The Essence of Examination Access Arrangements (EAA)
- Levelling the Playing Field
For SEND students, standard examination settings may not reflect their true capabilities. EAA ensures they can showcase their knowledge without unnecessary barriers.
- Legal Imperative
Under the Equality Act 2010, schools and colleges must ensure SEND students aren’t disadvantaged. Properly implemented EAA adheres to this mandate.
Types of Access Arrangements
- Extra Time
Some students might need an extension, typically 25%, to complete their exams due to specific needs.
- Scribes and Readers
Assistants who can write down answers or read out questions can be invaluable for students with particular disabilities.
- Modified Papers
For students with visual or hearing impairments, customised papers, whether enlarged, in Braille, or coloured, can be provided.
- Rest Breaks
Scheduled breaks can be beneficial for students with medical conditions or concentration issues.
- Use of Technology
Assistive tech, like computers or voice-to-text software, can be instrumental for some SEND students.
Timelines for Examination Access Arrangements
While specific deadlines might vary between examining bodies, the general rule of thumb is:
- Initial Planning: Begin discussions and planning in Year 9.
- Formal Applications: For GCSE and A-Level students, applications are typically submitted by the end of February in the year of the examination.
- Evidence Gathering: Throughout the course, gather evidence of the student’s need for the specific arrangements. This evidence might include work samples, teacher observations, or specialist assessments.
- Review and Adjust: Even after submission, keep an open channel with the examination board. If there are any sudden changes or emergencies, they should be communicated promptly.
SENCO’s Vital Role in EAA
- Identification and Assessment
SENCOs should proactively identify students who might require EAA, conducting or organising necessary assessments.
Keep parents, students, and teaching staff informed about potential arrangements and the process.
- Application and Documentation
Ensure all documentation is correctly submitted within the stipulated timeframe.
On the exam day, ensure all arrangements are in place, whether it’s the required technology or the right human support.
As we near the finish line of our marathon exploration, remember, dear SENCOs: While the race is long, and the terrain might sometimes seem uneven, with the right arrangements in place, every student can reach their potential. Until our next rendezvous, may your examination preparations be as smooth as a freshly paved track!