SEN and Special Consideration
Eligible students may apply for Access Arrangements or Special Consideration. These procedures are outlined below:
Access Arrangements are non-standard arrangements approved before the examinations take place to enable candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access assessments. The Equality Act 2010 requires awarding bodies to make reasonable adjustments where a candidate would be at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled.
Concessions may include an extra time allowance, rest breaks, a prompter, specially prepared papers (owing perhaps to visual impairment), a word processor or an amanuensis (scribe). Applications for Access Arrangements must be supported by compelling evidence of need together with a proven history of such arrangements being a candidate's normal way of working.
The examination boards will not consider applications in respect of long-term conditions that are submitted only weeks before the exams. It is essential therefore, that we are informed of existing circumstances that might justify Access Arrangements as soon as possible, preferably on joining the school, but no later than the Spring Term of the 3rd Year. Arrangements can then be made to accommodate the particular needs of pupils in internal exams and the mock GCSE exams. This will allow us to test the effectiveness of such arrangements, and will provide grounds for their implementation at GCSE.
Extra time for learning difficulties
A student must have an assessment carried out, preferably from Year 9 onwards [the earliest being Year 7], by a specialist assessor confirming a learning difficulty relating to secondary education.
Assessors, such as Educational Psychologists, must have a current, established relationship with Trinity School. A list of assessors known to the school can be obtained from Mrs McDonald, Head of Learning Support; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a different assessor in mind, you must contact the school before booking an appointment to seek approval.
In order to maintain the credibility of GCSE and GCE qualifications, the JCQ [Joint Council for Qualifications] has recently defined the parameters as to what constitutes a ‘substantial disadvantage’. To this end they have defined eligibility for up to 25% extra time as follows.
The special assessor’s report must confirm that the student has:
At least one ‘below average’ standardised score of 84 or less relating to speed of processing which has a substantial adverse effect on speed of working.
In exceptional cases, up to 25% extra time may be awarded to students where the assessment confirms that the candidate has at least two ‘low average’ standardised scores between 85 and 89 relating to processing speed.
In very rare and exceptional cases, students with a cluster of scores within the ‘average’ range of 90 to 94 may be considered if the awarding body deems there is sufficient compelling evidence for eligibility.
In all cases, supplementary compelling evidence will be required for inspection by the awarding bodies.
A recommendation from an Educational Psychologist alone does not guarantee eligibility for extra time. In the past, a large disparity between Verbal and Performance IQ could be used as an indicator for eligibility for extra time. This is no longer the case. Students must meet the above criteria before applications can be made to the awarding bodies.
Furthermore, the JCQ has also advised that where a student has been awarded extra time for his or her GCSEs, there is not an automatic right for eligibility to continue to GCE. New applications for GCE examinations must be made to the awarding bodies and standardised scores must meet the above criteria in order to be approved. This will mean that some students who were awarded extra time in the Fifth Year may not now qualify for extra time in the Lower Sixth.
It is not normally appropriate to grant more than 25% extra time in examinations. In exceptional cases, the awarding bodies may allow additional time where speed of processing is substantially below average i.e. a score of 69 or less may be considered, or where a candidate has multi-sensory impairment that substantially hinders speed of processing. In such circumstances, an up to date assessment will be required immediately before GCSE examinations and GCE examinations.
Post 16 assessment
Where students have been granted extra time, we recommend they have a post age 16 assessment carried out towards the end of the L6. Universities will ask for a post 16 assessment and it is useful to have this in place by the time students start their application process via UCAS.
Extra time for medical reasons
A student may be eligible for extra time for a medical condition, physical disability, psychological condition or sensory impairment which has a substantial adverse effect on speed of processing. Applications may be made where appropriate, current and compelling medical evidence is available.
Where certain criteria are met, bi-lingual translation dictionaries may be used in examinations by candidates whose first language is not English. This concession will only apply to certain examinations and will be subject to evidence of need. Where a candidate has been in the UK less than two years at the time of his exams and where he has not been educated at an English-speaking school, up to 25% extra time may be awarded where a bi-lingual dictionary is used [word for word translation only]. Applications must be made to the Examinations Officer.
Use of a Word Processor
Where candidates have specific problems with handwriting due to dyslexia, dysgraphia or a similar condition as identified and confirmed by an educational psychologist, specialist teacher or medical practitioner, they may apply to use a word processor in examinations providing it is the candidate's normal way of working and it reflects their specific needs.
In the event that your son or daughter is ill or has an injury at the time of their examinations, it may be possible to apply for emergency access arrangements.
Please contact the Examinations Officer directly if you wish to seek clarification of the examination boards' requirements or to discuss individual circumstances.
Special Consideration may be given following an examination in respect of an illness, accident or bereavement ‘to ensure that candidates who suffer temporary illness, injury or indisposition at the time of the examination are given some compensation for their difficulties'. Applications must be made to the Examinations Officer immediately following the examination paper(s) affected, so prompt action in the production of supporting documentation (usually a doctor's letter) is necessary. The student and/or his or her parents must initiate the process and provide medical evidence within two working days of the examination/s affected.