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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:49 pm
Posts: 137
Hi, My 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia with associated working memory deficit when she was tested by a psychologist last year.
We had her tested because she was getting frustrated at school, up to the test the school didn’t want to acknowledge there was an issue.

She will sit the 11+ next year and will probably fail despite the report showing her to be in the top 5% in terms of cognitive ability. The report recommended she be given 25% extra time in formal exams. We discussed this with her school who said they would look at this sympathetically, however at the end of her year 4 SATs she wasn’t given extra time. I have heard the head teacher hasn’t been supportive in the past of children with similar problems.

We’d like our DD to have extra time for her 11+ and SATs to give her the best opportunity to reach her potential but don’t know to go about applying for this. It would be unfair if any application is dependent on the recommendation of her head teacher. We know of a boy with similar issues who was given extra time because his head teacher was supportive (this was a private school).
We will have a meeting with the school, but would welcome any advice so we can be prepared.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 8104
These BCC links apply to the current arrangements (2016 entry). You will need to check for any changes nearer the time.
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/3122248 ... idance.pdf

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/3400864 ... ersion.pdf
See page 15

The BCC Special Access panel will be interested to know what support the child currently receives in school to enable access to the curriculum. From their point of view it will look rather odd if adjustments are needed for the test, but never needed in school. (But see last paragraph below!)
They will no doubt also want to consider whether the dyslexia appears to be mild, moderate or severe. See: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=32040&p=379045&hilit=dyslexia#p379045

I've not seen any recent BCC figures, but years ago someone sent us the following breakdown of all adjustments offered at that time:
      adaptations offered
      enlarged text - 17 pupils
      amanuensis - 2 pupils
      special answer sheets - 18 pupils
      break - 18 pupils
      extra time - 22 pupils
      use of tinted glasses - 2 pupils
      physical arrangements (inc. BSL) - 5 (2) pupils
      use of coloured overlay - 1 pupil
      reader - 11 pupils
      prompter - 11 pupils
      test alone - 52 pupils
      (NB: a child may have been offered more than one modification)

      extra time analysis
      15 pupils - 5 minutes
      2 pupils - 10 minutes
      3 pupils - 12.5 minutes
      0 pupils - 25 minutes
      2 pupils - school discretion

I get the impression that 25% extra time is rarely allowed, and I don't believe this is unique to Bucks.
(It may not help that so many educational psychologists so often come up with a 25% recommendation. One rarely sees 15% or 10%!)

I suspect you're more likely to be offered something like an adaptation to the question booklet - but it all depends of course on the severity of the disability.

Unfortunately it appears to be the case that bright children with a disability can get overlooked because they seem to be coping. The school's SEN focus is on those who are struggling.
An appeal panel might be receptive to this sort of argument. I'm not sure that the Special Access Panel or a Review Panel would be, unless there is clear and compelling evidence that the school has got it wrong.

Just my thoughts .......


PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:10 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:49 pm
Posts: 137
Thanks Etienne,
I'll start reading the arrangements. I've currently no idea how to proceed, any guidance is really helpful.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 7391
Location: East Kent
The y4 QCA tests were just used internally as a guide for the teacher and school, so there was no need to apply for extra time.

Have you spoken to the Senco? We manage to get extra time in Sats for children with the same sort of problems as your daughter, but it needs to be done in plenty of time. Any interventions eg scribe, use of a computer/software which is used in lessons as a matter of course should be allowed for SATs

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:07 pm
Posts: 511
You need to see the SENCo urgently.
I'm not in Bucks area, but in our area the grammar schools run the 11+ so the primary can only ask for special arrangements and have to supply evidence. As tests in primary schools are not statutory until Y6 there tends to be no record of special arrangements in exam situations. The use of a scribe or reader needs practice and should be standard procedure in normal lessons. It can't just suddenly be applied on the day.

