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Exam access arrangements

Photo: Reasonable adjustments can help deaf students access tests, assessments and exams fairly

Are you worried your deaf child might find it difficult to access their exams and assessments?

Schools, colleges, universities and awarding bodies are legally required to make access arrangements and reasonable adjustments to help deaf students access tests, assessments and exams fairly.

Examples of access arrangements for deaf children include giving them extra time, readers, scribes or British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

Access arrangements are not automatically permitted by exam boards – a school or college will need to show that they were part of a ‘normal way of working’ for a student. If you think your child will need access arrangements you should discuss this with their special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) or Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) well in advance of any exams or assessments.

If your child has a statement of special educational needs (SEN) access arrangements should be discussed at their annual review before the start of courses in which your child will be examined.

The Joint Council for Qualifications has detailed information and official guidance on exam access arrangements and reasonable adjustments, and you can also find deaf-specific information in Access Arrangements for Your Child's Examinations.

Note: A new system for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales is being implemented from 1st September 2021. In time, all current support plans (including Statements, IEPs and LSPs) will be replaced with Individual Development Plans (IDPs).

Find out more about the changes in Wales on our page Additional learning needs (ALN) in Wales. We will update the website with more information on the new system in Wales shortly, in the meantime see Written Statement: Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act 2018 Implementation.