ · 22/11/2019 20:47

Public exams can be started a certain amount early (or they could when I took them) and that’s what my school did for those of us who had extra time, specifically so we could get transport home.

I also wonder if it’s worth asking the LEA school transport people about alternative transport (funded taxi) on disability grounds?

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ItsGoingTibiaK · 22/11/2019 20:47

I think on balance, an enquiry as to whether they could start earlier might be a good idea.

Yes - I think that’s probably a better approach than “email[ing] them and say[ing] they'll have to arrange it another way.”!

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minisoksmakehardwork · 22/11/2019 20:50

I would say it's better for the extra time students to start earlier if they can and finish at the same time as the rest of the students taking that exam. There would certainly be less of an opportunity to cheat.

Otherwise, check whether your school has a 'late bus'. Dd1 is in year 7 and leaves after period 4 like the majority of the school. However for gcse and a level students period 5 is compulsory. For which those pupils who normally go in by bus can get the late bus home. It might take longer as it's taking less pupils so does covers more than one route.

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safariboot · 22/11/2019 20:59

Is it a school-run bus?

If so, is the school legally required to provide transport?

If so, then YANBU, the school need to sort it out.

If it's a regular bus, or it's a school bus but your DS has no right to it, then you need to sort it.

www.gov.uk/free-school-transport

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roisinagusniamh · 22/11/2019 23:58

I'm sure the school will ignore your email. You need to sort this out yourself. Your son needs to learn that not every situation can be altered to suit his needs.

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Hairydogmummy · 23/11/2019 00:38

@roisinagusniamh I've not even spoken to him about this? Why would you assume that? I expect to get a bit of a bashing on AIBU from people who like to be nasty online to strangers but really? A 16 year old kid you've no knowledge of, apart from the fact he has Aspergers? You couldn't be more wrong. I can't stand kids who take that attitude and believe me I know plenty and have brought him up to be the opposite.

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Elbowedout · 23/11/2019 01:31

My son got extra time for his GCSEs last year and he was always out in time for the bus. Depending on the paper some still finish before the end of the standard school day even with extra time, and I presume they must have started early for the others. All the pupils with extra time were in a separate room anyway so there was no possibility of any information betting to other pupils or anything. There were a few days when he had exams in the morning and in the afternoon which did leave quite a short break but there was still enough time to eat, and exam candidates were given priority in the lunch queue to ensure they didn't miss lunch.
To be honest, it hadn't occurred to me that this could be a problem as DS didnt miss the bus at all either during micks or his real GCSEs and the school didn't ever suggest it might be an issue.
We live in a fairly rural area and it is over 20 miles from our house to the school so missing the bus is quite a big deal. A large percentage of the pupils travel similar or longer distances so I guess the school staff may be more aware of the problem than average. I am sure my children's school wouldn't break any exam board rules and the buses certainly didn't wait any longer than usual so I can only assume they were allowed to start early if the extra time was going to take the exam to beyond 15.30. They obviously found a solution anyway and if our school can do it I am sure others can too.

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tillytrotter1 · 23/11/2019 04:20

could he do the first part of the paper that day and the second half the next day?

Doubtful because of exam security and unfair to other candidates. It certainly wouldn't be allowed in the live exams.

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SteeperThanHell · 23/11/2019 06:50

Some really unpleasant responses here - a conversation with the school sounds sensible.

We pay the school directly for our bus - if there was a 10 minute delay for someone it would just wait.

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Ginfordinner · 23/11/2019 06:58

Most school buses aren't the responsibility of the schools. The school just has a contract with the bus company, and therefore have no control over changing the times of when they run. When DD took her GCSEs and A levels I'm afraid I did end up taxiing her about to get her to and from school.

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MsJaneAusten · 23/11/2019 09:44

[splitting the exam over two days is] Doubtful because of exam security and unfair to other candidates. It certainly wouldn't be allowed in the live exams.

Exam security doesn’t apply here as it’s a mock and I know it wouldn’t be allowed in the real exam - my post mentioned that!

‘Unfair to other students’ isn’t actually relevant. Exam concessions such as extra time are about making it fair for pupils with SEN or other needs. ‘Fair’ doesn’t always mean ‘the same’.

OP - good luck with it. It’s a fine line trying to remain reasonable while also fighting for the needs of kids with SEN. I hope you find a good solution Flowers

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roisinagusniamh · 23/11/2019 09:47

OP, you do suggest the school change their arrangements to suit your son.
Many students have access arrangements for many many reasons . I work in a big state secondary and we get many requests to change the exam timetable . Depending on the situation we try and accommodate but your request would not be considered where I work because it is unreasonable and unfair on the others who have access arrangements.
I am not trying to goad or offend you really, just telling how your email is likely to be regarded.

