I have already posted here about my moderately to severely dyslexic DS who sat the entrance test for for Reading School in Nov 2007. I was able to provide a recent Ed Psych report & on the basis of this he was allowed 25% extra time. For reasons to do with his specific disability, we also asked the school if he would be allowed to mark the exam papers & were given a verbal assurance that he would be able to do so 'lightly'. On the day, all the boys were told that they could not mark the papers. This really unsettled him and the result was that he did not achieve a high enough mark to be selected.
With the invaluable help of the moderators on these forums, I took this to appeal. Although the appeal was unsuccessful, it was very illuminating and I feel that some of the experience may help others in a similar situation in the future. The full text of the post can be found here http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?t=7159
. However, the 'lessons learned' which I feel are the most important are:
Firstly, if anyone's DS requires any sort of 'special arrangement', written confirmation must be obtained from the school and their DS must have a copy with him on the day. A verbal assurance is not good enough and will probably not be honoured. Even better â€“ request to go and see the Head, ask him to confirm the arrangement and to personally guarantee that it will happen!
Secondly, the implication at the hearing was that any reasonable request would be considered by the school. One example is obviously marking the question paper (as in our case), but others might be provision of enlarged (e.g A3) question papers, question papers that avoid the use of black printing on white paper, and use of coloured transparencies. Presumably, this would also cover any requests for appropriate physical access and specific physical conditions under which to take the exam, too.
In conclusion, if your DS will be taking the 11+ exam in the future, please do every thing necessary to ensure that, on the day, he is on an even playing field. Ask (with justification) for what he needs and hopefully it will be provided. Please do not make our mistake of â€˜not wanting to make too much fussâ€™ and also of assuming that life is fair!