The system can be accessed via any one of the secure awarding body extranet sites (as below). A centre can create more than one account which means a number of staff can use Access arrangements online. Each user will have full access and will be able to see all the applications made in their centre.

Ideally, the SENCo and/or the assessor working within the centre will process the applications on-line.

By combining access arrangements and orders for modified papers, the administrative burden for centres is reduced.

Access Arrangements Online covers the following qualifications:

AQA Applied General qualifications, AQA Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 Technical qualifications, Cambridge Nationals, Cambridge Technicals, FSMQ, GCE, GCSE, OCR Level 3 Certificates, Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification (WBQ), WJEC Level 1, Level 2 General qualifications, WJEC Level 1, Level 2 Vocational qualifications and WJEC Level 3 Applied qualifications.

Yes, the JCQ regulations provide full details of the paperwork required to support an access arrangement (where required).

SENCos and/or specialist assessors working with the centre must produce appropriate evidence, as per the JCQ regulations, before an application is processed on-line.

Candidates must give consent for their personal data to be shared with the JCQ and the awarding bodies. Candidates must have completed a Data Protection Notice before an application is processed on-line. Completed Data Protection Notices must be kept on file within the centre for inspection purposes.

The responses will, in around 90% of cases, be instantaneous and the decision will be consistent across the awarding bodies. The more complex cases, which are always referred to awarding bodies, can be tracked and the decision viewed on-line.

Applications for more than 25% extra time and a practical assistant must be forwarded to the relevant awarding body for a decision.

On applications approved by the system, not rejected applications or awarding body referrals, the centre is able to edit the following fields on the approval sheet.

Candidate Name, Candidate Number and Date of Birth.

The user will have to give a reason for the amendment and re-tick the malpractice statement.

An application may be deleted. A reason must be given for the deletion. The SENCo will need to print off the deletion sheet showing the reason for inspection purposes. Deleted applications will show in the ‘Search’ function, i.e. Approved, Deleted, Not Approved.

If a further access arrangement subsequently becomes necessary a new application for that particular arrangement must be processed on-line.

The application may be deleted. A reason must be given for the deletion. The SENCo will need to print off the deletion sheet showing the reason for inspection purposes. Deleted applications will show in the ‘Search’ function, i.e. Approved, Deleted, Not Approved.

There is no need to contact the JCQ or an awarding body to inform them of the deletion.

Any access arrangement knowingly used when a candidate is not entitled to it constitutes malpractice and may lead to the candidate’s result(s) being witheld.

If an application is not approved the reason will always be stated in the outcome screen. The JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments should always be referred to. Does the candidate meet the published criteria for the arrangement(s)? Further testing may be necessary or perhaps alternative access arrangements may be more appropriate for the candidate. An awarding body referral may be pursued where the SENCo believes that there are genuine extenuating circumstances. This will initiate a manual process where the relevant awarding body will be supplied with more detailed information.

The awarding body will review the application and will notify the centre by e-mail within ten working days. The outcome of the referral will also be available on the system.

The decision whether to allow an access arrangement may be affected by the specific paper. In some circumstances awarding body decisions may differ from paper to paper, even within the same subject.

Where a centre disagrees with the awarding body’s decision following an on-line referral, this must be pursued outside of the AAO system. A Stage 1 Appeal would be submitted to the relevant awarding body.

This error usually occurs when a centre has not set up any awarding body relationships. To set up awarding body relationships go to the homepage of Access arrangements online and click on ‘Manage list of awarding bodies’.

The system is based on the JCQ regulations. Users must confirm that they understand the regulations and the consequences of malpractice. Evidence must be held on file in the centre to support applications (where required). This evidence will be presented by the SENCo to a JCQ Centre Inspector.

Yes, centres must record the name of their access arrangements assessor(s) on Access arrangements online. Those recorded are deemed to be appropriately qualified by the head of centre. Evidence that the assessor meets the published criteria must be available in the centre and presented to a JCQ Centre Inspector by the SENCo. The SENCo must demonstrate that, as a minimum, the access arrangements assessor holds a post-graduate qualification in individual specialist assessment at or equivalent to Level 7.

Yes, JCQ Centre Inspectors are trained in the purpose and operation of the on-line system and will inspect the evidence upon which applications have been made and approved.

The system has been designed to cope with volumes well beyond those expected, even at peak times around deadlines. However, centres should always make applications early.

The nature of the evidence to support an application based on a temporary condition will vary. It could be a note from a doctor or a hospital, or a simple record of the candidate’s circumstances held on file.

The system allows more sophisticated centre management of the access arrangements process, allowing centres to plan ahead in advance of the examination series.

Where candidates have scribes or practical assistants the cover sheets can be printed from the system, pre-populated with centre and candidate details.

The search and export functions can be used to find applications or assist with resource planning. For example, determining the number of readers or scribes required.