Access Arrangements and the Exam Officer

Access Arrangements and the Exam Officer

So, what are access arrangements?

Access Arrangements are pre-examination adjustments, based on the normal way of working and evidence of need.

Access Arrangements allow candidates/learners with special education needs, disabilities, or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the demands of the assessment.

It is a requirement of the Equality Act 2010 for the awarding bodies to make a reasonable adjustment where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage in undertaking an assessment.

For example, reader, scribe, and modified papers are some of the types of access arrangements available, although a reasonable adjustment may be unique to that individual.

Whose responsibility are access arrangements?

One question our centre support team get asked frequently by exam officers is about access arrangements and whose responsibility they are.

It is like asking how long a piece of string is,,,,,

Access arrangements have always been and remain quite a contentious area. Whilst the Joint Council of Qualifications (JCQ) put the onus on the senior leaders and the SENCo (or equivalent in further education), exam officers do have a vital role to play. It is about teamwork!

For exam officers in further education, they are also dealing with a multitude of awarding bodies. These do not all come under the JCQ remit and can need different applications and indeed evidence. A student taking exams across several awarding bodies, which is common within further education, may need more than one application and there may be requirements for different paperwork to support that application.

It is vital that there is a link role and communication between the learning support team/SENCo and exams officer/team regarding access arrangements. This will ensure that no students are left without the support and assistance they require and are entitled to.

How can exam officers ensure they know their role within the exam access arrangements process?

New to role exam officer training and that for experienced exam officers may not go into depth regarding access arrangements.

That is why we launched our access arrangement e-tool kit.

Our access arrangement e-tool kit is designed for exam officers, to gain more understanding and knowledge of their role within the access arrangement process. It will also ensure they are kept up to date with the regulations, to ensure the planning of a successful exam and assessment process.

The e-took kit is a full online course, designed for delegates to done at their own pace. The course contains useful templates, reading materials, best practice examples and further reflection actions to work on.

At the end of the course delegates are provided with a certificate of achievement, which can be used for CPD purposes and as evidence to the JCQ of ongoing training and support.

Staff within exams and learning support departments work with what can seem a challenging and somewhat complex system, but the resilience and dedication of staff that work within education raises to those challenges.

The support and service exam officers give is vital, forever believing the importance of providing the right exam experience to the student.

So, that is why staff up and down in the country in the education sector work tirelessly to support students and help them achieve their potential – that is the normal way of working!


For more information on access arrangements can be found in the JCQ Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustment publication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment