It is anticipated that the regulator will be increasingly strict in enforcing proof for access arrangements and this could have a particular impact on private candidates.
Some parents have spent over £500 on a long report from educational psychologists, only for us to find that it lacked critical information and we have had to write endless letters to get this sorted.
Faregos Exam Centre, Hampshire is run by home educators and is based in a community centre near Fareham PO14 4AB (junction 9, M27)
This is a message from the centre about access arrangements:
“A significant proportion of home educated students need “access arrangements” for exams. This is when students sitting a public exam are granted extra time or a reader or some other concession, based on a report of their special educational needs/specific learning difficulties/ disability.
The aim isn’t to make it easier for these students, but to give them a “level playing field” with other candidates.
So from September – anyone who is intending to sit an exam with us, and who has not already been granted access arrangements with us this year will need to use our assessor.
There will be a pre-screening day in September because we don’t want parents to commit to pay the full assessment fee if there is no hope of them getting any extra help. We will charge £15 for this.
We have made arrangements with a suitably qualified local teacher who is employed by schools to do their access arrangements and she will come to the centre on 2 days (one in October and again in early February) to carry out the assessments and write the “form 8″ which we need.
The cost per child for the report will be £100 which includes the £15 for the pre-screening.
One word of warning – although many home educated students spread exams over a number of years, the access arrangements may be time limited – the general rule is that if they are done before year 9, they may ” expire” in 26 months; so if you do that you may end up paying twice.”
Please note that you need a very specific type of proof for exams, not just for example a report saying your child has dyslexia.
The centre must paint a picture of need to JCQ or to the awarding body. A picture of need is established in one of the following ways:
- Statement of special educational needs AND normal way of working within the centre (extra time of up to 25% only)
- Report from a specialist assessor AND normal way of working within the centre
- Medical or psychological condition AND normal way of working within the centre
Where a candidate has a medical or a psychological condition, a picture of need is STILL required. See JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments.
NB For GCSE and GCE qualifications it is the JCQ Centre Inspection Service, rather than an awarding body, which will expect to see evidence on file. The evidence must match the published criteria.
JCQ says: The simplest way forward for external candidates would be for the centre to conduct its own screening test as part of the interview process. This will be in addition to a statement of special educational needs or a report from a specialist assessor.”