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Does This Exist?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've had nothing but problems since starting college in September and since then, have also been rather ill. (I'm now in constant pain and extremely tired - no matter how much sleep I get)

For that reason, I've not been able to do as well as I could do. I have asked if my grades can be reconsidered so that I have enough to get into university. (My argument being that if I wasn't ill, I would be doing much better)

I have been told no, but have been told 'you could have until June 30th to complete your course.' I don't want that. If I did take that, I'm going to end up making myself very ill. (combination of gut issues and self harm)

My question is, does something like this exist? It doesn't seem right that I'm having to work twice as hard (because reading is difficult, but I can't get help with that) just to get the same grades as everyone else.

I've been told by my first choice university that I should get in contact with disability support at college - they're not interested at all and have so far decided a) they know more about my needs than I and the consultants do & b) I have something seriously wrong with me (not Nystagmus) because my vision has changed since I was a child.:rolleyes:

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't quite get what you're asking 'if it exists'.

    Are you asking whether you can have higher grades because you have to work harder than other people, then essentially the answer is no. You can have reasonable adjustments made and consideration can me made if your exam performance doesn't reflect your usual standard because of some unexpected short term problem.

    For example, if you come down with something during or shortly before your exams, and get worse marks than you've been getting through the year, then they'd take your marks through the year into consideration.

    Reasonable adjustments should also be made for you to access your exams, so extra time for reading if required etc, to allow you to perform as close as possible to your ability in your exams.

    Given all of the above though, at some point you will have to acknowledge the limitations of your disability. If you can't do the college work, then being given higher grades than you are capable of acheiving won't help anyone.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think you would be able to get your grades bumped up but I think it's possible you could get the university to make you a more sympathetic offer with regards to grades. Good luck, have you spoken to the disability support people at the University? They may have some good advice also as I'm sure they are used to dealing with lots of students with different difficulties.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Are you asking whether you can have higher grades because you have to work harder than other people, then essentially the answer is no.

    I'm asking for them to take into consideration my disabilities, therefore giving me the result that I deserve, based on the fact that I have to work twice as hard to get to the same level as everyone else. And if they'd given the help I needed right at the start of the year, I would not be in the situation. They know that I'm very ill right now and shouldn't even be in college.
    You can have reasonable adjustments made and consideration can me made if your exam performance doesn't reflect your usual standard because of some unexpected short term problem.

    They've made one reasonable adjustment. They've not offered me the extra help I require in order to be at the same level as everyone else. (In my case, that would be someone to help me read - which they claim I don't need) All they've gone on is what someone else with completely different needs has and have ignored what a learner support assistant (LSA) has recommended, based on what I've told her and her experience of the disability I have. (Her son has it too)

    For example, if you come down with something during or shortly before your exams, and get worse marks than you've been getting through the year, then they'd take your marks through the year into consideration.
    Reasonable adjustments should also be made for you to access your exams, so extra time for reading if required etc, to allow you to perform as close as possible to your ability in your exams.

    I am supposedly given extra time, but that was only after I'd fallen asleep and completely messed up.
    I think it's possible you could get the university to make you a more sympathetic offer with regards to grades.

    I've been told no. They've made me the lowest offer they can, short of failing the course. They've asked if I've got in touch with disability support at college, which I haven't and it's pointless because they're of the opinion that because I didn't get help at school (I had much more vision then) it means I don't need it now.:rolleyes: as a result, college are refusing to help me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you have strong medical support for the reasonable adjustments that you're asking for then the college should be providing them. There's this thing called the Disability Discrimination Act and they're looking at a serious lawsuit if they don't comply. But it depends what your needs assessments say as to what they should provide. When you were at school did you ever get a statement of educational needs (SEN)?

    The college should be providing the support that you need to study at your maximum and if they're not then there's something seriously wrong.

    If you're at an FE college there's usually a welfare team responsible for questions like this, such as helping with complaints against the college. Make an appointment to go and speak to them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    All of what Kermit has said is true, but to pick up on a point in your post, beyond school results are a demonstration of your ability and your level of achievement, not your effort and supposed potential.

