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GCSES - Extra time for anxiety?

40 replies

leverett · 04/06/2019 17:55

Just that really. DD in Y9 has diagnoses of ASD and anxiety. When she is anxious she is likely to ‘freeze’ and this will obviously affect her exam performance.

For full disclosure DD is currently not attending school because of anxiety, although we are hoping she will reintegrate for Y10.

How would DD be assessed to see if she ‘qualifies’ for extra time? She has an EHCP if that makes any difference.

OP posts:
catndogslife · 04/06/2019 18:42

For extra time the school would carry out assessments e.g. on your dds reading, processing speed and handwriting speed. if these are below the normal range i.e. below 85 then she would qualify for extra time. Additional evidence such as not finishing exams in normal time can also be used.
There are however other access arrangements that your dd may qualify for. For pupils that "freeze" there is a prompter who makes sure the candidate keeps on working. It is also possible to have short rest breaks if needed (the time the pupil has out of the room is added on so they have the full amount of exam time).
Hope that helps.

Punxsutawney · 04/06/2019 19:49

Yes I think there has to be evidence for extra time. Ds is currently being assessed for ASD. He had a DASH handwriting test at Easter as he has pain and problems handwriting. His score was on the 24th percentile so he does not qualify for extra time ( I think it is 15% or lower) although he will be using a laptop. The OT explained that the rules are very strict for extra time which is understandable.

leverett · 04/06/2019 19:52

Thank you catsnddogslife - that is helpful. The bit I don’t get is that DD’s reading, writing and processing might be within the normal range on testing because it’s not an exam - particularly a GCSE exam with results that determine future decisions. GCSES are likely to make her very anxious and consequently affect her processing.

I’m confused by the fact that I have an older DS with ASD and anxiety who got extra time for his GCSES - that was 9 years ago. I’m sure he didn’t have formal assessments - his CAMHS doctor recommended he had extra time and wrote to the school who arranged it. Have things changed?

The other issue is that DD is currently too anxious to do any assessments to see if she qualifies for extra time! She has recently been assessed by an EP but the EP couldn’t do any formal assessments because of DD’s anxiety and communication issues.

I’m not sure rest breaks would work for DD - she is unlikely to be able to indicate that she needs to take a break because she struggles to communicate even non verbally when anxious.

OP posts:
Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 19:54

Yes, things changed pretty recently. My ds was told back in year 7 he would get extra time. But he’s borderline on processing speed so just gets a laptop (his DASH score is low) and rest breaks (for anxiety/asd issues)

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 19:58

Speed of information processing is different to freezing/anxiety. Processing speed is to do with how long it takes the brain to receive and process information, extra time is designed to re-dress the balance.

Freezing when anxious (ds does that too) is different. Time out (rest breaks) would generally be more beneficial.

figsandhoney · 04/06/2019 21:22

It depends on the individual exam board but I’m sure the school should be able to use the EHCP as evidence to apply for extra time. Supporting evidence of extra time being ‘normal way of working’ is often also required so hopefully if you can get her back in to school staff can start recording when extra time is needed (in lessons and mocks for example).

Assessments of reading speed, writing, cognitive processing etc. should not be needed when there is an EHCP confirming need, and as you say her scores may fall in the average range so would not be any of use and could cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Hope that helps Smile

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 21:29

It doesn’t depend on individual exam boards. They all have to adhere to the JQC regulations. Use of laptops etc can be “normal way of working” but extra time is more strictly regulated (it too should be documented though with different coloured pens etc).

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 21:31

The assessments also need to be recent (less than 2 years old too) so ones done in Year 7 are not valid and schools usually do them again around the start of Year 10

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 21:32

You can ask for things like being able to take her exams in a smaller room if you think that will help.

DramaQueen101 · 04/06/2019 21:39

As above mostly, but also building an evidence file to suggest that it part of her usual way of working. Our SEND team have to build an evidence file for each student that has examination access arrangements for coloured paper, lap tops, extra time etc. Some additional access arrangements come with part of a students individual needs (EHCP for example might reference need for breaks) and this can be used to get access arrangements for exams, however some need additional evidence, especially scribe, lap top etc. Hope she gets the help and support she needs!

