Access arrangements for exams: an overview

Get your head around access arrangements: how they work and when you need to apply for them. Understand how you might be involved, so you can effectively support pupils during their exams and make sure you comply with JCQ requirements.

updated on 5 June 2023
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 9083
  1. Deadlines for the summer 2023 exam series 
  2. What are access arrangements?
  3. Who's eligible?
  4. What must SENCOs do?
  5. Who needs to read the guidance?
  6. What arrangements are available and how can we use them?
  7. Grades through assessment evidence in 'rare and exceptional circumstances'

Deadlines for the summer 2023 exam series 

Apply for access arrangements for: 

  • Modified papers by 31 January 2023 
  • All other access arrangements by 21 March 2023

What are access arrangements?

Access arrangements allow pupils with specific needs, such as special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries, to take part in assessments without changing the demands of the assessment.

This is set out on page 7 of the guidance on access arrangements and reasonable adjustments for 2022/23, published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

The SENCO must lead on these arrangements 

You'll have support from senior leaders and teachers – see more on this below.

Must reflect the pupil's normal way of working (except in the case of temporary injury/impairment) Must be considered on a subject-by-subject basis – pupils may not need the same arrangements in each one Must not unfairly advantage or disadvantage the pupil – they should meet the pupil’s