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Access Arrangements Policy

Access Arrangements Policy

Policy details

  • Centre Name - Connell Co-op College
  • Centre Number - 32299
  • Date created - 05/09/2023
  • Policy owner - Emma Soper

Key staff involved in the policy

  • Head of Centre - Emma Soper
  • Senior leaders - Stuart Callaghan Abi Mills White
  • Exams officer - Julie Howarth
  • ALS lead/SENCo - Rhian Brady

This policy is reviewed and updated annually to ensure that access arrangements process at [913] is managed in accordance with current requirements and regulations.

References in this policy to GR, ICE and AA refer to the JCQ publications General Regulations for Approved Centres, Instructions for conducting examinations and Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments.

References to legislation are to the Equality Act 2010. Separate legislation is in place for Northern Ireland (see AA 1.8). The definitions and procedures in AA relating to access arrangements and reasonable adjustments will also apply in Northern Ireland.


(AA Definitions)

Access arrangements

Access arrangements are agreed before an assessment. They allow candidates with specific needs, such as special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment and show what they know and can do without changing the demands of the assessment. The intention behind an access arrangement is to meet the particular needs of an individual candidate without affecting the integrity of the assessment. Access arrangements are the principal way in which awarding bodies comply with the duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

Reasonable adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 requires an awarding body to make reasonable adjustments where a candidate, who is disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. The awarding body is required to take reasonable steps to overcome that disadvantage. An example would be a Braille paper which would be a reasonable adjustment for a vision impaired candidate who could read Braille. A reasonable adjustment may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the list of available access arrangements. Whether an adjustment will be considered reasonable will depend on several factors which will include, but are not limited to:

  • The needs of the disabled candidate
  • The effectiveness of the adjustment
  • The cost of the adjustment
  • The likely impact of the adjustment upon the candidate and other candidates

An adjustment will not be approved if it:

  • Involves unreasonable costs to the awarding body
  • Involves unreasonable timeframes
  • Affects the security and integrity of the assessment

This is because the adjustment is not ‘reasonable’.

Purpose of the policy

The purpose of this policy is to confirm that Connell Co-op College has a written record which clearly shows the centre is leading on the access arrangements process and:

  • is complying with its obligation to identify the need for, request and implement access arrangements (GR 5.4)
  • has a written process in place to not only check the qualification(s) of its assessor(s) but that the correct procedures are followed as per Chapter 7 of the JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments (GR 5.4)

1. General principles

The principles for Connell Co-op College to consider include:

  • The purpose of an access arrangement/reasonable adjustment is to ensure, where possible, that barriers to assessment are removed for a disabled candidate preventing him/her from being placed at a substantial disadvantage due to persistent and significant difficulties. The integrity of the assessment is maintained, whilst at the same time providing access to assessments for a disabled candidate (AA 4.2)
  • Modified papers must be ordered in advance of a specific examination series, no later than the published deadline for the series concerned (AA 6.1)
  • Although access arrangements are intended to allow access to assessments, they cannot be granted where they will compromise the assessment objectives of the specification in question (AA 4.2)
  • Candidates may not require the same access arrangements/reasonable adjustments in each specification. Subjects and their methods of assessments may vary, leading to different demands of the candidate. The need for access arrangements/reasonable adjustments must be considered on a subject-by-subject basis (AA 4.2)
  • Access arrangements/reasonable adjustments should be processed at the start of the course (AA 4.2)
  • Arrangements must always be approved before an examination or assessment (AA 4.2)
  • The arrangement(s) put in place must reflect the support given to the candidate in the centre (AA 4.2)
  • The candidate must have had appropriate opportunities to practise using the access arrangement(s)/reasonable adjustments before their first examination (AA 4.2)

The main elements of the process detailing staff roles and responsibilities in identifying the need for, requesting and implementing access arrangements/reasonable adjustments and the conduct of examinations are covered in Special Educational needs and disability (SEND) Policy.

2. The assessment process

At Connell Co-op College, assessments are carried out by:  

  • an appropriately qualified assessor(s) appointed by the head of centre in accordance with the JCQ requirements (AA 7.3)

Details and qualification(s) of the current assessor(s) 

  • Wendy Paris SpLD Assessment Post Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia) FE and HE, CERT (MA), CCET (Real Training) AMBDA

Appointment of assessors of candidates with learning difficulties

At the point an assessor is engaged/employed at Connell Co-op College:

  • Evidence of the assessor’s qualification is obtained and checked against the current requirements (AA 7.3)
  • This process is carried out prior to the assessor undertaking any assessment of a candidate (AA 7.3)
  • A photocopy of the assessor's certificate(s) (or a printout of screenshot of HCPC or SASC registration, or screenshot of other relevant qualification listing) is kept on file (AA 7.3, 7.4)  

Additional information: Reporting the appointment of the assessor(s).

  • Evidence that the assessor(s) is/are suitably qualified is held on file for inspection purposes (AA 7.4)

When requested, the evidence will be presented to the JCQ Centre Inspector by Julie Howarth, Exams Manager.

