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Cotham School

Exam Access Arrangements

Exam Access Arrangements

Exam Access Arrangements (EAAs) are the reasonable adjustments that are made for eligible students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, for example, extra time to complete  exams, the use of a laptop or assistive technology, a scribe or sitting their exams in a separate room.

Who is eligible for exam access arrangements?

Exam arrangements are only granted if there is evidence that they are a student’s ‘normal way of working’ and the student has a history of need because of a significant and long-term impairment. For example, a student who is eligible for extra time would need to have a history of needing extra time to complete their work and EAA assessment scores that are below average in speed of writing, reading, reading comprehension or processing, demonstrating they work more slowly than others do.

What exam arrangements are available?

Some of the most common arrangements include:

Extra time, which is usually 25%.

A reader for students who have visual impairments or a disability that affects their ability to read accurately themselves. In an exam that assesses reading ability, a human reader is not allowed but, in some cases, a computer reader will be allowed.

A scribe can be allocated to students who have a disability or injury that affects their ability to write legibly.

Modified papers can have different sizes, fonts and coloured paper.

Assistive technology: If a student uses approved assistive technology as their normal way of working, they will be able to use this in their exams. Some of the most common types are laptops, exam reading pens, and computer text readers.

A separate room can be provided for students for whom there is approved evidence of a long term history of need or a medical diagnosis such as epilepsy.

Applying for Exam Arrangements

We begin the initial assessment of students for Exam Access Arrangements in Year 9. Students with low scores or a history of need will complete further standardised assessments to determine whether they are eligible. The school then applies to the Joint Council for Qualifications by the annual deadline, which is usually during February.   

Who assesses Exam Access Arrangements?

At Cotham, the SENDCo and Deputy SENDCos organise exam arrangements and liaise with our Exams Officer to put the arrangements in place. We also have three members of staff who are qualified to assess students for exam access arrangements.

EAAs have to be approved by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which oversees examination boards for GCSEs, A Levels and Functional Skills to create consistency in how exams are run. All schools and colleges have to abide by the JCQ directives and are inspected by JCQ annually to ensure they are following the regulations and that unfair advantages have not been given to any students.