AA Arrangements - How to access a Reader or Scribe for your child's exams. 

A child does not need to have an EHCP or SEN support to have access arrangements for their exam. Also, having an EHCP or a specific learning disability does not automatically qualify you for access arrangements either.

What are Access Arrangements?

Access Arrangements fall into two categories; Reasonable adjustments and special considerations. Reasonable adjustments are considered when a disabled learner is at a substantial disadvantage to others when taking an examination or assessment. This judgement is made prior to the exam. Whereas, a special consideration is if the learner is temporarily affected by illness, injury or another indisposition and will therefore be unable to complete an assessment to their ‘normal’ capability. This judgement is made post-exam.

How and who qualifies for Access Arrangements?

To qualify for a special arrangement your child will have to complete an access arrangement assessment that must be carried out by a qualified specialist assessor.

This must be done prior to any arranged examinations as the process of referral and assessment can take some time.

The assessments are a series of timed worksheets and activities, each one testing speed, comprehension, reading and attention. Evidence will also be gathered from the child’s teachers in form of handwritten pieces of work and past exams.

Types of AAs

There are several different types of access arrangements that your child can qualify for. Some are explained below.

Reader - The child will have a designated adult to read the text to them. Often, the examination will be sat in a different room from the candidates that do not have AAs, so as not to disturb them or give them any kind of advantage. There may be some chunks of text that the adult cannot read aloud such as in an English language exam where the standard of reading is being assessed. Numbers and symbols will not be read to the child.

Scribe - The child will have a designated person to write for them. The child must articulate their answers and the adult will write exactly what is recited to them. The child must instruct the scribe regarding punctuation and page layout.

Extra time - 25% extra time will be added onto the end of the exam.

Prompt - an agreed action that prompts the child to move on to the next question or alerts them about timings.

Transcribe - The child’s exam answer sheet is re-written by an adult post exam under controlled circumstances.

Supervised rest breaks - Allows the child to be accompanied out of the exam room when necessary. All rest breaks are timed and the total time absent will be recorded.

Colour or enlargements - If the child normally uses an overlay in school, then they will be allowed to use it during their exams or have the exam printed on coloured paper. Larger font and print layout.  

Word processor - The child will be given a laptop to answer their questions. All programmes and systems will be switched off the word processor. The document will be printed off immediately after the exam. Students will normally be sat at the side of the exam hall where there is a plug.

Braille - Braille transcript

Communication professional - for sign language, hearing or other communicative impairments.


*An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs, timeframes or affects the security or integrity of the assessment*

My child has AAs, what will happen?

Often, candidates with AAs will sit their exams away from the main hall and usually with other students that also have AAs. The exam room will still adhere to normal examination rules and have invigilators as well as readers and scribes.

The access arrangements should be used in every exam whether that be internal or external, formal or informal. All assessments should be carried out with the agreed arrangement to ensure that it is the student's normal way of working. This ensures that the child is getting the assistance that they require, and also allows them the opportunity to practice using their arrangement so it doesn't become a disadvantage during the exam.


How can EdPlace help?

EdPlace has a range of different accessibility features that can assist the learning of children that require access arrangements. The recite option reads aloud all of the text and the overlay tab allows you to create a bespoke palette using your prefered font and background colours.

There are many different ways that you can customise your screen to ensure that all of the differentiated maths, English and science content and interactive activities are accessible for all.

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