    If you're not being given the support you need then that's another matter, but there's no system in place to give you better marks that you have shown you are capable of acheiving.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What Kermit might have said is true, but it won't extend to the college simply giving you a better grade on your assumption that you could do better, it'll extend to them offering you support with your learning and perhaps extensions to deadlines, the first of which you're running out of time to get anyway.

    You say you need the grades to get into uni, then what? You think college work is hard just wait until you're doing your degree. If you've had your grades bumped up artificially then you're going to struggle big time.

    It sounds shit but ultimately if you're struggling now, trying to work your way through uni with arguably less available support is going to end up stressing you out on a big scale.

    Good luck whatever happens though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    If you have strong medical support for the reasonable adjustments that you're asking for then the college should be providing them. There's this thing called the Disability Discrimination Act and they're looking at a serious lawsuit if they don't comply.

    At least 3 people (including myself) have pointed this out to them, but they won't listen. They give me what they think I need based on what someone else with completely different needs had. They have never offered me a needs assessment.
    When you were at school did you ever get a statement of educational needs (SEN)?

    No. Whilst I've had the same condition since I was at least 4, it only became an issue when I was 18 and even more so now, because reading is so tiring and difficult.
    If you're at an FE college there's usually a welfare team responsible for questions like this, such as helping with complaints against the college. Make an appointment to go and speak to them.

    I was given some papers to fill in and make a complaint. Instead of a complaint being made, I had a meeting in which I was moaned at, because I've needed no support up until now.
    You think college work is hard

    I don't find it hard (some of it is far too easy) but I don't get tyhe grades I know I can get, because of the lack of support and college thinking they know more about my needs than I do. According to them, I shouldn't even be using a computer.:rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    I don't find it hard (some of it is far too easy) but I don't get tyhe grades I know I can get, because of the lack of support and college thinking they know more about my needs than I do. According to them, I shouldn't even be using a computer.:rolleyes:

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you're not getting the grades you want, then either you're finding it hard, or you're simply not trying.

    I'm going to assume it's not the latter, which must mean you're finding it hard. What causes it to be hard may not necessarily be the academic content, but dealing with the work load and processing the information or something more along those lines, but that's still a key part of the course that needs to be proven as a capability to get the grade. Provision should be made for reasonable adjustment to help you achieve at the best of your ability, but if that's not happening then it's the support and reasonable adjustment that needs further attention, rather than the grades you are awarded. There's no provision for grades to be adjusted because of support problems.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian have you specifically spoke to the disability support department at your prospective uni? The reason I ask is because the one at York is pretty sympathetic at least and if they are used to dealing with this kind of thing they could help. If you don't mind me asking, what University and what course are you thinking of doing?

    As scary monster says though I think even if you are held back severely by a disability there are limits to how much extra allowance at A level / University you will get because the argument is "Even if you would have got an A grade if you had the proper support, the fact is you didn't, and we are looking for A grade students."

    Still, my experience and the experience of a lot of other students is that clearing is really good, so don't get too stressed if you don't think you'll make the grade of your top uni - because there will always be loads of other unis looking for students to fill up the spaces and I would hope with the increased resources available to Universities you would get a much better experience with relation to disability support.

    I am pretty sure I would have got straight As at A level but for personal circumstances, and there was an expection on me to go to an oxbridge / russel group university, but I went to York (still top 10!) and I fucking love it! :D

    Although I think your college have screwed you over it might be a case of too little too late now if you try to get the proper support as they cant retrospectively increase your grades.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you're being a little unfair, Scary Monster, providing extra time to process information is a reasonable adjustment under the DDA. So is providing additional tutorial support, providing specialist reading equipment and providing additional time to in exams and to prepare coursework.

    I can appreciate that the college will be sceptical about the condition if it has deteriorated significantly in a few months, or if you've just started complaining now that the exams are approaching. You've said before, melian, that you've suffered badly for years; if that's the case, I'm amazed that a SEN assessment wasn't carried out. Your college will be pretty surprised too.

    If your college welfare department isn't taking any notice you'll need to get specialist advice from an education lawyer. FE rules are certainly beyond my knowledge. Whether you will do or not is up to you, but given your previous complaints about DLA I'm not convinced you will.