ExpletiveDelighted · 04/06/2019 21:43

I would also suggest bringing it up at her next annual review of EHCP (perhaps talk to SENCO and form tutor beforehand). Then it is on the record of that discussion too.

stucknoue · 04/06/2019 21:50

Yes is the short answer. The school needs to apply to the exam board and there's various options, dd got extra time and "stop the clock" breaks of up to 10 mins per hour. She gets the same at university. She also has a private room.

FloatingthroughSpace · 04/06/2019 21:52

That's not correct. If she has a diagnosis she does NOT need measures of processing speed, (a form 8 assessment), she just needs statements from her teachers that she benefits from extra time, and for it to be the usual way of working. This needs support (eg diagnostic report) to confirm diagnosis. This is because once you have a formal diagnosis you are covered by the equality act and entitled to reasonable adjustments.

Extract from relevant pages of QCA information below

25% extra time
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Sensory and/or Physical Needs (HI, MSI, PD, VI)
Social, Mental and Emotional Needs (e.g. ADD, ADHD)
Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
Supervised rest breaks must always be considered before making a request for
extra time, since they may be more appropriate for candidates with a medical
condition, a physical disability or a psychological condition.
(See Chapter 5, section 5.1, page 21 for more detail).
5.2.3 Where a candidate has complex needs, i.e.
• Communication and Interaction Needs; or
• a learning difficulty with a current EHCP or Statement of special educational needs; or
• Sensory and/or Physical Needs; or
• Social, Mental and Emotional Needs;
which have a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her speed of
working, appropriate evidence of need (as below) must be available at the centre for
inspection. Form 8 is not required and must not be used.
Substantial impairment – evidence of need
So as not to give an unfair advantage, the SENCo’s letter or file note (written on
centre headed paper/template, signed and dated) must:
 confirm that the candidate has persistent and significant difficulties when
accessing and processing information, and is disabled within the meaning of
the Equality Act 2010;
 include evidence of the candidate’s current difficulties and how they substantially
impact on teaching and learning in the classroom;
 show the involvement of teaching staff in determining the need for 25% extra time;
 confirm that without the application of 25% extra time the candidate would be at a
substantial disadvantage; (The candidate would be at a substantial
disadvantage when compared with other, non-disabled candidates
undertaking the assessment.)
 confirm that 25% extra time is the candidate’s normal way of working within the centre
as a direct consequence of their disability.
The SENCo’s detailed information, as above, will be supported by:
• a letter from CAMHS, a HCPC registered psychologist, a hospital consultant, a
psychiatrist; or
• a letter from the Local Authority Specialist Service, Local Authority Sensory Impairment
Service or Occupational Health Service†; or
• a letter from a Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT); or
• a current Statement of Special Educational Needs, or an Education, Health and Care
Plan, which confirms the candidate’s disability.
†For example, an Occupational Therapist specialising in Children and Young People Services,
learning disability, mental health.

PeggyIsInTheNarrative · 04/06/2019 22:02

Things have changed massively. We blame Michael Gove in our house. Extra time is much harder to get DD had a 60 centile gap between her writing and reading but because her writing was above 15%ile she wasn't dyslexic enough.

She has anxiety and ADHD so did qualify for rest breaks.

My Dd had a person with her for all GCSEs (same person, a lovely TA). Before each exam DD would say when she wanted to take breaks according to structure of exam. We sometimes wrote it on post it and she gave it to TA e.g. every 20 minutes.

Good luck. Ask for quiet room too. We were told this was full but DD panicked when she had to sit in middle of exam hall and staff had to move her paper to the back of the room. Then she was allowed in quiet room for other exams. Grrr.

