Exams access arrangements: hearing loss

Exams access arrangements: hearing loss

Access arrangements for pupils with haring loss taking GCSE, A Level, or SAT exams.

GCSEs and A levels arrangements

The main principle is that barriers caused by a hearing loss should be reduced or removed without giving candidates an unfair advantage.

Candidates should be able to access the paper using the normal methods of working used in school.

Schools need to apply for the following arrangements.

Adjustment Evidence needed Additional information
Extra time (25%) SENCo letter or EHCP with letter from Sensory Support Service Normal way of working
Reader Letter from Sensory Support Service

Language and vocabulary difficulties which have a substantial and long term adverse effect on ability to access written text.

Standardised score <85 in reading accuracy or speed or comprehension.

Live speaker No evidence required but need to apply for extra time Normal way of working
Oral Language Modifier Apply to exam board in special circumstances Standardised score <69 in reading comprehension or vocabulary

Other modifications:

  • a word processor
  • a Sign Language Interpreter
  • a practical assistant
  • modified language papers
  • supervised rest breaks
  • a scribe who must be fully aware of the guidelines and have experience of being a scribe

Find more information on:

SATs arrangements

A pupil doesn’t need to have an EHCP to have access arrangements. However, the impact of their hearing loss must be considered ‘disabling’. 

To qualify, the arrangements must reflect the pupil’s normal way of working. 

Key Stage 1    

No specific application is necessary.

Pupils can have:

  • additional time (25%) 
  • reader
  • compensatory marks for spelling 

Find more information in the government guidance on Key Stage 1 assessments arrangements for SATs.

Key Stage 2

Pupils with an EHCP will automatically qualify for any of the following arrangements which reflect normal classroom practice:
additional time (up to 25%)  

  • reader
  • scribe
  • prompter
  • apparatus in maths
  • compensatory marks in spelling 

Applications must be made if the pupil does not have an EHCP.

Find more information in the government guidance on Key Stage 2 assessments.

Contact assessments@education.gov.uk with any questions.

Compensatory marks for the spelling paper 

Compensatory marks may be awarded to pupils who have a profound hearing impairment and: 

  • do not use lip-reading or sign language, or 
  • can only use finger-spelling signing

They are available for the spelling paper of English grammar, punctuation and spelling test. 

Compensatory marks are based on the average raw score achieved by pupils who take the test. Awarding compensatory marks allows pupils to get an overall scaled score for the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test.

You can find more information on the NDCS page on exam access arrangements