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what are AA?

(access arrangements)

Access Arrangements (AA) refer to allowances made for individuals with specific needs during the process of taking exams or assessments. These arrangements aim to provide a fair and equitable testing environment for students with disabilities, learning difficulties, temporary injuries or other special requirements.

Common examination access arrangements include extra time, the use of assistive technologies or tools, a separate room for individualised testing (where available), enlarged or modified exam materials, scribes or readers, and rest breaks.

These arrangements are put in place to ensure that individuals have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without being disadvantaged by their specific circumstances. The goal is to create a level playing field, promote inclusive assessment practices and therefore complying with the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

What do arc exams charge for Access Arrangements?

Any candidate booking exams with us will receive Access Arrangement support/services free at the point of delivery, subject to available resources and timely submission of application.

Please note that we have limited resources at our centre for specific AA requirements.  We are currently unable to accommodate requests for single rooms and/or reader/scribes. However we are able to cater for the most commonly requested Access Arrangements, namely; ‘Extra Time’, ‘use of a word processor’, rest breaks and modified exam papers.

Do I qualify?

The provision of Access Arrangements available to candidates and the evidence required to support an AA application is strictly governed by:

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

For A Level GCSE and Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) is a membership organisation comprising the eight largest providers of qualifications in the UK, including all Awarding Bodies delivering GCE/GCSE qualifications in the United Kingdom. Its chief aim is to reduce bureaucracy for schools and colleges by facilitating and delivering common administrative arrangements for examinations.

Cambridge Assessment International Education

For Cambridge International A Level, IGCSEs and O Levels

Cambridge International are an independent awarding body outside of the UK awarding body regulations and as such have their own AA policies and regulations pertaining to qualifications offered by them. Whilst they are broadly like JCQ AA regulations there are some crucial differences.

If you believe you qualify for Access Arrangement requirements, you will need to specify the need for them in the relevant section on our online application form when making your examination entry and be prepared to supply supporting documentary evidence when requested to do so. Once evidence gathering has been completed and payment for any examination entry has been made in full, we will apply for AAs to the Awarding Organisation(s) concerned and will communicate the outcome to you. Please note however that the final decision on granting Access Arrangements lies solely with individual Awarding Organisations and must be agreed/confirmed prior to examinations taking place. If you are unsure of any aspect regarding Access Arrangements our SEN specialist will be pleased to discuss what evidence will be required to submit your application and complete the necessary paperwork. Please feel free to book appointment here.

What evidence might I need?

JCQ/Cambridge International Access Arrangement regulations require all examination centres to hold a file containing evidence showing a candidate would be at a disadvantage without additional provision. Therefore, we need to collate a body of evidence that unequivocally demonstrates this.

The list of AA evidence deemed acceptable by Awarding Organisations is detailed below, some of which you should already hold or will need to acquire. We can assist you in obtaining more evidence if our SEN specialist deems this to be necessary. This will ultimately be dictated by the specific needs of the learner/candidate.

Please ensure all documents supplied are originals only, copies will not be accepted.

  • Previous Form 8 from school or college
  • A current EHCP (Educational Health and Care Plan)
  • Any supporting reports/documentation from your educators
  • Samples of writing (completed in centre)
  • Mock exam paper (conducted in centre)
  • An IEP (Individual Education Plan) or equivalent stating the need of support
  • A letter from a professional showing evidence of a disability

Deadline dates

All Awarding Organisations impose strict deadlines for receipt of Access Arrangement applications and supporting evidence from examination centres. Arc Exams too sets its own definitive AA entry deadlines, presented in the table below and the date by which all evidence is required by us, thereby allowing sufficient time to process applications and address any specific issues that could jeopardise the application, prior to submission to the Awarding Organisation.

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