top of page

Access Arrangements

Access arrangements allow pupils ‘an even playing field’ on which to access the examinations, tests, coursework and controlled assessments. Pupils will be assessed for eligibility for the full range of access arrangements in Year 9 in advance of their examinations. Information about the pupil’s needs and best ways of working is sought from a range of staff to ensure we have a full picture before making online requests to the exams boards for access arrangements. Once approval has been given by the exam boards, a letter of confirmation will be sent to parents towards the end of the Autumn Term of Year 10 stating the access arrangements that have been permitted for their son/daughter.


Access arrangements include:

A Reader:  A reader is an adult who reads questions and text to the pupil. A human reader cannot be allowed in tests of reading.


A Computer Reader: Text-to-speech software that reads text aloud to the pupil such as ReadWrite Gold. The pupil will have an electronic copy of the exam paper to facilitate this access arrangement.  A recent JCQ change has meant that pupils can have a computer reader in tests of reading because they are seen to be working independently. (At Blossom House pupils are trained in the use of assistive technologies such as this from Year 7 onwards and occasionally earlier depending on pupil needs).

A Scribe: A scribe is an adult who writes down or uses a word processor for a pupil’s dictated answers to the questions. The adult cannot prompt or help structure the content of the pupil’s dictated answers. They may, at the pupil’s request, read back what has been recorded. Spelling and punctuation marks (a percentage of the overall marks of some exams) will not be given unless the pupil spells out words and/or dictates the punctuation marks. It is not normally appropriate for the pupil to dictate the spellings and would likely be counterproductive.


A Computer Scribe:  A computer may be used as a scribe with the spell check/predictive text on. Spelling and punctuation marks will be forfeited.


Voice recognition software:  Pupils dictate their answers into a computer which types it up for them. Spelling marks will be forfeited but the pupils may gain the punctuation marks if they dictate them to the computer.


A Word Processor: Effectively, a computer is used as a type writer (a computer without spell check or predictive text on).


A Language Modifier (LM) is a responsible and specially trained adult who may clarify the language of a question in the examination paper. The OLM may be able to simplify the question e.g. rephrasing it, breaking it up into shorter sentences, changing some words but must not explain the technical terms or tell the pupil how to answer the question. Only very low test scores  in reading comprehension or vocabulary enable a pupil to qualify for an OLM and diagnosis of language impairment will not in itself be sufficient in order to qualify (JCQ CIC rules and regulations 2019-2020).


A prompter is a responsible adult who may sit beside the pupil in order to keep his or her attention on the task in hand. The prompter cannot tell the pupil which question to do next.


A practical assistant: An adult can help a pupil perform certain practical tasks maths a pupil with cerebral palsy cannot hold down a ruler both ends and take a measurement- the practical assistant could hold the ruler steady one end while the pupil moves the other end and takes the measurement thus they are still performing the skill being tested independently and can gain the marks.


Extra time: 25 % is most common amount applied for. It is added onto the end of the exam or controlled assessment. Sometimes pupils may require and qualify for up to 50% extra time.

Supervised rest breaks: These aid concentration and relieve stress and are not deducted from the time given for the exam. Pupils must not talk about the exam during this time.

Points to note:

  • Access arrangements are different for individual pupils and are based on need, and are awarded after assessment of that individual’s need.

  • Access arrangements will be the pupil’s normal way of working.

  • The pupils will be made aware of their access arrangements, trained in using them and given lots of practice using them in advance of the exams.

  • The pupils will be familiar with the adults working with them in the exams.

  • All access arrangements are permitted for coursework, controlled assessments and examinations where permitted by the awarding bodies and subject specification, but there are some exceptions e.g. a pupil may not have a human reader or OLM in a paper testing reading.

Please note this document is only a brief overview of some of the most common access arrangements and it includes simplified definitions. It does not include all the associated rules and regulations outlined by the JCQ CIC. We always seek the best for our pupils in terms of access arrangements, however, we are bound by the rules and test score cut-off points set out by the JCQ CIC and the exam boards’ approval. Note that each academic year, these rules and regulations surrounding access arrangements are subject to change. This document has been based on the most up to date publication of the JCQ CIC:


Joint Council for Qualifications

Adjustments for pupils with disabilities and learning difficulties: Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments with Effect from September 2019 to 31st August 2020.

Blossom House School

Blossom Lower School & Upper House

Principal: Joanna Burgess Dip.C.S.T, MPCSLT, Dip.R.S.A SpLD. PGCE
bottom of page