I agree with Etienne that 25% tends to be a standard figure used by psychologists - but a lot of evidence is required to secure that amount of extra time. Suggestions for dyslexics also often include the use of a scribe, reader and coloured backgrounds.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:33 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
Posts: 3579
Of far more importance than extra time is getting extra help in overcoming the issues she is struggling with, or she will continue to struggle through grammar school if she gets in. You have paid for a test, are you paying for on going help, is there a plan of action that the teachers are aware of, even if they don't follow it completely at school, has the psychologist you paid given you a clear indication of what to do with the information they provided. Extra time is not a solution just a final bit of assistance following an action plan being instigated and adhered to in every day life and any panel looking to give extra time will want to see what assistance, where and how before making any decision.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:57 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:07 pm
Posts: 511
southbucks3 wrote:
Of far more importance than extra time is getting extra help in overcoming the issues she is struggling with, or she will continue to struggle through grammar school if she gets in.

I completely agree with this. I work in a special needs department and all good teachers cover what is required for most moderately dyslexic, dyspraxia, ADHD, ASD etc needs within their normal class teaching. Extra time for significant exams is frequently sought by parents. And whilst I am potentially opening a can of worms I can tell you I would not be able to count the number of parents who tell me their children are dyslexic and their previous school have done little or nothing for them. There are far, far more than the 10% figure the dyslexic society say are affected by dyslexia and 4% severely.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:55 pm
Posts: 268
We’d like our DD to have extra time for her 11+ and SATs to give her the best opportunity to reach her potential but don’t know to go about applying for this. It would be unfair if any application is dependent on the recommendation of her head teacher.

Adjustments for 11+ in Bucks and SATS use completely different criteria.

11+ comes first. The critical evidence they will be looking for is a Standardised Score below 85, ie 16th centile or below. The form they fill in asks for these scores for:
Reading Speed
Reading Comprehension
Processing Speed

Make sure that you look at all your DD's scores and discuss with the Senco whether any are at that level. Many dyslexics have weak Working Memory scores so look at those too and if appropriate fill them in under other.

In 2014, 143 people applied for adjustments and they were awarded in 121 cases, ie 85%.
In 2015, 160 people applied for adjustments and they were awarded in 118 cases, ie 74%.

I have the numbers of exactly what adjustments were given in 2015. I can scan these in and send them - Etienne, do you want to inbox me to tell me how to do this? There are 22 different categories. Here are the main adjustment numbers:

Breaks - 41
25% extra all sections - 40
10% extra all sections - 27
Prompter - 23
Test alone - 107

If you inbox me I'm happy to answer specific questions.

Regarding SATS, there was a form that was distributed to heads early this year indicating what tests should be administered. They do not include the processing speed tests used by specialist teachers and ed psychs. If your child does not meet these criteria, you and the head cannot use your ed psych evidence to ask for adjustments. However, the head can explain your child's case and it is possible that some arrangement can be made, not including extra time. In our case, DD has the low processing speed scores that would trigger extra time for 11+, GCSEs, A levels etc, but aren't used for KS2 SATs. Because she has a very good reading age she couldn't be given extra time. However, after a lot of toing and froing she was given rest breaks with the blessing of the central authorities responsible.

This discrepancy between the two ways used to assess for adjustments is certainly inconsistent, and is arguably discriminatory.

Another point: if an ed psych has said this adjustment is needed for your child it seems sensible that it should be made "the normal way of working" for her, and both the SATs and 11+ panels will ask about this. Schools might not be all that co-operative: giving extra time requires quite a bit of administration and has staffing implications. Moreover, we had the experience of my daughter being given extra time for school mock SATs, only to have her application rejected and the extra time taken away. Now she is at secondary school where no-one is given extra time until Year 9. In retrospect, I wouldn't bother. It was confusing for my daughter and the school made a series of mistakes which I had to challenge, which became uncomfortable for me and for my daughter too.

Finally, all of this talk of "moderate" and "severe" dyslexia is very misleading. The professionals who have tested my children have avoided using the terms. Because they are bright and compensate in creative ways they work out for themselves, they mask their disability. Because they do well enough and don't cause trouble, it can be described as "mild", and in many cases bright dyslexics don't hit problems until later in their school careers or even at university. Please look up the wikipedia entry on "Twice Exceptional". I found it very helpful in understanding how to support my lovely, baffling kids. In summary: don't forget to develop their strengths while your support their weaknesses.

Good luck.

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