Access Arrangements and Special Consideration

Access Arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working.

Special Consideration is a post examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade to reflect temporary injury, illness or other indisposition at the time of the examination/assessment.

Access Arrangements

Access arrangements are defined below by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ);

“Access arrangements are agreed before an assessment. They allow candidates with specific needs, such as special educational needs (SEN), disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment and show what they know and can do without changing the demands of the assessment. The intention behind an access arrangement is to meet the needs of an individual candidate without affecting the integrity of the assessment. Access arrangements are the principal way in which awarding bodies comply with the duty under the Equality Act 2010* to make ‘reasonable adjustments’”

If you are going to require access arrangements as a private candidate, it is extremely important that you begin the procedure as early as possible. When you have found an exam centre you will need to inform them of the student’s requirements and then build up a relationship with them. The examination centre is not allowed to charge you for Access Arrangements and not all will be able to help. They will need evidence to support your application and some of that evidence may need to be professional assessments which can be expensive. In general the larger the adaptation required, the more evidence is required to obtain the adaptation and the longer time it is likely to take.

Exam Centres will need to submit the file of evidence and a Form 8 to the examination board several months before your examination date and failure to do so will mean that adaptations cannot be granted.  For example the absolute final date for submission of the evidence for Summer 2023 exams is the 31st of January 2023.  Please remember that gathering the appropriate evidence is a process and can take months rather than weeks.

Full information on Access Arrangements can be found in the JCQ regulations, JCQ Access Arrangement.pdf (

Oxford Home Schooling students should be aware that unless we make an exam entry for you (which only happens for a very few subjects) we do not have a role in requesting access arrangements. Our tutors can however provide limited evidence of “normal way of working” should that be required by the entering centre.

There are a few centres that specialise in assessing and offering access arrangements, notably Tutors and Exams and several of the private tutorial colleges marked in blue on our centre finder map.

Special Consideration

JCQ has this to say about Special Consideration;

“Special consideration is given to a candidate who has temporarily experienced illness, injury or some other event outside of their control at the time of the assessment. It is applied when the issue or event has had, or is reasonably likely to have had, a material effect on a candidate’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate his or her normal level of attainment in an assessment.

Special consideration can go some way to assist a candidate affected by a potentially wide range of difficulties, emotional or physical, which may influence performance in their examinations. It cannot remove the difficulty faced by the candidate. This means that there will be some situations where candidates should not be entered for an examination. This is because only minor adjustments can be made to the mark awarded. To make larger adjustments would jeopardize the standard of the examination”

If you feel that there is an issue on the day or near the day of your examination which has had an effect on your performance, you should contact your exam officer.

More information on the special considerations process can be found on the JCQ website

As Oxford Home Schooling never conduct any written exams and we are party to what happens in the exam room, requests for Special Consideration have to made through the centre where you sit your written exams.