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Cotham School

0117 919 8000

Inclusion and Learning Support 

Cotham School is an inclusive community that makes provision for a wide variety of needs.

The school recognises that some students will have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of their peers.  This includes students who have learning difficulties, a physical disability,  or social, emotional or behavioural concerns and for whom factors within the students themselves, or their environment, may prevent them from achieving their full potential.

Support in divided into two broad areas:  Learning Support and Student and Family Support .


Learning Support

Learning support is offered to children who are experiencing significant difficulty in accessing the curriculum because of a weakness in literacy or numeracy.

Learning Support is based in the Learning Centre . This a  purpose built facility in the heart of the Cotham Site. 

The Centre is staffed by a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, two part time teachers and a team of six Learning Support Assistants.

If you would like to find out about the sort of support that we offer, to look around the Centre, or to talk to our SENCo (Geoff Warnock), please make contact via our direct line 0117 919 8073 or by email.

We also believe that learning support is most effective when delivered in partnership with parents. To this end, a Parent Group has been set up to enable parents of children who need support for learning to meet each other, discuss mutual concerns and occasionally invite visiting speakers.


Access Arrangements

Some students may be entitled to special access arrangements for public examinations, including the assessment tests (SATs) given at the end of Key Stage 3.

The most common form of special access arrangement is extra time.  At KS3 the requirements for a child to be granted extra time are quite explicit and are quoted in the attached link.  The school normally tests all those children who are currently placed at School Action on the SEN list together with any others that have been recommended by staff.  The school is required to apply for permission to allow the qualifying students to have extra time. The closing date for the application for KS3 tests is 1st March.

Different arrangements apply for GCSE and "A" Levels. Students have to be tested by a qualified assessor, and they have to meet agreed criteria but, assuming they meet the criteria, whether or not extra time is allowed is at the discretion of the school.  Extra time may be between 10 and 25% of the normal exam time, depending on the level of need.



Exam Access Arrangements

Exam Access Arrangements (EAAs) are the reasonable adjustments that can be made for students with learning difficulties and disabilities, for example, extra time to complete an exam paper, permission to use assistive technology 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 have different sizes, fonts, colours, braille, or modified language.

Assistive technology: If the student uses assistive technology as their normal way of working, they will be able to continue this for exams. Some of the most common requests are for word processors, exam reading pens, computer text readers and voice processors.

A separate room can be provided for students for whom there is evidence of a long term history of need, a medical diagnosis of an anxiety related condition or a medical need 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 Qualification’s by the annual deadline, which is usually during February.        

Who assesses Exam Access Arrangements?

At Cotham, the SENCo and Assistant SENCo 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 to ensure they are following the regulations and that unfair advantages have not been given to any students.

Further information is available at:


Student and Family Support

If you have any queries please contact Debbie Price (Student and Family Support Coordinator) on 0117 9198007 or by email.



Bristol City Council - Local Support Offer

You can find information about the Bristol City Council, Local Support Offer here.