External Examinations

Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments

Annabelle Burton collecting a prize


Access arrangements are special arrangements that enable candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access public examinations. The intention behind an access arrangement is to meet the needs of an individual candidate without affecting the integrity of the examination.

Access arrangements are agreed with the SENCo before an assessment and should reflect the candidate’s normal way of working.

25% extra time

This access arrangement is for candidates with below average standardised scores related to their speed of reading, writing and processing. It may also be appropriate for candidates with other disability or access needs, such as ASD or social, emotional and health needs.

Supervised Rest Breaks

If there is a substantial and long-term impairment which causes significant difficulties during the exam, this access arrangement allows the candidate to pause and then re-start the paper when they are ready to continue.

However, the purpose of a supervised rest break is for a break from the examination and should not be used as ‘thinking time’. The candidate will not have access to the question paper/answer booklet during the break. If they need to leave the examination room, the invigilator will accompany the candidate to ensure the integrity of the exam


A reader is a responsible adult who reads the instructions of the question paper and the questions to the candidate. This may involve reading the whole paper to the candidate or the candidate may request only some words to be read. Computer software which accurately reads out text, but does not decode or interpret the paper, may be used as a computer reader.


A scribe is a responsible adult who types or writes a candidate’s dictated answers to the questions.

Word Processor

The school is allowed to provide a word processor with the spelling and grammar check facility/predictive text switched off where it is the candidate’s normal way of working. A candidate may use a word processor in an examination to type certain questions, i.e. those requiring extended writing, and handwrite shorter answers.


A prompter may be permitted where a candidate has a substantial and long-term adverse impairment resulting in persistent distractibility or significant difficulty in concentrating.

Modified Papers

The examination boards must provide reasonable adjustments where a candidate would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. They are required to take reasonable steps to overcome that disadvantage.

For example,  we can order modified papers for candidates with a visual impairments.

Further Information

If you would like more information about access arrangements and reasonable adjustments, you should contact our SENCo who is responsible for determining whether or not a pupil requires an adjustment.


You may also like

Comments are closed.