Access Arrangements

What is an 'Access Arrangement'?

If a student has an identified learning need or disability that means that he or she is disadvantaged in comparison to other students of similar ability, he or she may qualify for access arrangements for public examinations. There are a number of different types of access arrangement and these are determined by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). The criteria that must be met for an access arrangement changes frequently and JCQ issue guidance booklets every year.

Access arrangements do not change the skills or knowledge being tested. They must not give an unfair advantage, but they do give a level playing field so students can show their knowledge

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. rest breaks, 25% Extra Time)

The SENCo must be satisfied that the candidate has an impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect, giving rise to persistent and significant difficulties (the candidate is disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act) 2010.' Access Arrangements and Reasonable adjustments – JCQ 2020/2021

When We Assess a Student

We assess identified students with ‘persistent and significant difficulties’ (JCQ page 9 2020/2021) at the end of Year 9 and the start of Year 10 in order to ascertain whether students meet the criteria and subsequently apply for access arrangements to be granted. Any application is valid for only 26 months – it is for this reason that we do not apply earlier.

In order for us to apply we need to provide evidence of an ongoing need and show that the access arrangement we apply for is the student’s normal way of working. Therefore, throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 we may trial various strategies and gather evidence from all stakeholders to ensure that an arrangement is based on the normal way of working in the classroom and in tests and exams. Wherever possible, access arrangements that enable a student to work independently are encouraged.

No access arrangement is formalised until the end of Year 9/beginning of Year 10 and any arrangement made before that time is essentially part of the assessment process, inclusive of KS2 and 11+ assessments. Please also be aware that having an Education Health and Care Plan or diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty, does not necessarily mean that a student will qualify for access arrangements, even if he/she has regular in-class support.

Please note: private assessments that have been carried outside school cannot be used to support and application for access arrangements.


If a student is eligible they will have the arrangements in all internal tests and exams for Years 10 and 11. We will notify parents of the exam access arrangements for the academic year, by letter. Exam Access Arrangements are also noted on student’s EHCPs and SSPPs.

All exam board delegated arrangements can only be given once a student has been tested in school.

All arrangements must be submitted with evidence from teaching staff and be the candidate’s usual way of working.

We will always seek to work with students and parents to ensure the most appropriate outcome for all students. Parents and students will be informed via letter as to the final arrangements in place.