Access Arrangements

Access Arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working.

Access Arrangements allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the demands of the assessment.  For example, extra time, readers, scribes and Braille question papers.  In this way Awarding Bodies will comply with the duty of the Equality Act 2010 to make 'reasonable adjustments'.

When considering reasonable adjustments the following will be considered:

  • The needs of the disabled candidate/learner;
  • The effectiveness of the adjustment;
  • The cost of the adjustment; and
  • The likely impact of the adjustment upon the candidate and other candidates.


The deadline for submitting online applications for access arrangements for GCSE and GCE qualifications is 21st February for the June examination series


Application for Access Arrangements

  1. Speak to your school or college SENCO or person responsible for examinations and explain your concerns or needs
  2. You may have to supply evidence of your special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries
  3. Your school or college may assess you themselves or you may have to obtain an assessment privately
  4. If you wish to seek a private assessment we can usually offer appointments within 2 weeks and provide a report within 2 weeks following your assessment
  5. Your school SENCO or person responsible for examinations will complete your application and ask you to submit your assessment.
  6. If successful you will be notified via your school or college what adjustments will be made for your examinations.

If you have or suspect you have any of the following you may be entitled to apply for access arrangements:

  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Visually Impaired
  • Deaf
  • ADD / ADHD
  • Speech, Language and Communication Needs
  • Working memory difficulties 

Access Arrangements can include:

  • Extra time
  • A reader
  • Oral language modifier
  • A scribe
  • Using a computer instead of handwriting
  • Using assistive software (screen reader/voice recognition)
  • Exam papers to be on a coloured paper in dyslexia friendly font
  • Hard copy instead of on-screen
  • Supervised rest breaks
  • Separate room

Reasonable Adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 requires an Awarding Body to make reasonable adjustments where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage in undertaking an assessment.

A reasonable adjustment for a particular person may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the list of available Access Arrangements.

How reasonable the adjustment is will depend on a number of factors including the needs of the disabled candidate/learner.  An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs, time frames or affects the security or integrity of the assessment.

There is no duty on the Awarding Bodies to make any adjustment to the assessment objectives being tested in an assessment.

To find out more about the different types of reasonable adjustments

Special Consideration

Special Consideration is a post examination adjustment to a candidate's mark or grade to reflect temporary injury, illness or other indisposition at the time of the examination/assessment.

Access Arrangements fall into two distinct categories: some arrangements are delegated to centres, others require prior JCQ awarding body approval.

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