  • In the case of appropriately qualified psychologists (registered with the Health & Care Professions Council), or specialist assessors holding a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate, who are directly employed within the centre, there is no need to record the names of these individuals within access arrangements online. (AA 7.4)
  • The names of all other assessors, who are assessing candidates studying qualifications as covered by AA must be entered into Access arrangements online to confirm their status (AA 7.4)

Process for the assessment of a candidate's learning difficulties by an assessor 

Connell Co-op College confirms:

  • Guidelines for the assessment of the candidate’s learning difficulties by an assessor will be followed and Form 8 (JCQ/AA/LD - Profile of Learning Difficulties) will be completed (AA 7.5, 7.6)
  • Arrangements must be made for the candidate to be assessed by the centre's appointed assessor (AA 7.5)
  • Assessors must personally conduct the assessments. They must not sign off assessments carried out by another professional (AA 7.5)
  • The assessor must carry out tests which are relevant to support the application (AA 7.5)
  • A privately commissioned assessment carried out without prior consultation with the centre cannot be used to award access arrangements (AA 7.3)
  • Relevant staff working within the centre should always carefully consider any privately commissioned assessment to see whether the process of gathering a picture of need, demonstrating normal way of working within the centre and ultimately assessing the candidate themselves should be instigated (AA 7.3)

Additional information: Picture of need/normal way of working

Connell Co-op College confirms:

  • Before the candidate’s assessment, the person appointed in the centre must provide the assessor with background information, i.e. a picture of need has been painted as required in Part 1 of Form 8. The centre and the assessor must work together to ensure a joined-up and consistent process. (AA 7.5)

Additional information: Not applicable

3. Processing access arrangements and adjustmentsArrangements/adjustments requiring awarding body approval

Access arrangements online (AAO) is used to apply for approval of arrangements/adjustments for the qualifications listed within the JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments.

AAO is accessed through the JCQ Centre Admin Portal (CAP) by logging in to one of the awarding body secure extranet sites. A single application for approval is required for each candidate regardless of the awarding body used. Deadlines apply for each examination series for submitting applications for approval using AAO.

Centre delegated arrangements/adjustments 

Decisions relating to the approval of centre delegated arrangements/adjustments are made by Rhian Brady SENCO. Appropriate evidence, where required by the arrangement, is held on file by Julie Howarth Exams Manager.

  • The use of a word processor - The Word Processor Policy details the criteria Connell Co-op College specifically uses to award and allocate word processors for examinations and assessments.
  • Alternative rooming arrangements - The Separate Invigilation Policy details the criteria Connell Co-op College uses to award alternative rooming arrangements, e.g. a room for a smaller group of candidates with similar needs (formerly known as separate invigilation).

Additional information: Not applicable

Modified papers 

Modified papers are ordered using AAO.

  • Modified papers must be ordered in advance of a specific examination series, no later than the published deadline for the series concerned (AA 6.1)
  • Modified papers are individually prepared for candidates for whom other adjustments are unsuitable. The modification of papers involves additional resources. Therefore centres are required to provide the awarding bodies with early notification that a candidate will require a modified paper. (AA 6.1)
  • Modified papers must not be ordered for candidates unless the centre intends to enter them for the relevant examination series (AA 6.1)
  • For the adjustment to be effective, the candidate must have had appropriate opportunities to practise using an awarding body’s past modified papers before his/her first examination (AA 6.1)

Roles and responsibilities

When an access arrangement/reasonable adjustment has been processed on-line and approved, the evidence of need (where required) must be made available to a JCQ Centre Inspector upon request. An awarding body may also request evidence of need when considered necessary. This can either be in hard copy paper format or electronically. (AA 4.2)

Where documentation is stored electronically an e-folder for each individual candidate must be created. The candidate’s e-folder must hold each of the required documents for inspection. (AA 4.2)

It is the responsibility of:

  • Julie Howarth Exams Manager/Access Arrangements Co-ordinator to collect a candidate's consent (a completed candidate Personal data consent form) to record their personal data on-line through AAO
  • Julie Howarth Exams Manager/Access Arrangements Co-ordinator to complete the Data protection confirmation by the examinations officer or SENCo, prior to the processing of the online application
  • Julie Howarth Exams Manager/Access Arrangements Co-ordinator to submit applications for approval using AAO
  • Julie Howarth Exams manager/Access Arrangements Co-ordinator to keep detailed records for inspection purposes, whether electronically or in hard copy paper format, of all the essential information on file. This includes a signed candidate personal data consent form; a completed Data protection confirmation by the examinations officer or SENCo form; a copy of the candidate’s approved application; appropriate evidence of need (where required); evidence of the assessor’s qualification (where required) (AA 8.6)
  • Julie Howarth Exams Manager/Access Arrangements Co-ordinator to submit applications for approval directly to an awarding body for any qualification that does not fall within the scope of AAO
  • Julie Howarth Exams Manager/Access Arrangements Co-ordinator to order modified papers

Additional responsibilities: Not applicable