Access Arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working. Access Arrangements fall into two distinct categories: some arrangements are delegated to centres, others require prior JCQ awarding body approval.
If your child has not been formally diagnosed, contact us to work with our dedicated centre-appointed assessors.
Access Arrangements are for people who’ve struggled with their learning for whatever reason and have evidence that additional support is needed.
Access Arrangements are there to allow those who have a history of working in a particular way to continue to work that way when taking an exam.
It is not a way to get an unfair advantage over other candidates or get extra time to work questions out when you don’t need it.
You will require robust evidence when considering whether Access Arrangements are applicable to you.
Typical documents you may require could be (they’ll be different for different AAs):
- A recent Educational Psychologist’s Report for the candidate, test results, etc.
- Pieces of written work by the candidate, preferably in the subject(s) the candidate is seeking to take their exam.
- Proof of a ‘usual way of working’, ie, that the arrangements requested are part of the candidate’s everyday way of working (laptop, extra time, small room, etc).
- A Form 8 should be completed, but we have access to specialist professionals who can sign this for you.
We appreciate that parents and carers will have a particular view on how much support their child needs.
This information will have been acquired over a considerable period of time. However, it is essential that a request is not made for anything that it not absolutely necessary (an everyday need that has some historical evidence).
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you work through the process of assessing the documentation you currently hold, or may need to acquire. This means we can submit your Access Arrangements request to the awarding body in the best condition possible.
More for you
We have considerable experience in supporting Access Arrangement candidates. It should be remembered that our support is time sensitive, so if you are considering Access Arrangements, you should contact us at your earliest convenience (see process below – Step 1). Our Access Arrangement decisions are based on our physical, human and financial resource availability (see notes below). It’s not always possible to facilitate every request and we may not be able to support requests offered to you by other exam centres.
Computer / word processor
contact our exams officer for details
robust evidence of need is always required
We’re currently unable to support Scribes or Readers. We also do not support sole room / separate invigilation during the Summer examination series.
Please note: You must approach us with accurate information which has robust evidence of need. We do not support ‘preferences’, only professionally-validated evidence. If you request an access arrangement to which you are not entitled, this may be seen as malpractice and we will not support any action which may lead to malpractice.
What is the process of getting support for Access Arrangements?
Contact our exam centre via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll return your contact with further information.
When invited, discuss with our exam team in more detail, the Access Arrangements (AA) you are hoping to secure.
Step 3 The exam team will inform you if it is an access arrangement our exam centre can facilitate.
Our centre does not facilitate the type of AA request you are hoping to secure. You’ll be informed that your AA can not be supported at our exam centre. We will be unable to help further and you will need to find another exam centre.
Our centre does facilitate the type of AA request you are hoping to secure and we can continue to support you at this stage.
You can now continue to Step 4.
Establish initial evidence of need. You will be requested to supply existing evidence to the exams team. This is not a guarantee that we can facilitate your specific request, but it will enable our team to review your documentation. Our exam team will review your documentation to determine if there is sufficient evidence of need (in-line with awarding body and JCQ requirements) to continue with an AA application at our exam centre.
You have been unable to present to our team clear evidence of need. We will not be able to progress your application for AA beyond this point and you should find another exam centre that can meet your needs.
You have been able to present to our team clear evidence of need. Our team will be able to progress your application to the next stage and you should now go to Step 5.
Our Exam team will approach the centre’s Head of Centre. Head of Centre will determine (based on high-level physical, financial and human resources management information) if our exam centre is able to support the request. This part of the process focuses on whether our centre has the available space, time, people, hardware and software and even the general availability of resources to support your AA. Final decisions are no reflection on how much you need the AA, but on our capacity to provide supporting services to accommodate your AA. Please read end notes for further information.
The Head of Centre, uniquely positioned with high-level knowledge of the human and physical resources available at their centre, determines that the level of support requested (even if evidenced) can not be supported at our centre during the relevant exam series’. We will be unable to help further and you will need to find another exam centre.
The Head of Centre, uniquely positioned with high-level knowledge of the human and physical resources available at their centre, determines that the level of support requested can be supported at our centre during the relevant exam series’.
You can now continue to Step 6.
Applicant registers and becomes a private candidate at our exam centre. Candidate signs an AA Request Form to confirm that they understand and accept that until the evidence collating activities are fully completed by our exam centre, no AAs can be finalised or approved by the awarding body. There are two possible scenarios beyond this point.
Centre Assessment Required*
Candidate holds evidence but has no formal assessment documentation detailing impact on learning. Exam team completes relevant forms including required sections in Form 8* and sends to centre assessor.
Move to Scenario 1b below.
Applicant attends one to one assessment conducted by centre assessor.*
Existing EHCP/Individual Development Plan/Statement of Special Educational Needs + Medical documentation
Candidate has provided:
- A copy of existing EHCP/IDP/SSEN.
- Robust learning evidence supported by tutor or learning providers comments detailing the persistent and significant difficulties substantially impacting applicants learning. This should reflect candidates normal way of working.
