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Information & advice

Access arrangements

Find out about the support disabled young people can get when sitting exams. Access arrangements may be available to support disabled students to demonstrate their ability without their disability being a barrier.

What are access arrangements?

Access arrangements are special arrangements, or reasonable adjustments, which a small number of disabled students are entitled to in their Public Exams. The intention is that students can demonstrate their ability in an area without their disability being a barrier to showing what they know.

In most cases the school will need to apply for these arrangements several months before the final exams. The practice should be the student’s “normal method of working” in class and exams for several years and the student must have made use of the arrangement.

Not all these arrangements require a formal application by the school but schools will have policies about evidence required. The only exception to this would be where a student develops a new medical condition or where an existing medical condition significantly deteriorates. The first person to contact would be your school’s SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) or Exams Officer.

Special considerations

Access arrangements are put in place for students with known conditions which can be planned for. Special considerations are for unexpected difficulties on the day of the exam. Where a student experiences an unexpected medical or other difficulty, the school should be alerted on the day of the exam (or before) and a medical letter sought.

Get support and advice

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) represents the eight largest providers of qualifications in the UK. They have more advice about Access Arrangements . Click the button below to visit their website for more information.