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itslikebeingshoutedat · 23/11/2019 09:50

It’s also a bit different now, in November when it’s pitch black and cold, to may and June.

Hope you get something resolved, OP.

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CentralPerkMug · 23/11/2019 09:51

My son has compulsory afterschool revision classes every Monday meaning he misses the bus. I honestly am delighted the school are providing this, wouldn't cross my mind to be annoyed. The school are currently working on getting him extra time for his GCSEs next year, I am delighted they are sorting this for him.

If you really aren't happy then obviously you need to speak to them, but I shouldn't think they are doing this for no good reason.

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Selfsettling3 · 23/11/2019 09:57

Can he sit at school in the library or a teacher’s classroom until you are able to collect him on your way home from work?

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MsJaneAusten · 23/11/2019 10:00

because it is unreasonable and unfair on the others who have access arrangements.

Then you are going against the SEN code of practice, which means you need to consider the needs of this child. If alternatives can’t work for him, fine, but saying alternatives can’t work as they wouldn’t be fair on others is rubbish.

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manicinsomniac · 23/11/2019 10:01

How many children does it affect? He surely can't be the only child who has extra time and relies on a bus? I think it's worth at least asking if there's a possibility of starting the extra time room a few minutes earlier.

Where I work, approx 50% of our oldest year group is entitled to extra time (younger than GCSEs - Year 8 - but I think extra time allocation only gets more common as children get older, not less). We're far from a selective school so that may not be the norm but it's definitely very common to have extra time. There could be a lot of children affected at your son's school.

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RufusthebewiIderedreindeer · 23/11/2019 10:02

I should be fine for the real thing as our school will be on exams too and I won't teach many classes myself as they'll be in exams so will be able to go and get him

Oh i see

In that case although I appreciate the school want them to have exam experience im sure some provision can be made for him....or he just doesnt take the whole extra time and takes the hit on marks

As long as he understands that if his marks are lower that he will be fine in the real exams and is happy with that

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Comefromaway · 23/11/2019 10:03

These are only mocks. The school is being very unreasonable. Him having to stay much later for a kid with an asd during a stressful time (mocks) is likely to be counter productive.

Both my two got/get extra time and I’ve not come across this in any of the 3 schools they attended.

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roisinagusniamh · 23/11/2019 10:07

missjaneausten....each SEN student has a set of individual needs and these needs are met by my school.We don't cover accommodating a bus times for any student.
Adjusting a timetable because of a bus timetable is an unreasonable request.
Most of our parents are grateful for all the adjustments made to enable their child to succeed and would not make this request, thankfully. If they did, we would make suggestions, perhaps. Schools are very busy places and have many other issues to deal with.

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MsJaneAusten · 23/11/2019 10:34

Haha. I know schools are busy. I work in one. Adjusting a mock exam timetable because of a bus timetable would indeed be an unreasonable request for most children, but it might be a perfectly reasonable - necessary - request for an autistic child, in which case, alternative solutions need to be found.

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roisinagusniamh · 23/11/2019 10:39

Sending an email to school telling them they'll have to make other arrangements would not be accepted at my school. It is not a reasonable request.

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MsAwesomeDragon · 23/11/2019 10:48

roisina and yet plenty of schools do consider buses as part of their planning for exams. Mine certainly does. The entire mock timetable has been thought out so pupils with extra time won't miss their bus. We've been told that it's "unavoidable" for all three maths papers to be in the afternoon because they are only 1.5 hours long so even with extra time fit into the 2 hours available in the afternoon, whereas any subject that has 2 hour exams must be in the morning so the extra time doesn't make them miss their bus.

Even in the real exams school have been known to make special accommodations for pupils where extra time has meant they will miss the school bus. Sometimes that has been a member of staff taking the child home, other times we have managed to book a taxi (difficult, because all the local taxis are booked up every day taking kids home from school as a block booking already), very, very occasionally the child with the transport/extra time issue has started their exam early (as allowed by exam boards, everything is done entirely by the book!) Starting the exam early is not ideal due to the noise of lunch break still going on around the exam room, which is obviously very distracting.

I think how accommodating schools are prepared to be with transport issues is generally to do with how many pupils are affected. In our school, because we're in a pretty rural location, approx 75% of our pupils rely on school buses, so we bend over backwards to ensure the kids are on those buses as they may have no other way to get home (public transport is unavailable to many of the villages our pupils live in). Dd's school is far less accommodating of buses, because they are in a city and pupils either walk or come on public buses which are pretty frequent. So different situations lead to different responses from the schools, neither is wrong, just reacting to different circumstances.

OP, I really hope that when you explain the situation to the school they can give some good suggestions about how it can be solved. Unfortunately, the most likely solution will be to give your son somewhere to sit and revise quietly until you can arrive to collect him.

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