- A formal diagnosis confirmed by a specialist/clinical paediatrician/hospital consultant (not a GP)
- A formal assessment conducted by a qualified assessor – Level 7 Post Graduate qualification in individual specialist assessment, teacher holding a current SpLD, Assessment Practicing Certificate, or psychologist holding HCPC registration.
Does centre assessor’s formal assessment demonstrate need for AA and reflect the information that has previously been provided to our centre?
Has the assessor suggested any centre based reasonable adjustments that can be applied by our centre?
If the assessor has not suggested centre based reasonable adjustments, you have reached the end point of your AA application. We are unable to support your Access Arrangements request and you are advised to find another exam centre.
If the assessor has suggested centre based reasonable adjustments and we can still, at this stage, support these, your AA will progress across to Collation of centre based evidence* on the right.
Your AA will progress across to Collation of centre based evidence* on the right.
Collation of centre based evidence*
Attend centre and sit mock exams to acquire centre based evidence to support the AA request.
Please be aware that it is a JCQ requirement for exam centres to conduct centre based evidence tasks.
Examples of centre based evidence include samples of comments and observations from centre staff.
*charges apply for mock examinations and additional evidence collation
Applicant declines to participate in mock examinations. As a consequence, the candidate is not able to undergo any exam centre based assessments, we can be of no further support and the request for AA can not progress further at our centre.
Applicant agrees to participate in mock examinations and sits them.
Exam centre is in a position, being in possession of new appropriate evidence of need, to support the AA request. Centre processes AA application to relevant awarding body.
Awarding body approves or rejects the access arrangement application and we communicate their decision to you.
Things considered by the Head of Centre
- Does our centre offer the requested AA at all?
- Do we have the available rooms or other physical resources requested?
- Does the request require additional invigilators, or specialist invigilators such as Scribes, Readers, etc? ***
- Do we have the physical equipment to support the subject and AA request?
- Is it unreasonable for our centre to support the additional costs required to support the AA request?
- Do we have the capacity to support the AA request?
- Are any reasonable adjustments initially offered still reasonable for the centre to accommodate?
There are many legitimate reasons why Head of Centres are unable to take private candidates access arrangement requests forward. For example, many applicants do not realise that recent changes made by JCQ mean exam centres are not able to charge for any additional costs associated with AAs during exams.
This means that exam centres have to be able and willing to fund any additional costs associated with accepting a private candidate with an AA request at their centre.
Therefore, requests to exam centres have to be reasonable and fall within the physical, human and financial capacity of the exam centre. In many cases, it is simply not possible or reasonable for the exam centre to cover the additional costs.
Some good advice
Come to us early, keep an open mind, accept decisions (we’re really experienced at this and so are the exam boards).
It is imperative that you try to work with us, not against us, when going through this process. Securing Access Arrangement approval from the exam boards can take time, as does the process of getting to that point. If you do not have the appropriate evidence available, or you stall the process through inaction or conflict, we do not promise to ‘hold available indefinitely’ our physical, human or financial resources.
Therefore, due to a range of ever-changing and time-critical factors, we do not guarantee that the services that were available to you at the beginning of this process, will be available to you at its conclusion or any other stage of it. However, we will keep you informed.
Keep talking to us
Please maintain contact with us as a range of things can change during the above process. For instance:
- the exam board may change certain criteria for the exam, which impacts your AA.
- the government may issue advice on taking exams.
- your access arrangement needs may change, not reporting these to us may disadvantage you (if a condition has worsened) or even be seen as malpractice (if a condition has improved).
- our ability to support your access arrangements may change for internal or external reasons.
- We’ll always be able to advise, so keep in touch and keep studying.
- Add our domain @entercic.org and privateexamsnortheast.co.uk to the safe sender’s list in your email account.
*additional charges apply
** Please be aware that the above information provides a summary of the processes we undergo to determine if our centre can support private candidates with an AA request. It cannot be comprehensive as every candidate is considered on their individual evidence and needs.
*** It is important that applicants understand that where an AA arrangement will involve our resources, we have the sole authority, granted to us by the government’s exams regulator, to determine if we will support the request, what types of access arrangements we have the capacity to support and how we utilise our physical, human and financial resources to facilitate an AA. Indeed, this is not just the case for those requesting Access Arrangements, it is for all private candidates.
Exam centres are not obliged to take on private candidates (with or without access arrangements). We choose to offer Access Arrangements where we can to be an enabler for those with a wide range of disabilities. Therefore, if we decide that we cannot support you, it will be for legitimate reasons and we never make these decisions lightly. Any attempt to circumvent this legitimate procedure (through providing knowingly-inaccurate information, hiding/withholding information or even through bullying, coercion or threats) to gain Access Arrangements may be reported to the exam board(s) as malpractice, the regulator or another authority.
The Equality Act 2010 does not compel private exam centres such as ours to provide Access Arrangement services to external candidates. Therefore, our inability or refusal to offer Access Arrangements and/or to amend the conditions of relevant services to external candidates is not a breach of the rights of persons with disabilities.