Broken Arm just before GCSEs

>>  Friday, June 05, 2015

Shall we discuss the reasons why you should not let your children go horse riding in the middle of their GCSE exams?! Shall we?!

 Well this.

Under that white pad is a hoof hole and under the hoof hole is a broken bone.

There are no better/more gory photos as I took this to show a wise owl on-line before going to an NHS out of hours service.


We came home about 5 hours later with her in plaster, an emergency appointment at a fracture clinic on the Monday morning and a GCSE due to start a few hours after that.

I emailed the school office, deputy head teacher, examinations officer, form tutor and subject teacher for the GCSE explaining the situation and asking them to contact me first thing Monday morning. (All the email addresses were available on the school website.)  Luckily the subject teacher rang me on the Sunday afternoon, she didn't know too much about what the process was with the exam board but promised to contact them first thing and also, bless her, offered to be a scribe (someone that writes the answers on behalf of the student) for Cog in as many subjects as she could (except her own obviously!)  She also said she would be in school early to get the ball rolling.

Cog and I had a practise at using a scribe with some maths revision. It did help a little, she worked out she needed to sit on my right hand side, we found cushions that support her ok and she started to get the hang of more concise instructions like 'new line'.

Cog is lucky to have 3 parents.  On Monday morning her father took her off to the fracture clinic.  Her step-father started the the arduous ring and ring-again the doctors surgery and I sat by my phone to talk to the school.

The doctors had already received the notification from the out of hours service of what had happened and agreed to do a medical certificate straight away. We collected it at 11am and it went to school with Cog for the examination officer.

The school's learning support advisor contacted me before 9 am to tell me she was arranging a scribe for Cog for the afternoon exam, where to go instead of the exam hall (because she is a separate room with a scribe).  She was also able to confirm that Cog would be given 25% extra time for the exam and that the school would be applying for Special Consideration for the marking (this can add up to 3% on the mark.)

The information about the rules for this for 2014/2015 can be found here:

http://www.jcq.org.uk/Download/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance/access-arrangements-and-reasonable-adjustments-2014-2015

If you are looking for future years search for "access arrangements and special consideration regulations and guidance" and I'm sure you will find the most up to date one.  Looking back it, does seem to change year on year.

So Cog has now done 2 full exams with scribes, these have been essay based exams, she seems fairly relaxed about it.  I think the Maths and Sciences might be more of a challenge. We will see.

The school have been very good at just sorting everything out and giving lots of reassurance.  In fairness she is at a very big school, there are a lot of children already using scribes or laptops and having extended times for exams, so they are geared up for it.  But the day Cog arrived with a broken arm, they also had another boy with a broken arm and one with a broken leg!  Clearly I am not the only parent that hadn't wrapped their child in cotton wool for the examination period.

Cog has found some positives in being in the learning support area rather than the main examination halls.  The area is less stressy before the exams which she has found more calming and there are other children there that had used scribes before and spoke to her about it.

However, she has found the environment slightly more disturbing, people have walked into the room she was doing the exams in and been shooed away by her scribe and she has said the school bells still ring in there, I guess they must turn them off in the main exam halls. She also said you don't get the reassurance of looking up and seeing what pages other people are on and whether you are keeping up, she is much more dependent on her watch and keeping to the timings independently - probably a good lesson long term.

Hopefully, the compensation of extra time, consideration in marking and the lower stress will help offset the obvious downsides of using a scribe (losing the flow of brain to hand) and trying to concentrate whilst in pain or slightly drowsy on heavy pain killers.

Only the results will tell.  It's going to be a long wait until August.



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