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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:20 pm 
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My DD had a not so great experience at Wallington High School for girls earlier today at the SET.

In the break between the papers, the invigilator was letting students out to the toilet by rows. Unfortunately, by the time it was my DD's turn, they decided to begin the second paper. Around 32 children across two rows were not afforded a toilet break.

She struggled most of the English paper, and as she puts it had to consciously focus every now and then - as the need to wee was distracting.

My worry is that she probably rushed through the paper so as to finish it early. She completed it 10 minutes before time, and on requesting to go to the toilets, was denied.

Eventually, we had to take her to a neighbouring supermarket, this was after about 1 - 2 hours she had wanted to wee. We met another family who was there for the same reason as her DD was in the affected row.

As objective as I am trying to be, I find the conditions under which she has been assessed as inhumane.

Would be grateful for some guidance on what I can do about it?

P.S. My DD has also developed a dislike for the school - it was going to be our number 1 on the CAF. Honestly, I don't blame her - but thats a problem for another day.

Also, if anyone's DD was in the affected rows, it would be great for a show of hands.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:11 pm 
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Different experience in a different school. Students were not allowed wrist watch including analog ones. They were asked in the room to open any kind of wristwatch and keep it under the chair outside of plain sight. Things would be fine if there was a clock in the room but the worst thing is the wall clock in the room was broken. The only way to manage time was the invigilators announcement mentioning the time left. Instead of announcing 5min left, they announced at an interval when 2 min were left. Not sure if this was intentional to stress out 10-11 year olds, but having a broken clock in the room is negligence on part of organizing team. Its the least they can ensure.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:04 pm 
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DD didn't have an opportunity to visit the bathroom before the test. She checked-in early, but the children were kept outside (in the rain) and when eventually they were admitted, there was no time left for toilet trips.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:42 pm 
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It may have something to do with covid, they can only allow so many girls to use the toilets at any one time resulting in not all girls having had time to use them. The invigilators have to stick to strict timings, so it wasn't a case of the invigilator having the flexibility of deciding when to start the 2nd test paper. My dd2 goes to Wally girls and they have strict rules around which toilets each year group can use due to covid, so they may have had to tighten the rules around toilet usage for the girls sitting the SET as well.

I know it seems really unfair that other dd's got the chance to use the toilet and yours didn't, but I think the schools view will be that a 10-11 year old should be able to go without a toilet break for the duration of a 2-3h test. If your dd was in so much discomfort that it had a negative impact on the test, she should have followed the 'what to do if feeling unwell'- guidance in the SET booklet.

Last year the SET was held in November in a freezing, well ventilated room with all windows open. My dd was sat right next to a drafty window and when she came out she was freezing! Despite the discomfort, she passed and is now a happy Wally girl. I hope that despite the discomfort your dd does well in the 11+.

Good luck!


Last edited by Golden75 on Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:23 pm 
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One more story came to mind. My dd1 sat the SET test 5 years ago. She was in the morning group and the maths test paper included a printing error in one of the questions. By the time the afternoon group sat the test the misprinted question had been crossed out. Parents of dds who sat the morning session (including me) were furious as our dds had wasted precious time trying to solve a misprinted question that the afternoon session could just skip. Despite lots of complaints by many angry parents it lead to nothing. The conclusion was that the dds who sat the morning session were not disadvantaged. I never agreed with the conclusion, but us parents just had to let it go.

Each year following the SET there will be many parents who will raise complaints about what they perceive as unfairness. Stakes are high and a lot hangs on the SET, but there's so many girls sitting the test that keeping the test conditions equal to all will be impossible. One will miss a toilet break, one will have an uncomfortable chair, one will sit next to a drafty window, one will have the sun in their eye, one group will notice a mistake that will have been rectified by the time the next group sit the test...it's annoying and unfair, but it's best not to let it fester.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:02 pm 
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Thanks all

@Golden75 - Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the candour. But think you may be putting up with a lot.. I appreciate strict timings, etc. - but if a school prioritizes their 'rules' over children's well being, regularly - tbh there's a lot of improvement required in the school.

Good call on the "what to do if feeling unwell" guidance.. Its in the FAQ, and says this "These arrangements may include allowing the candidate to leave the test room for a short period under supervision; returning to finish the tests." Thats what she wanted to do, but was denied.

I believe NonSuch extended the toilet breaks to account for all children being able to use toilets - which is quite honestly, common sense - and fair.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:24 pm 
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Upset Dad wrote:
if a school prioritizes their 'rules' over children's well being, regularly - tbh there's a lot of improvement required in the school.


I don't think you should draw conclusions about the school where your dd sat the test based on her SET experience. The SET administration that runs the Sutton Grammars entry tests uses the Wally girls& Nonsuch premises to run the tests, but the test is not run by the school itself. Wally girls had no say in whether the toilet break could be extended or not.

Are you hoping that your dd can re-sit the test? Have you tried calling the SET admissions to see what they think?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:52 pm 
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Upset Dad wrote:
Thanks all
Good call on the "what to do if feeling unwell" guidance.. Its in the FAQ, and says this "These arrangements may include allowing the candidate to leave the test room for a short period under supervision; returning to finish the tests." Thats what she wanted to do, but was denied.


It's long been the case that children can't ask to use the toilet in the last few minutes of the exam. I can't remember the cut-off - 10 or 15 or possibly 20 minutes - but it's to stop the rush to the loo when a lot of children have finished because it's too distracting for those who haven't. They should have been told the information about the cut-off for the toilet before they started.

I'm surprised she wasn't allowed to use the toilet after the test finished.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:46 pm 
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Upset Dad wrote:
Are you hoping that your dd can re-sit the test? Have you tried calling the SET admissions to see what they think?


At this stage, I was just looking for ideas on what is possible. If a complaint around maladministration is a proportionate recourse, then I might do that.

Golden75 wrote:
I don't think you should draw conclusions about the school where your dd sat the test based on her SET experience.


In actual fact, there are some bits about the test where the school was responsible or could have done something about. One example is the additional information in respect of the day. Wally girls issued a 1-pager on their website (https://www.wallingtongirls.sutton.sch. ... CAE99B.pdf)
as against a helpful slide deck that Nonsuch produced that had in it suggested & charges of nearby parking areas, an image of the kind of the bag that was permitted inside, etc. I saw a number of parents who were having to empty their child's bag and stuff their pockets, with a smile on the face so as not to stress their child - only because sufficient information wasnt provided by the school in the first place. Aside from this, I have also had no response to multiple chases on them emailing me the only virtual webinar they recorded. IMHO, its 'sloping shoulders' for any school to blame someone else for every problem i.e the council for strict times, the child for not following 'what to do when you feel unwell', but often there are some things they could always have done. We did get another 'you "should have" asked in the class' by one of the staff when we approached to use the toilet on the way out post collection. As an outsider, these are the few cues that give away how much user-centred the school is.

Its great to know that your DD enjoys the school & wish her well, but wonder if that is largely down to the quality of students rather than the school itself..

I am starting to question if the emperor really has any clothes!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:06 pm 
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Upset Dad- Horses for courses, hope you find a school that you feel is the right fit for your dd if you feel that Wally girls doesn't meet your expectations.
My dd1 is at Nonsuch and dd2 at Wally girls and so far my feeling is that the Wally girls communication and responsiveness has been brilliant, better than my experience with Nonsuch.


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