Access Arrangements

Exam access arrangements are adjustments made to how students sit formal exams and assessments. The aim is to remove any barriers which prevent disadvantaged students from showing their true ability in a subject during exams. All students deserve the opportunity to showcase their subject knowledge and ability in exams, and we want to support students by mitigating factors which put them at a disadvantage.

The school currently offers the following access arrangements to eligible students:

  • Extra time
  • Scribe
  • Computer
  • Reader pen / reader
  • Smaller invigilation room
  • Rest breaks
  • Prompts

Some access arrangements require evidence in the form of a medical diagnosis, or scores from specific assessments that we run in school. These results are valid for 26 months, so we usually look to invite students for assessment from the last half term of Year 9. We do not run assessments for access arrangements before this.

The process for access arrangements is as follows:

  1. To begin a referral for access arrangements, classroom teachers will highlight students to the SEND team who they feel may be facing barriers in exams. This provides the necessary teacher evidence which is needed in the later stage of application.
  2. The school Assessor will look at the student profile, including what their needs are, what support is already given, and determine whether an assessment is necessary.
  3. Students are invited for assessment using standardised tests.
  4. Students will be offered access arrangements based on their test results, any diagnoses and profile of need. Some students will also be invited to attend intervention sessions for further support.
  5. Access arrangements will be put in place for mock exams, and for in-class assessments where possible.
  6. The school will apply to JCQ for the specific access arrangements for each student, and students will be asked for their consent for the school to do this on their behalf.

Some students will not meet the strict threshold for access arrangements after assessment. If teachers still feel that the student is disadvantaged in exams, then further investigation can take place using different assessment tools, however this must come from the classroom teacher.

We aim to get access arrangements in place well in advance of GCSE and A Level exams so that students have ample time to practice mock exams with the support in place. We do not make changes in between the last set of formal mock exams and the final exams. Problems requiring access arrangements should have been noticed well in advance of final exams over the course of years rather than at the last minute. This aims to keep access arrangements fair.


My child is struggling in lessons and/or assessments and I think they may qualify for access arrangements. What should I do?

Please speak to your child's teachers or Head of Year about particular difficulties that they have in lessons. Parent's evenings are a great opportunity to discuss concerns and possible support. Teachers will need to make the referral for access arrangements as we cannot accept referrals from parents.

My child has an ADHD/ ASD/ OCD/ medical diagnosis, won't they automatically get extra time in exams?

Diagnoses can be important pieces of evidence when applying for access arrangements, but they do not show the whole picture. It is really important that we have feedback from teachers in conjunction with diagnosis reports to know how best to support students. Extra time is not a suitable access arrangement for every student with a medical diagnosis, and JCQ regulations state that we must exhaust the option of rest breaks before we can consider extra time.

My child is used to having extra time in primary school, can they continue to have extra time in KS3 before they are assessed for access arrangements?

We do not recommend that students take exams and assessments with extra time unless they have the formal evidence in place. Primary schools have different criteria for awarding access arrangements which is often not as strict, and therefore we do not want to offer students access arrangements initially that may then be taken away if they do not qualify later. The first set of formal exams that students will sit will be their GCSE mocks in year 10, by which time the SEND team will have been able to collect the necessary evidence needed for an application for access arrangements.

I have arranged for my child to be assessed outside of school, can you use those scores as evidence for access arrangements?

The JCQ regulations state that assessments for access arrangements must take place in the school, run by the school's appointed assessor. We cannot accept assessment results from external assessors as evidence for access arrangements, but we can use them to help determine which assessments are best to use for each specific student.

My child had access arrangements at GCSE, do we need to do anything to have them again at A Level?

In Year 12, we will collect teacher feedback to confirm that the access arrangements are still required and are the student's normal way of working. Once confirmed, we will reapply for the same access arrangements using the existing evidence; there is no need to complete further assessments.

My child had access arrangements at a previous school, what do we need to do to ensure they have them at Teddington School?

Please send an email to listing the access arrangements that were in place previously. The SEND team will then get in contact with the previous school and request the necessary paperwork to apply for the access arrangements at Teddington. There may be a sight change in access arrangements, as schools have different facilities available, but we will aim to keep them as similar as possible.

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