    As for support at University, which is something I do know a bit about, a lot of it depends on any needs assessments that are carried out as part of disabled students allowance (DSA) and by the University disability officers. However I have clients who have significant packages of support because of dyspraxia or dyscalculia, inclduing specialist one-to-one tuition.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    if i were you i'd get in touch with the NUS as well and see if they can advise you with all of this. I hate it when colleges don't give the right support, i know i would have found it very hard getting through college without the support i got, and now i'm at uni without support i am struggling.

    they won't change your grades, but they should let you resit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In any event, there is no facility for artificially inflating your grades. There couldn't be, if you think about it, as such a thing would be utterly unfair and unrepresentative of anything.

    The best you are likely to get is extenuating circumstances and the associated measures from that, but ultimately you need to push for that stuff, rather than expecting to muddle through and then get things altered after the event.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote: »
    I think you're being a little unfair, Scary Monster, providing extra time to process information is a reasonable adjustment under the DDA. So is providing additional tutorial support, providing specialist reading equipment and providing additional time to in exams and to prepare coursework.

    Sorry, I wasn't being clear, rather than being unfair.

    Was attempting to explain that grades can only reflect the performance you are delivering, or have shown you can deliver, not the potential you think you have. If there are problems with support and access to resources that are holding you back then it's those that need dealing with rather than looking to get your grades inflated.

    It sounds like you'll need to get a dialogue going between the university course you are hoping to do, the disability department at that university, and the disability/special needs department at your college.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you're not getting the grades you want, then either you're finding it hard, or you're simply not trying.

    Er, I think you'll find I am. It's because I'm NOT getting the support I was promised. (The only exception being maths, because I don't get it)
    Melian have you specifically spoke to the disability support department at your prospective uni?

    No I haven't. I have to go up there in June, so will talk to them then.
    There couldn't be, if you think about it, as such a thing would be utterly unfair and unrepresentative of anything.

    How would that work then? If I wasn't disabled then I would have access to the same materials as everyone else and therefore, would be doing much better.
    You've said before, melian, that you've suffered badly for years; if that's the case, I'm amazed that a SEN assessment wasn't carried out.

    I've had very little problem up until to year 12, when I started experiencing tiredness and more recently, neck pain. neck pain. Since then, my vision has got much worse (with glasses, I can only read the 3rd line of the eye chart with my right eye, whereas before, I could read the 5th line)
    As for support at University, which is something I do know a bit about, a lot of it depends on any needs assessments that are carried out as part of disabled students allowance (DSA) and by the University disability officers. However I have clients who have significant packages of support because of dyspraxia or dyscalculia, inclduing specialist one-to-one tuition.

    I have spoken to uni a few times about this and they appear to know a lot more about visual impairment and there'e already equipment in place to help me, such as talking software and larger computer screens. (and they've actually heard of my visual impairment too)
    they won't change your grades, but they should let you resit.

    They've said I can do this, but I have refused. Especially, because I'm going to still have to go there in September and I highly doubt things would've changed. I also don't really want to waste another year, as I hate it there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Someone mentioned that Universities have less support than school/college. IME that is completely not true- Shyboy mentioned York for one who bent over backwards for my little brother who suffers from nystagmus also when he went for a weeks science holiday or something there. They were far more helpful and ready to accomodate him- and listen to him- than we've found the school/sixth form system to be. We've had to fight every inch of the way with various tribunals etc for him to be even given an ounce of the support he needs. It's not that he isn't clever enough for it, and it isn't that he doesn't try- it's that he has to try 10x as hard because they won't provide materials in the right way. It'd be like them trying to teach english kids maths whilst only speaking Chinese- an english kid who couldn't speak chinese would have to work 10x as hard as he would were it in english.

    Whilst June doesn't seem that far away Melian, I would speak to your future uni now. The sooner you notify them, the more likely they are to be amenable to you and your situation. Do you have evidence of the lack of support? Show this to your prospective uni.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's not that he isn't clever enough for it, and it isn't that he doesn't try- it's that he has to try 10x as hard because they won't provide materials in the right way.

