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Expert Education Law advice courtesy of the dedicated team of nationally respected specialist lawyers at HCB.

Students of all ages will have to take public examinations and produce coursework, in which case they may be eligible for special arrangements in order to give them a fair chance at completing their course.

All schools and universities should make the process of applying for additional support clear to students. This support is commonly referred to as “Access Arrangements”, and older students at university will need to familiarise themselves with their university’s policies on organising Access Arrangements, should they require them.

There are different types of Access Arrangements, including extra time, a scribe, seating arrangements, extra equipment (such as a computer), a reader, or a change to the marking criteria. Though this is not a limited list, and students with particular needs can negotiate what kind of access arrangements would best suit their needs.

Students with special educational needs or disabilities should always ask for Access Arrangements.

Students in compulsory education and further education

Any student is entitled to apply for Access Arrangements, however, it is only students who meet the requirements for additional support will qualify to receive it. Each examining body will have their own requirements to determine what support a student will receive. This will normally involve an assessment to determine the student’s level of need so they can be supplied with the most appropriate arrangements.

Schools are also able to identify when a pupil requires additional support and can apply on their behalf for support. This application will include detail on what support they deem necessary and why that pupil qualifies for such support. If a school fails in its duty to do this, parents will need to liaise with the school to organise the best arrangements for their child.

Pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health and Care Plan

Students with Special Educational Needs, or that have an Education Health and Care Plan, should be provided with the details of the Access Arrangements they need within their Statement of EHCP. If this is not the case, you will still need to apply for arrangements through the relevant examining body and use your EHCP as support for your application. Be aware that the examining body will still need to be satisfied that you qualify for support – even if it is detailed in your EHCP.

Schools should supply students with a Statement or EHCP to guarantee they don’t miss the deadline to apply for Access Arrangements.

University students

Students in Higher Education (university) cannot have an EHCP and will therefore need to make separate arrangements. They will need to put forward an application with supporting evidence and advice from teachers, doctors, or other relevant experts.

University students will need to educate themselves on their university’s policy regarding an application for Access Arrangements as they will be expected to apply for support themselves. However, this is not the case for students with certain disabilities that could prevent them for making their own application, who should be supported by the university.

Difficulties with Access Arrangements

There can be a number of difficulties that arise. This can include:

  • Schools refusing to apply for Access Arrangements
  • Universities failing to support students with their applications
  • Students missing the application deadline
  • Schools denying the Access Arrangements that have been asked for

If a student’s school has failed to help them in their application for support, or an examining body has rejected an application, you may need to seek professional legal advice. Our specialist education lawyers would be happy to discuss any concerns you have about Access Arrangements you may have, so get in touch with us today.