Access arrangements allow candidates/learners to show what they know and do without changing the integrity or the demands of the assessment, for example by using a reader or scribe. Access arrangements are approved before an examination or assessment and they allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment.

Special needs could include:

  • candidates with known and long-standing learning difficulties
  • candidates with physical disabilities, permanent or temporary
  • candidates with sensory impairment
  • candidates whose first language is not English, Irish or Welsh
  • candidates who have difficulties at, or near, the time of assessment that may have affected their performance in the assessment.

Most candidates who come to us with AA requests usually have a statement from the school they studied at which has a 2/3 year expiry date. However for those who do not have this an initial meeting is booked to discuss your needs will be arranged. Our SEN Specialist will discuss with you what is required to apply and to complete the necessary paperwork. There is a charge for the access arrangements process of £25, this includes the meeting and compiling the evidence and paperwork including the application. Additional fees may be applied if further evidence is needed.

Evidence & Regulations

The regulations for access arrangements require us to have evidence that the candidate would be at a disadvantage without assistance. Learners will firstly need a selection of proof. We have provided a list of board accepted evidence below. Learners do not need to supply everything on the list, just the items you already have. All documents supplied must be original.

  • Previous Form 8 from school or college which includes assessment scores from a specialist assessor.
  • Any reports from school, college or private tutors that contains reference to the need of support within learning or tests.
  • Mock exam papers. Mock papers may need to be completed within the centre under exam conditions.
  • An IEP or equivalent stating the need and use of support during learning.
  • An Educational Health and Care Plan relating to a learning disability or issue.
  • A letter from a professional showing evidence of a disability or other issues that would affect the candidate during an examination. Professional letters that are accepted as evidence are ones from consultants, SENCos, educational psychologists, CAMHs, LA, occupational health and specialised therapist. A letter from a GP is not acceptable.

Learners that are unable to supply us with a selection of evidence, or if the evidence they have is not sufficient, we will discuss possible alternatives that can be facilitated. These include centre access arrangements such as laptop, supervised rest breaks and prompts, specialist assessments and mock exams. Evidence of “normal way of working” will still be required. There may be an additional charge which will be discussed further at the initial meeting.

Learners under the age of an equivalent Year 9 school child; there may be a possibility that Access Arrangements will not be granted. This is dependent on the Exam Board decision and specific conditions relating to your child. Obtaining reports and testing does NOT guarantee Access Arrangements will be granted. Applications, evidence and documentation is provided to the Exam Boards and the final decision is theirs.

Upon completion of the evidence gathering, our SEN Specialist will apply to the awarding body for the access arrangements required. The outcome of the application will be communicated to the learners as soon as it is completed.


Please be aware that the deadline for applying for Access Arrangements are:

Exam SeriesExam BoardAA Deadline Date
SummerCIE23rd January
SummerEdexcel | AQA | OCR14th February
NovemberCIE23rd June
JanuaryEdexcel23rd November


JCQ Regulations
Cambridge International Regulations
AQA Regulations
Edexcel Regulations