The JCQ and its member awarding bodies offering GCE and GCSE qualifications fully understand the challenges centres face, in particular colleges, when dealing with the administration of access arrangements and reasonable adjustments where a candidate has moved centres post 16. This is especially so for those candidates re-sitting GCSE English Language and/or Mathematics qualifications. The college will often have limited knowledge of the candidate’s needs and little time to gather appropriate evidence before GCSE re-sits.

Robustness and fairness are essential requirements in maintaining the integrity of the process. Only those candidates who meet the published criteria, with the required evidence in place, must be awarded the arrangement(s).

Reducing bureaucracy and burden

A key aim of the JCQ and its awarding body members is to reduce the administrative burden on schools and colleges. Over the past eleven years we have taken significant steps to reduce bureaucracy and burden.

Principally:

  • by delegating seventeen access arrangements/reasonable adjustments to centres. Such arrangements do not require an online application or, in most cases, any evidence of need. The SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, is empowered at a local level to determine the appropriateness and reasonableness of the arrangement;
  • by introducing Access arrangements online the process of applying for access arrangements/reasonable adjustments has been streamlined. Around 90% of applications are automatically approved by the online system where the candidate meets the published criteria for the arrangement(s);
  • where a candidate has a confirmed learning difficulty, with a fully completed Form 8 in place, and will continue to require 25% extra time and/or a scribe, the Form 8 may be rolled forward from one centre to another.

What checks need to be made when a Form 8 is received from another centre?

Where, for example, a college receives a fully completed Form 8 from a school, the following checks must be made by the Additional Needs/Learning Support Team:

Has Part 1 of Form 8 been completed? Is there sufficient information within Part 1 showing the candidate’s picture of need and normal way of working?

  • Has Part 2 of Form 8 been completed?
  • Has Part 3 of Form 8 been completed?
  • Are the tests recorded within Part 2 of Form 8 current, age appropriate and nationally standardised?
  • Was the candidate assessed no earlier than the start of Year 9?
  • Has Part 2 of Form 8 been signed and dated by the assessor?
  • Has evidence been provided that the assessor holds, as a minimum, a post-graduate qualification in individual specialist assessment at or equivalent to Level 7?
  • Has Part 3 of Form 8 been signed and dated by the SENCo? The above checks would similarly apply where a candidate transfers to a different school at the start of Year 12.

Should a pro-forma be produced by the SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, to show that Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Form 8 have been checked?

The SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, may produce a simple pro-forma which shows that Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Form 8 have been checked and the form is in order. However, a thorough visual check of Form 8 is perfectly acceptable.

What is the process for GCSE re-sits?

With the changes to the published criteria for 25% extra time from 1 September 2021, it is important that candidates with a previously approved online application for 25% extra time are not disadvantaged should they wish to improve upon a previously awarded GCSE result during the 2021/22 academic year.

Where a candidate wishes to be entered for GCSE examinations in the Autumn 2021 or June 2022 examination series to improve upon a previous grade, the SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, may roll forward the existing evidence, including Form 8. The candidate may continue to be awarded 25% extra time based on the previous criteria of at least one below average standardised score of 84 or less.

If the SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, is satisfied that the need for the arrangement still exists, then the candidate does not have to be re-assessed. Form 8 may roll forward to support a new online application for 25% extra time and/or a scribe. The centre must however process a new online application using Access arrangements online and the candidate must sign a new candidate personal data consent form.

For a candidate requiring 25% extra time, an updated detailed picture of need must accompany Form 8. The updated detailed picture of need is one piece of new evidence drawn from:

  • a sample of internal tests/mock exam papers showing the application of extra time; or
  • an IEP/ILP referring to the need for extra time; or

comments and observations from teaching staff as to why the candidate needs extra time and how he/she uses the extra time awarded.

Updated centre based evidence is not required for a scribe. For a candidate requiring a computer reader/reader, a short concise file note relating to the new centre must be produced. The centre must process though a new online application using Access arrangements online and the candidate must sign a new candidate personal data consent form.

What is the deadline for processing applications for GCSE November resits?

To further assist colleges, the deadline for processing access arrangements for the GCSE November series has been extended to 1 November. Late applications after 1 November may be made, where necessary, provided that the candidate meets the published criteria for the arrangement(s) and the required evidence is in place prior to processing an online application.

Is additional paperwork required when a candidate moves from GCSE to GCE A-level qualifications?

In addition to the fully completed Form 8, the SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, must produce centre-based evidence. This must confirm that 25% extra time and/or a scribe continues to be the candidate’s normal way of working. Evidence will be sought from teaching staff that the candidate has persistent and significant difficulties, and that these substantially impact on teaching and learning. An updated detailed picture of need must also accompany Form 8 (see the JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments).

Where a candidate is starting a one-year GCE AS course or a two-year GCE A-level course in September 2021, the SENCo, or an equivalent member of staff, must check that the candidate meets the current published criteria for 25% extra time, i.e. the 2021/22 JCQ regulations, before a new online application for 25% extra time is processed.

The candidate must sign a new candidate personal data consent form.

Are any other qualification types covered?

Where all of the required checks listed on page 2 have taken place, a fully completed Form 8 may be used to process an online application for 25% extra time and/or a scribe for the following qualification types which are covered both by the JCQ regulations and Access arrangements online:

  • AQA Applied General qualifications
  • AQA Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Technical qualifications
  • FSMQ
  • OCR Cambridge Nationals
  • OCR Cambridge Technicals
  • OCR Level 3 Certificates
  • WJEC Level 1 and Level 2 General qualifications
  • WJEC Level 1 and Level 2 Vocational qualifications
  • WJEC Level 3 Applied qualifications

For Level 3 qualifications, updated centre based evidence must be produced, as above – see the JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments.