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Students denied access to Leaving Cert Exam Supports

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 01/06/2015. Students denied access to Leaving Cert Exam SupportsTags: Education And Politics Parenting

According to figures released to Fianna Fail TD Seán Fleming, approximately 1,000 students with special needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and Aspergers, have been denied access to Leaving Certificate exam supports by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

The scheme provided by the SEC allows for 'reasonable accommodation ' where candidates have "permanent or long-term conditions, including visual and hearing difficulties, or specific learning difficulties, which they believe will significantly impair their performance in the examinations may apply to the State Examinations Commission for a reasonable accommodation(s) to be made to facilitate them taking the examinations." The scheme is intened to in so far as possible, remove the impact of the disability on the candidate's performance while ensuring that the special arrangements will not give the candidate an unfair advantage over other candidates in the same examination.

According to Deputy Fleming he has “obtained figures from the State Examinations Commission that show that 914 students were refused a reader under the scheme last year. The number of refusals is significantly up on the 2012 figure when 699 students were denied access to a reader. It is deliberate policy on the part of the Government to cut the funding available to cut down on the cost of examinations.”

In a piece in the Irish Times, today, Ann Heelan, executive director the Association for Higher Education and Disability (Ahead,) called for a review of the ‘reasonable accommodation scheme and said the SEC’s view on what constituted a reasonable accommodation for a student with a disability was “not up-to-date with modern technology”. Ms Heelan highlighted instances where applications for readers, scribes or other supports such as the use of laptops were rejected just days before the exams began.


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