Applying for reasonable accommodation

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Reasonable accommodation is a concrete measure that can be given to a pupil with special educational needs (SEN) to reduce obstacles due to an impairment.
Its purpose is to compensate for the impairment; not to give these pupils an advantage over others in the class.

Reasonable accommodations must be appropriate for the severity of the pupil's impairment. Each application is individually assessed to find the most appropriate solution to the obstacles encountered by the pupil.

Who is concerned

Reasonable accommodations are for SEN pupils who:

  • attend secondary, secondary technical or adult education institutions;
  • have a particular impairment or disability preventing them from demonstrating the skills they have acquired in evaluation tests.
These pupils are able to follow the normal school curriculum, but, because of a disability or illness, they encounter obstacles in the normal conditions of assessment.
The impairment or illness must be such that the resulting obstacles can be overcome by the planned accommodations. The impairments may be visual, motor, hearing, organ or speech impairments, an autistic-spectrum disorder or a permanent or long-term illness.

How to proceed

Types of reasonable accommodation

Accommodations may be made in the areas of:

  • classroom instruction;
  • tasks required of pupils inside or outside the classroom;
  • classroom evaluation tests;
  • examinations at the end of studies or at the end of apprenticeships and integrated projects.

The following reasonable accommodations shall be made or, if necessary, adapted or suspended by the principal of the institution at the request of the reference figure:

  • the layout of the classroom and/or the pupil's desk;
  • a separate room for testing;
  • an adapted presentation of questionnaires (such as a braille or large-print version).

The following reasonable accommodations shall be made or, if necessary, adapted or suspended by the class council at the request of the reference figure:

  • exemption from part of the compulsory tests planned for a trimester or semester;
  • substitution of part of the planned tests by a single end-of-term or end-of-semester test;
  • for annual results, consideration of academic results from only one or two trimesters or one semester.

In addition to the accommodations described above, the Reasonable Accommodations Commission may approve or, if necessary, adapt or suspend the following reasonable accommodations:

  • increased time allowed for tests and integrated projects;
  • additional breaks during the tests;
  • allowing examinations at the end of studies or end of apprenticeships to be taken over two sessions;
  • relocation of tests outside the school to the home or an institution such as a hospital;
  • use of technological aids and human aid (assistance during practical work, interpreters for deaf-mute pupils) to compensate specific impairments;
  • use of a spell checker;
  • use of a lingua franca, German or French, for questionnaires and/or the drafting of the student's writings other than the one planned for use in secondary technical curricula;
  • exemptions from oral, practical or physical tests or from a specific module (e.g. physical education for disabled pupils, musical education for deaf pupils);
  • temporary transfer into another class for some or all subjects;
  • medical examination before access to certain courses;
  • transfer of the case file to the National Medical School Commission.

Applications

Applications for reasonable accommodation should be addressed to the principal of the institution by:

  • the parents of an underage pupil;
  • pupils 18 and over;
  • the teacher;
  • a representative of the Psycho-Social and School Assistance Department (Service psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires);
  • a representative of the Reasonable Accommodation Commission (Commission des aménagements raisonnables);
  • a representative of the School Inclusion Commission (Commission d'inclusion scolaire).

The reference figure

Upon receipt of the request for reasonable accommodation, the director shall appoint a reference figure to support the pupil with special educational needs – either a representative of the Psycho-Social and School Assistance Department (SPAS) or an employee of the school.
Throughout the procedure, that person acts as the intermediary for the pupil and parents.
The reference figure contacts the parents and pupil, asks for their written consent to receive and transfer the pupil's data, and informs them of the recommended procedure and the measures decided on in the pupil's interest.

Creation and management of a case file

The reference figure creates a new case file or, if a case file has been transferred by the basic education authorities to the SPAS, receives and supplements that file.
The file must include:

  • reports prepared by specialists about the pupil's abilities and their impairment or disability;
  • reports on contact with the pupil's parents;
  • reports from services responsible for the pupil's care in the past.

If a case is referred to the Reasonable Accommodation Commission, at the request of the commission's chairman, the case file shall also include:

  • the school record prepared the teacher;
  • a psychological assessment prepared by an SPAS psychologist.

The parents or pupil are invited to participate in a pre-consultation meeting with the members of the commission.
All information needed for support of the pupil may be included in the case file.
While the pupil is enrolled in post-primary education, this file is managed by the reference figure, who ensures it remains confidential. The parents and the pupil have access to the file and the information it contains.
If the pupil changes schools, the file is transferred to the appropriate reference figure.
When the pupil's schooling ends, the file is given to the parents or the pupil.

Review of the file

At the suggestion of the reference figure and within 20 days of obtaining the consent of the parents or pupil, the principal shall:

  • decide which reasonable accommodation is easy to set up;
  • refer the matter to the class council, which shall authorise the reasonable accommodation, where necessary; or
  • forward the application to the Accommodation Commission, mostly for accommodations that have a greater impact on assessment conditions.

Referrals to the Reasonable Accommodation Commission

If a case is referred to the commission, the chairman may ask experts to prepare a report and suggest reasonable accommodations.

After consulting the pupil's file, the commission shall determine whether there is a need for reasonable accommodation. The commission shall make its decision within one month of referral of the case.

Decision and appeals

The chairman shall notify the principal and the reference figure in writing of the commission's decision.

If there is a disagreement with the decision of the principal, the class council or the commission, the parents or the pupil over 18 may file an appeal. For this reason, they may refer the matter to the National Medical School Commission, which shall make its decision within one month of the referral.

Once the reasonable accommodation has been granted, the principal shall ensure that it is put in place and implemented. Subsequently, the accommodations may be adapted or suspended depending on changes in a pupil's specific educational needs following an improvement or a deterioration in their condition.

End-of-studies and end-of-apprenticeship exams, and integrated projects

If a reasonable accommodation changes the presentation of a questionnaire or the conditions of a written, oral, practical or integrated project examination, the Government Commissioner shall inform the members of the examination committee at the preliminary meeting of the reasonable accommodation approved on behalf of the candidates in question.
On the advice of the Government Commissioner, the Minister may appoint an expert to sit on the examination committee in question.

Assessment and certification

Certificates and diplomas are the same for all pupils who have passed the tests. Thus, they make no mention of the reasonable accommodations made for some pupils. However, supplements to diplomas, supplements to certificates and newsletters shall mention the following reasonable accommodations:

  • the regular use of a spell checker;
  • the use of a lingua franca, German or French, other than the one planned for use in the curricula;
  • exemptions from oral, practical or physical tests or from a module;
  • accommodations for a basic area of the final-year class or the final integrated project.

Continuous training

The principal of the institution shall ensure that all members of the school community are informed of the reasonable basis for the accommodations made for certain students. If necessary, the principal organises awareness-raising courses for pupils and continuous training for other members of the school community in collaboration with the Coordination Service for Pedagogical and Technological Research and Innovation.

Who to contact

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