FloatingthroughSpace · 04/06/2019 22:10

Peggy that is incorrect; with a diagnosis of ADHD your DD just needed a senco statement as above to get extra time. So many schools and parents don't understand this and think the recent evidence of speed of processing is needed. It isn't.

figsandhoney · 04/06/2019 22:14

@Comefromaway I’m coming from an FE perspective where there are some exam boards that do not have to adhere to JCQ regulations but choose to publish their own guidance. By and large they follow the JCQ regulations but there can be some subtle differences.

OP there are centre delegated arrangements where evidence of ‘normal way of working’ is sufficient to grant arrangements, and arrangements where the school has to apply for prior approval. Extra time is one of the latter under JCQ regulations. But in addition to the core evidence (EHCP in this case) there should also be supporting evidence of ‘normal way of working’ as other posters have stated. JCQ are particularly keen on this additional evidence for extra time.

JCQ access arrangements and reasonable adjustments regulations are readily available via a quick internet search, so if you can find out which exam boards the school are using you could have a look at the guidance before any future meetings so you are forearmed with all the information you might need Smile

Punxsutawney · 04/06/2019 22:15

Ds's school seem to be really strict with any kind of adjustment. They have not allowed him to use a laptop in lessons until he had a report from an OT recommending it. The Senco has stated many times that they cannot authorise anything including the laptop without a professional recommending it. They have said they need the reports for their evidence.

FloatingthroughSpace · 04/06/2019 22:18

punx - I refer your senco to the extract from the QCA. She's not fully correct IF your child has a diagnosis protected by the equality act. The evidence is much more a statement of disadvantage and that this is usual way of working. Many, many sencos don't seem to realise this.

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 22:24

It’s not quite as simple as having an EHCP or diagnoses. Substantial evidence of a long term adverse effect on the candidates speed of working & detailing a whole load of other detailed criteria specified by JCQ needs to be done & submitted for a decision to be made.

Wheras for supervised rest breaks although evidence has to be produced to a JCQ inspector on request, an application does not have to be made. Furthermore a SENCO is obliged to consider supervised rest breaks before extra time.

FloatingthroughSpace · 04/06/2019 22:37

comeaway does it have to be submitted? It says there must be a senco letter available for inspection, on headed paper, and with evidence as you state. In my DS case the evidence was statements from several teachers and evidence of substantial mark improvement with extra time during their "assessment" phase that led to this becoming the usual way of working (along with laptop, smaller room and now prompter, this last was only recommended a couple of weeks ago by his tutor).

Punxsutawney · 04/06/2019 22:38

Floating at the moment he is awaiting a specialist speech and language assessment as he is on the autism diagnosis pathway. We and the school are pretty sure he will get a diagnosis but he is on a very long NHS waiting list. Not ideal when he starts year 11 in September. I do hope a diagnosis brings a little more support as I feel I've been battling with the school for a long time.

It's interesting to hear something different than what the Senco is telling us. The OT assessment has ended up being really useful and she has been great help to Ds, so it was worth the referral to her. I'm pretty sure Ds will not need or qualify for extra time but things have deteriorated substantially over the last year so it is interesting to read the information on this thread.

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 22:47

Pages 22,23, 26-27 & the case studies are the most relevant pages.

It says for the qualifications listed on page 2 (gcse’s Alevels, cambridgenationals etc) an application for 25 per cent extra time must be processed using Access Arrangments Online.


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FloatingthroughSpace · 04/06/2019 22:52

As I understand it, page 26 is the one for students with recognised disabilities covered by Equality Act and the info on that page overrides the info on pp 22-25 etc. That is what we worked out on multiple readings....

Comefromaway · 04/06/2019 23:00

i agree it could be open to interpretation but assume that most good SENDCos would have had conversations with the exam boards/JCQ in advance.

FloatingthroughSpace · 04/06/2019 23:07

Yes, I have re read it. If you have a condition as outlined at the top of page 26 you don't follow the learning difficulties evidence pathway which is outlined on the previous few pages and form 8 must not be submitted. Evidence is held at the school for inspection.

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