The process for applying for Access Arrangements can be thought of as in this timeline. It is possible that this entire process could take about a year:
- Teachers (parents, in this case, and any other tutors etc that the child comes into contact with during the course of their home education experience) find that they have to regularly adapt the way the child learns. For example, they allow more time than the task could normally be expected to take. The child may need someone to write his ideas for him because he is, despite appropriate instruction, unable to write legibly. The parent may suspect a significant learning difficulty or medical condition of some kind.
- This ‘history of need’ prompts the parents to seek an assessment for exam access arrangements. If there is no ‘history of need’, the exam centre is unlikely to be able to justify the application for AAs and so may decide not even to assess. Evidence of this ‘history of need’ needs to be supplied to the exam centre. Evidence of a medical diagnosis, if there is one, preferably at consultant level, will be helpful at this point.
- The Assessment for AAs must be conducted by a Specialist Assessor who is appointed by the exam centre, who works with them regularly and is known by them. The centre is not obliged to accept any assessment conducted by anyone with whom they do not work. The assessment must not be conducted before the child is in Year 9, or it will not be accepted.
- If the assessment finds that the child has a long term disability with a ‘substantial adverse effect’, the Specialist Assessor may recommend specific AAs such as 25% extra time or a reader. If the centre is able to provide the candidate with these, they will then be applied for by the centre’s SENCO.
- The application for the recommended AAs is made to the awarding body (exam board).
- If these are approved, the exam centre informs the candidate.
- Evidence of the history of need (including observations from any tutors), the report on the assessment by the Specialist Assessor, the approved application for AAs, a candidate’s signed Data Protection Notice are all kept on file at the centre for inspection by JCQ.