13 Jun 2013

Don't let your guard down!

Being a parent of a child with SEN often involves communication with their school.

My eldest son is in Yr12 and, after contacting AQA directly in order to clarify a couple of points, we managed to persuade his school that he was entitled to a scribe and extra time in his exams.

This provision was duly set up for his January exams and they passed without a hitch.

Then came my big mistake.....

because I trusted that the same provision would be arranged for the June exams, what with Dyspraxia and Dyslexia not being issues that one can grow out of in five months.

I didn't want to nag the school, and, more importantly, I trusted that they'd have it sussed.

So when my son telephoned straight after his exam to say that he didn't get the extra time, and that he had been unable to complete the last three questions, I was disappointed and angry for him.

He'd done his bit.... y'know, the workingyourbollocksoffallyearandrevisinglikeademon aspect.

So I went in to school and it was confirmed that they had made a mistake.

The SENCO (who had done her bit - the fault lies firmly with a different teacher) was in tears and apologised to my son.

As did his scribe.

As did the Head of Sixth Form.

The person who was to blame lurked firmly in the shadows and kept his (or her)(but it's his) weaselly head down.

So we asked whether we should lodge an appeal with the exam board, or whether the school would do it.

The school said they would, so now we wait to hear what can be done, if anything.

Yes, he can resit it next year if necessary, but his workload will already be very full of Yr13 exams, and why should he have to be disadvantaged because of a mistake made by someone who didn't tick the right box on the right piece of paper?

Your work as a parent of a child with SEN is never really done.

You are pretty much destined to be one of those parents that teachers roll their eyes and look heavenwards over, because you HAVE to nag, you have to check, and you have to double-check.

But being perceived as a nag / Helicopter Parent / overprotective mother / bitch from hell..... whatever, is a small price to pay to ensure that your child gets the support they are entitled to.

Extra exam provision for pupils with SEN is not a perk, it is a way of attempting to even up the playing field so that the work they produce is a more accurate representation of their true abilities.

So make sure everything is in place for every exam, preferably via email so you have written proof of the school's response.

Don't let your guard down.

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