    Which is what it's like for me.
    Whilst June doesn't seem that far away Melian, I would speak to your future uni now. The sooner you notify them, the more likely they are to be amenable to you and your situation. Do you have evidence of the lack of support? Show this to your prospective uni.

    The only evidence I have is of a meeting I had with my tutors, student rep and disability support, plus a few more emails over the last week about this.

    I did talk to someone at uni the week before last, who asked what my needs and I have mentioned it at open days and have been told the type of support they can give me. (someone to guide me around campus, large monitor, magnifying software, etc)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    well you've also got the threads you've made here too. Was there any correspondence back with that other thread about the laptop?

    Email your new uni (that will also make it easier for you to talk to the right person when you go to visit) and voice your concerns.

    Can I ask what county you live in?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They did finally sort that out - but only after I had to point it out to them they were breaking the law.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian the best advice I can give you is just to chase up with your prospective uni and speak to their specific department as they will be able to help you properly, and possibly consider other universities you might want to go to as well in case you don't get the grades. Hope it all goes well x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yes- but the fact that there was correspondence about the laptop and that they didn't do anything until you pointed out about the law being broken, will put evidence in your favour as to the school CONTINUALLY neglecting your needs.

    My mum literally has folders and folders of evidence for the tribunals we've taken whilst fighting for my brother.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is all my fault apparently because I've turned down their offers of support. That being, equipment/formats that are useless for me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    This is all my fault apparently because I've turned down their offers of support. That being, equipment/formats that are useless for me.

    I don't think it's your fault melian, and you shouldn't think like that and you shouldn't listen to anyone who says that. It's a very difficult situation to be and I really don't envy you. Have you pursued queenmab_roo and my advice on contacting the university in question, in order to make your needs more apparent there?

    I mean it's unfortunate but if you have not been supported and as such fall short of the grades you need you can't get them bumped up and the only recourse is to ask the university to be leniant. I would also, as a backup plan, look into other universities you might want to consider going to IF the worst happens.

    Ultimately though your only recourse against your college if they have not provided you with adequate means to be on a level playing field would be to try to sue them for potential loss of earnings due to getting a lesser grade due to their lack to provide the adequate support, and whilst in a perfect world that would be a straight and clear cut matter and you would get fair compensation I think in reality you would have really big difficulties getting anywhere with it. So, aside from that, you're pretty stuck with your college and the best you can really do is whine at them and try your hardest to get the best grade you can, and in the meantime spend your energies focusing on which universities you will be able to get into with your grades etc.

    Good luck!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just some good news for you hopefully- my mum took my little brother to the RNIB for his DSA assessment on thursday, and found them so completely willing to offer all the equipment needed and only requiring his registration certificate. There is such a huge difference between how you have to fight for equipment during your school education (the years where you do really need it to prove that you can get into the unis...) and how they fall over their feet in their rush to give it to you at uni...

    Have you contacted the RNIB or your local association? My mum works for the local blind charity, and they have Rehabilitation Officers and other people to support VIPs with issues like this.

    Contact contact and contact again. Your college are not being helpful so go above and around to other organisations and the uni.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    my advice on contacting the university in question, in order to make your needs more apparent there?

    Yes I have. I spoke to the disability manager who asked what my impairment was (he actually knows what it is) he asked me what my needs are and made a few suggestions. When I was there in March, I spoke to a lecturer who told me that there are already provisions in place (magnifying software and large screen monitors) for visually impaired people.
    I mean it's unfortunate but if you have not been supported and as such fall short of the grades you need you can't get them bumped up and the only recourse is to ask the university to be leniant. I would also, as a backup plan, look into other universities you might want to consider going to IF the worst happens.

    I have spoken to the university and have to wait for them to get back to me regarding my grades, as I have a few other qualifications. I think I've just passed, but I know I could've done better had I been given support.

    Thanks queenmab_roo. I have contacted the RNIB a few times because of various issues (transport and the equipment issues in September) and I think I'm going to contact them again.

    The subject of DSA assessments and the RNIB have been mentioned, but it is quite a trek for me. (Bristol or London, both of which are around 3 hours away)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Really hope it goes well for you Melian, you sound like you're taking the right steps and it's just a shit situation to be in where your college really has let you down.
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