A FURIOUS mum has slammed her vulnerable daughter's school after she was recently kicked from an exam for wearing an Apple Watch.

Zena Paterson says she was left feeling angry after discovering invigilators at Henry Beaufort School had removed her 15 year old daughter, Francesca, from the exam hall half way through her Biology GCSE after spotting the watch on her wrist.

The mother of two says she and her husband bought the watch for Francesca - who is diagnosed with social communication difficulties, language disorder and 10 per cent hearing loss in left hear - as a safeguarding measure, and 'never dreamed' this would be allowed to happen.

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Henry Beaufort School has said it doesn't comment on individual cases but insisted examination board regulations are closely adhered to and well communicated to students in advance of examinations taking place.

Mrs Paterson said: "The reason I'm so incensed about it is because of the way in which they've handled the situation. Francesca has got some learning difficulties, she's a lovely little girl that plays the violin. She's never even had a detention in the five years she has been at school and is just a sweetheart. It's this injustice which is infuriating me.

Hampshire Chronicle: An Apple watch similar to the one worn by Francesca Paterson to her exam.An Apple watch similar to the one worn by Francesca Paterson to her exam.

"She's been allowed into the exam and at no point have any of the invigilators noticed that she's wearing a great big Apple Watch - that is literally part of their job. Regulation stipulates that they have to announce twice once students are seated that any phones, MP3 players or smart watches are handed over. That's the first warning. The second warning is they now have to tell kids to hand over any wrist watches, not just smart watches, before the exam has started.

"Because of Francesca's social communication difficulties one of her fears throughout school was being told off or doing something wrong - hence why she's never had a detention because she's such a good girl. So, they're expecting me to believe she sat there and defied all those warnings. I cannot and will not believe that. Something about this just doesn't add up. Either they weren't warned at the proper time or it wasn't done clearly."

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Invigilators couldn't initially get through to Mrs Paterson, a diagnostic radiographer, as she was in theatre. They instead spoke to her husband, who claims they admitted a 'major overhaul' was needed among the school's exam auditors.

Despite their protests, a report was submitted to the exam board and the family faced an agonising wait over half-term before eventually being told Francesca had been failed the entire paper on June 7.

"It has really knocked her confidence," Mrs Paterson said.

"I have recently gone back to university and sat exams as an adult and we were physically checked by invigilators. We were made to roll up our sleeves and tuck our hair behind our ears, anyone with a headscarf had to partly pull it back and show there was nothing underneath. But yet in this exam they didn't even look at the children's wrists, 15 and 16 year olds and they were just allowed to walk in.

"We obviously didn't have smart watches when I went to school, but it's such a big thing that you would think they'd be making a special effort to check - especially with vulnerable students. The school are perfectly aware of her diagnoses - it's on their records - but they've never given her any support when it comes to subjects like maths, even though she suffers from dyscalculia. I've told them on numerous occasions she wouldn't pass the GCSE unless she's given the support she needs and the school have practically laughed at me.

"I'm not one of those parents that makes a big fuss. I've had two children go through school and I've barely contacted them in five years, but this is something else. I just think other parents should be warned about this because it was not on my radar at all. I didn't think for one minute this would be allowed to happen or that they've portion the blame so much on the student."

Mrs Paterson says she's been met by a wall of silence when she's tried to contact the school and work out a solution or appeal the decision. "I've phoned and emailed the head teacher numerous times but she won't phone me back," she said.

"It pretty much felt as if we were told 'that's that' and just had to accept it.

"I had so much trouble trying to get Francesca to revise for this exam because of her learning difficulties and she really did try and made some really good progress, but it's all been for nothing."

Sue Hearle, headteacher of The Henry Beaufort School, said:“It would not be appropriate to comment on an individual student. It should be noted however, that examination board regulations are closely adhered to in school and well communicated to students in advance of examinations taking place. Where appeals are requested by the school, these are managed on the student’s behalf and paid for by the school.”

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