Asking for extra help for Exams

Many children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) or a disability will need support and ‘access arrangements’ in external examinations

Access arrangements allow learners with ALN, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the exams without changing the demands of the assessment.

Access arrangements could include:

Readers, Scribes, Braille question papers, extra time etc.

By providing these arrangements the qualification ‘Awarding Bodies’ will comply with the duty of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

You should speak to the school or college. They should gather the evidence necessary to support the application. The best evidence will be the fact that the child or young person has needed, and received, help of this kind in the past.  You should write to the school or governing body if there’s a problem.  If a child or young person has had support in the past for exams it’s important to make this clear and that the child or young person still needs this if they are to reach their potential.  Any special arrangements can be recorded in an IDP, but if a child has a disability an no IDP there are still duties under the Equalities Act to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.   

The school or college will apply for the access arrangements using the online system Access Arrangements Online (AAO) used by all JCQ awarding bodies. Most of the applications submitted should be automatically approved. The school or college should do this to ensure the arrangements are in place across all the exam requirements and not just the final exam.

In cases where the application is not approved, there is a process of review.  There are key deadlines for applying for Access Arrangements  you should ask the school or college to make these request as early as possible

If you have questions, or need more information, you can scroll down to read through our frequently asked questions, we’ve covered many different topics to make things clear for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve put together a number of questions and answers relating to requesting exam support:

What if my child needs ‘Reasonable Adjustments?’

In order for this to apply, generally speaking the child or young person would need to fall under the definition of ‘disabled’ within the Equality Act – they must have an impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

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.

An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs or timeframes.

For more information, see our page about Disability Discrimination

What if my child was ill or had an injury which affected their exam?

Special Consideration is an adjustment made to a grade or mark for the learner to reflect a temporary injury, illness or other negative impact at the time of the exam or the assessment.  

Talk to the school or college if this happens.