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Access Arrangements

Examinations Access Arrangements Protocol


The Examinations Access Arrangements policy explains the actions taken to ensure inclusion throughout the school for students with additional learning needs (ALN), including those formally diagnosed with SEND. The policy forms an integral part of our teaching and learning philosophy and seeks to create a learning environment whereby every individual student may fulfil their potential.


The term ALN is used to incorporate all students known to be receiving intervention, including those with SEND. 

Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010 defines disability as a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’

A candidate has Special Educational Needs as defined by the SEND code of practice: 20 to 25 years. Children have a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.

The Equality Act 2010 definition of a disability includes substantial and long-term sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, mental health difficulties and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy or cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN.

Access Arrangements:

Access arrangements are ‘reasonable adjustments’ for students who have a disability or a special educational need that significantly affects them in examinations.

Any arrangements that are used in examinations are based on the normal way of working in the classroom and in tests and examinations. Wherever possible, access arrangements that enable a student to work independently are encouraged.


Access arrangements:

  • Are used to provide a level playing field so students can demonstrate their knowledge
  • Do not change the skills or knowledge that is being tested or the content of an exam
  • Must not give an unfair advantage to the student awarded them

There are a variety of access arrangements that can be provided, including:

  • Support for reading (e.g. a reader, a reading pen.)
  • Support for writing (e.g. a scribe, a word processor.)
  • Support for working to time (e.g. 25% extra time, rest breaks.)

‘JCQ advice to SENDCos suggests:’

“Use of technology. SENCos may wish to consider the use of technology to a much greater extent instead of readers and scribes. Computer readers, examination reading pens, speech recognition technology and word processors not only allow candidates to work independently but are also a better preparation for Further and Higher Education and the world of employment”.

Support for reading: School policy to support students who meet the criteria for a reader is the use of a reading pen. Our pens read aloud printed text, allowing the students to access all the same literature as their peers within the classroom and during assessments/exams. These are held centrally in the school library and should be booked in advance for in class assessments so students are familiar and they are their normal way of working.

Support for writing: School policy to support students who meet the criteria for a writer is the use of a laptop. No formal evidence is needed here but school must be able to evidence that this is a student’s normal way of working. JCQ suggest the types of students included in this criteria are those with poor handwriting, a medical condition or a learning difficulty which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to write legibly.

JCQ handbook “centres are allowed to provide a word processor with the spelling and grammar check facility/predictive text disabled to a candidate where it is their normal way of working within the centre.

Organising Access Arrangements at The Prescot School

Support for working to time is only granted through this process.

  1. Access Arrangements are identified through referral process only. Once a member of staff completes a referral, and submits to the SENDCo, they will receive feedback within two weeks.
  2. In line with JCQ policy staff will confirm they have considered the awarding of centre-delegated supervised rest breaks in the first instance.
  3. Contact is made with home to inform parents of testing.
  4. A specialist teacher will take the student through a testing process to identify any needs.
  5. If a need is confirmed staff will be informed that student Learning Plan has been updated with strategies to support the student. Staff will be asked to provide evidence of the student’s usual way of working and the specialist teacher will use these to complete a form 8. 
  6. Children with EHCP/ASD/ADHD or other disability diagnosis will not require assessment but SENDCo will provide evidence in the form of a form 9.
  7. Upon complete of the form 8, a letter will be sent home to parent / carer.

All students who quality for Access Arrangements will sit their mock and final examinations in the school library.

Possible additional Access Arrangements

Separate room

Used when a student with a medical condition such as epilepsy / diabetes where it isn’t appropriate for them to sit an exam in the main examination hall. Students who have a psychological condition may also need to sit an examination in a separate room.

Medical evidence must be provided in advance to support this arrangement and then be approved by the Exams Officer and  the SENDCo.

Modified papers

Students with visual distress may qualify for their papers to be modified. Centres are required to provide the awarding bodies with early notification that a candidate will require a modified paper. Access arrangements online allows centres to place these orders.

Medical evidence must be provided in advance to support this arrangement and then be approved by the SENDCo.

Supervised rest breaks

Students are permitted to stop for short breaks during the examination and the time is stopped and added to their overall allocation. This is supervised at all times. This must be the student’s normal way of working.

Breaks will be awarded based on:

  • A recognised (and evidence) medical need;
  • Cognition and learning need;
  • Communication and interaction need;
  • Sensory and physical need;
  • Social, mental and emotional needs

The student’s difficulties must be established within the school and known to the SENDCo. The amount of breaks required will be granted and evidence by the SENDCo.

Bilingual translation dictionaries


(with up to 25% minimum extra time)

Only to be used by a student whose first language is not English, Irish or Welsh. This must be the student’s normal way of working.

For aural tests, clear amplification may be necessary to improve the student’s ability to hear, or a transcript of a listening test may be read to enable the candidate to also lip-read.

The dictionaries must be held in the centre to ensure clean copies are provided.

Not to be used in English Language or MFL examination testing one of the languages in the dictionary or a similar language e.g. a Portuguese dictionary in a Spanish examination.


Manual braillers will require transcription into print. Braille scripts will be transcribed by the centre.

Additional site





To be granted under

  • An evidenced medical condition that prevents the student from taking their examinations in the centre.
  • Evidenced social, mental and emotional needs that prevent the student from attending the centre.
  • A temporary illness or injury which at the time of the examination prevents the students from attending the centre.


The centre must be satisfied that the student is able to take their examinations in controlled conditions.