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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:27 am 
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My child was diagnosed with a chronic/incurable serious illness in year 9 and has struggled through until now year 11, obviously missing a lot of school. She is extremely conscientious and has worked really hard to try and keep up (her school agree with this). Her illness is unrelenting, making her feel very ill every day, and she is currently at home unable to go into school. She sits the majority of her GCSE modules this May/June. Her school have made special arrangements so that she can have rest breaks and sit exams in a room on her own in recognition of her discomfort, but say that special consideration cannot be taken when it comes to marking her exams. My son had this when he sat his A levels because of the anxiety and difficulties on him at seeing his sister suffering so much at the time of his exams (she was so desperate she said she wanted to die). Whilst I would not take this away from him, I can't believe that she is struggling through everyday and yet no consideration will be given for this. I understand that if you are ill on the day of an exam you can submit a doctors letter within 24 hrs. In that case she would have to be seen by the doctor every day she sits a GCSE paper which is ridiculous and obviously not going to happen. She has a diagnosis and it is recognised that this is a serious and debilitating disease which makes it pretty unbearable to sit exams and concentrate, I am dumbfounded to think this can't be taken into consideration. Does anyone have any advice, I don't know who I can ask?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:38 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
She should be considered for an allowance in the marking. This link will take you to a PDF of the full arrangmements, and if you scroll down to Section 10 (around page 80) you will see examples of marking allowances that might be made: http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/acce ... sideration

It may not necessarily be granted, but the school should at least be applying for it, if they haven't already done so.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:56 am 
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Thank you so much for replying. Looking at the page you advised, I think it is one of those situations where it depends on how you interpret it. The school's understanding is that she has a condition that would have to flare up on the day to be considered. I simply can't get my head around this, I would interpret it as a severe disease (that actually was life threatening at the time of diagnosis and before the fitting of a feeding tube). As I understand it I can't get involved with approaching exam boards regarding this so what should I do? I am absolutely desperate to try and get some recognition for her and what she is going through. I am grateful for anyone's advice and wouldn't wish this horrendous situation on anyone, but wonder if anyone has found their child in a similar position?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:01 am 
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Phone up the exam board/s first and explain the situation. Write down what they say. Then make an appointment to see the Head. Take what you need regarding paperwork and insist that things are reconsidered, citing the exam board's advice if it is helpful. I don't know what your DC has but I think you need to be pro-active.

The school may be correct, however, and maybe nothing can be taken into consideration regarding marking; this is the whole point of examination after all and the allowances for extra time and rest breaks are usually all that happens. Very rarely are allowances made for marking so be prepared for this as well. But the exam board/s will know.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:48 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I think that you would be best off calling JCQ in the first instance for general advice: Tel 020 7638 4132


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:59 pm 
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I will do that now, thank you for your advice


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:44 am 
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One of mine sat numerous exams (whilst on morphine) days after having extensive surgery.

There were two issues; the physical difficulty following surgery for which concessions were applied for, and made. These concessions were made before the exams by the school.

The other issue was her actual 'wellness', irrespective of the surgery, on the day of some (but not all) of the exams - e.g. had she had morphine that day? For all of this we had to visit the doctor and get a letter saying that she was particularly 'unwell' on the day of the exam / after the exam.

Whether teachers, exam boards treat such circumstances as one or two separate issues is probably down to the nature of your DD's illness. I don't know the actual rules and am guessing.

Is it a case of allowances are made during the exam and applied for beforehand (seating, breaks, extra time etc) or consideration given for particular 'wellness' on the day - which is then perhaps considered when marking? You'd need to speak to the school to get the actual definition of what constitutes what. Is it reasonable to have both considerations - extra time etc. AND then extra marks too? Maybe... maybe not.

I don't know whether my daughter had consideration when her exams were marked but she did have concessions for physical disability during (all) the exams.

I hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:55 pm 
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Thank you for your responses. It is a particularly difficult area. As I understand it special arrangements such as sitting away from others, rest breaks have been applied for and granted in advance of the exams, and this seems reasonable under the circumstances. (discomfort, need to visit toilet to be sick etc.)

JCQ inform me all exams are then marked as usual, but under certain circumstances (as listed in their documents) an allowance of between 1 and 5% is then added to the marks (but it seems very rarely). My daughter sat a controlled assessment yesterday feeling extremely unwell (there was no point in putting it off as there was no guarantee she would be feeling any better on any other day in the foreseeable future). For part of the paper she typed with one hand as she had to apply the other to her throat to try and stop herself being sick. She could have taken a rest break but didn't as I suspect she felt she wouldn't have been able to make herself return to the room (the nausea and retching is continuous). JCQ have advised me that she wouldn't be deemed to need extra time as her cognitive skills are not impaired by the disease (I know it would certainly slow my brain down if my main line of thought was trying to stop myself being sick as vomit refluxed up my oesophagus), and she would not come under the category of having a percentage allowance added to her marks (unless I got a doctors certificate after each and every exam confirming how badly she was affected on each occasion!).

I understand that all of these things can only be applied within the rules of what is there. Life is sometimes just very unfair, she has tried so hard to keep up with her classmates under very difficult circumstances and undoubtedly will be at a disadvantage of having to deal with they physical symptoms of the horrendous condition of gastroparesis, which she has in the severest form. I cannot understand why that doesn't warrant some consideration on marking. She feels just as bad as a child suffering from the ongoing effects of glandular fever, and they received consideration on marking. I'm sure some of you won't see it in that way but I can forgive myself for feeling it's unfair - I'm her mum - I would feel like that! Good luck to anyone else going through similar issues - I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Thanks for listening and the advice offered.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:48 pm 
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I have taught a child with a severe medical condition. He was given special consideration during his exams, similar to those offered to your daughter. He was too ill to sit one of his exams and was given compensatory marks in that case.

I would speak to your GP too and explain that you may need emergency appointments during the exams.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:05 pm 
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Best of luck clr. I think your daughter is heroic even to be at school, let alone to be doing exams. I do hope there is some hope of future relief for her.


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