Exam Concessions FAQs
1. Exam Concessions
Q My son/daughter had exam concessions at their previous school; as these have already been agreed, do I have to do anything?
A Exam concessions from a previous school finish once the student has left that educational establishment. Collyer’s, like all schools/colleges, has a unique Exam Centre Number and we will also give the student a new candidate number (this can be found on their college ID).
Occasionally, we are able to ‘roll over’ exam concessions from the student’s previous school if:
- we have the original copy of the JCQ Form 8, the school is one of our ‘feeder’ schools and if we have a copy on file of the specialist assessor’s qualifications
- the Form 8 (the original) must be obtained by the student or their parent from their previous school by request
- other restrictions apply to the reuse of the documentation, so a new assessment may need to be carried out despite Collyer’s having the original Form 8 sent in.
Q My son/daughter had a Statement of Educational Need at primary school and now has an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Do I need to let you know what this says?
A Yes. During the interview phase, it is really important that you let us know if there is an EHCP in place as this may affect the offer that we make to your son/daughter. The document may suggest taking 3 years to do their A level programme of 3 A levels, or may recommend that they have an amended timetable e.g. late starts. Until we see this document and its recommendations, we do not know if Collyer’s will be able to provide a suitable learning experience for your son/daughter.
Q What evidence do you need to see to allow my son/daughter to use a computer in exams?
A The letter could come from a variety of medical/educational sources: CAMHS, a HCPC registered psychologist or psychiatrist, a hospital consultant, Local Authority Educational Psychology Service, Local Authority Sensory Impairment Service, Occupational Health Service, Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT) as well as their EHCP, original Form 8 or a letter from their previous SENCo, stating that this was their normal way of working within their previous school.
Q As everyone types now, why can’t my son/daughter use a laptop in their exams? My son/daughter’s normal way of working is to type – why can’t he/she use a computer?
A The examination boards expect that our students’ normal place for taking exams will be in our main examination room (the Sports Hall) and that they will hand write their exams. Until this situation changes, these are the rules that we have to follow. The use of a word processor (WP) in exams is an exam concession that has to be supported by medical/educational evidence and cannot just be given because it is the student’s preferred way of working.
Q My son/daughter has/had a medical issue when they were younger. Do I need to let Collyer’s know?
A This issue may have been resolved, but we would need the information on file in case there are any problems while the student is studying here at Collyer’s. Occasionally, previous medical issues still allow the student to have some concessions during their exams but we would need to see the medical evidence in order to assess this.
Q Why do you need the evidence by 21 February? My son/daughter’s exams are not until May – that’s over 3 months away.
A 21 February is the cut-off date that the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has issued. The JCQ is the governing body of the examination boards and this is its cut-off date and nothing to do with Collyer’s.
It does appear to be early, but the Exams Officer and her team need to ensure that all our students are seated in the correct hall and the correct seats for the exams. They also need to employ enough invigilators to cover all the exams and need to have the seating plan completed by Easter to ensure that students know the dates, times and venues of their exams.
Although the majority of exams do not start until mid-May, there are some that start at the end of April and more are at the beginning of May. The cut-off date is therefore only about 2 months before the exam cycle begins.
2. Medical Evidence
Q My son/daughter had a Statement of Educational Need issues at primary school and now has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Do I need to give you any more medical evidence?
A It really depends what the EHCP covers. If it relates only to your son/daughter’s educational needs, then, yes, you would also need to give us copies of their medical diagnosis as well. If the EHCP also covers their medical issues, and has been kept up-to-date, then possibly not.
Q Should I go to my GP and get a letter to show that my son/daughter has now been discharged from the hospital, but is still receiving on-going medical care.
A Unfortunately, GPs (General Practitioners) are not considered to be ‘medical experts’ by the JCQ. Therefore, a letter from a GP is not acceptable as evidence of medical diagnosis or on-going aftercare. The fact that some GPs charge for these letters is reason enough for them to be unacceptable. NHS consultants do not charge to write these letters.
Q My son/daughter is not seeing a consultant but goes to see a counsellor. Could they write this letter?
A Yes, a counsellor is a medical professional who has undergone specialist training in their field and a letter from then would be acceptable.
Q What about other medical staff? My son/daughter is seeing an Occupational Therapist – could they write a letter?
A Yes, the list is quite extensive and includes letters from: Hospital Consultants, HCPC registered Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Local Authority Specialist Services eg Physiotherapists, Mental Health Nurses, Occupational Health Services, Counsellors (CAMHS), Local Authority Sensory Impairment Service (eg Hearing and Visual), and Speech and Language Therapists (SaLTs).
3. Other Exam Related Questions
Q My son/daughter’s friend comes from abroad and uses a dictionary in class. They were allowed extra time at GCSE but have been told they can’t have extra time for A level – is this right?
A Yes, the JCQ rules allow for the use of a dictionary and 10% extra time for GCSE and some other exams that are Level 1 and Level 2 (GCSE equivalent), but do not allow extra time at A level and other Level 3 exams (A level equivalent). However, the use of a dictionary is not allowed for examinations testing language such as GCSE English Language, English Literature and Spanish/French/German exams.
Q At GCSE, my son/daughter was allowed rest breaks and was able to take as many as required and for as long as they needed. Why has this changed?
A A Supervised Rest break is where the exam is paused and re-started when the candidate is ready to continue and is given to students who have a need that involves cognition and learning, communication or interaction, a medical condition, sensory, physical, social mental or emotional issues. There must be a genuine need for the concession and evidence provided to the centre.
During the rest break the examination paper is removed and given back when the exam is re-started. If the student needs to leave the examination room, then they are accompanied by an invigilator.
While there is no maximum time set for a rest break, Collyer’s has implemented 3 different types of rest breaks to help our staff and external invigilators monitor situations that may result in medical emergencies. These are:
Rest Break 1 (RB1) – this is given to students who have medical issues, such as diabetes, and who may need to take some time to check their blood glucose levels, take some nourishment, re-check their blood glucose levels, take fluids, have a toilet break and wait for their concentration levels to return to normal. This may take up to 20 minutes – any longer may require medical intervention.
Rest Break 2 (RB2) – this is given to students who may have had an injury to their back or shoulder and who may need to move around in the exam and take some medication. This may take about 10 minutes before they begin to feel able to continue the exam. If the situation is not resolved, or if the student is in severe pain, then medical intervention may be required.
Rest Break 3 (RB3) – this is given to students who have issues with their hand/wrist or with concentration and who need a short break. This may take up to 5 minutes before they feel able to continue with the exam.
4. Medical/Emergency situations on the day of the exam
Q My son/daughter has woken up feeling unwell. Can they sit their exam once they are feeling better?
A No, the examination date and time has been set by the exam board and, as this is a public exam being taken at the same time throughout the UK, it cannot be moved. The Exams Officer should be notified and the student should come into College and attempt to sit the exam.