Access arrangements for exams: an overview

Understand how access arrangements work and when you need to apply. Know how you will be involved in effectively supporting pupils and make sure you comply with JCQ requirements.

Last reviewed on 13 September 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 9083
  1. Deadlines for summer 2024 exams
  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 summer 2024 exams

Apply for access arrangements for: 

  • Modified papers by 31 January 2024 
  • All other access arrangements by 21 March 2024

See our summer 2024 exam arrangements article for a complete list of deadlines.

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 2023/24, 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