Student Support and Reasonable Adjustment Policy


We review policies regularly to update them and to ensure that they are accessible and fair to all.

Purpose/Scope of the Academy Special Consideration/Reasonable Adjustment Policy

Our aim to facilitate open access to all qualifications for learners who are eligible for reasonable adjustment and/or special consideration in assessments, without compromising the assessment of the skills, knowledge, understanding or competence being measured. It is achieved through:

Reasonable Adjustment: This is agreed at the pre-assessment planning stage and any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty, which places the learner at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. Reasonable adjustments must not, however, affect the reliability or validity of assessment outcomes nor must they give the learners an assessment advantage over other learners undertaking the same or similar assessments.

Special Consideration: This is a post-assessment allowance to reflect temporary illness, injury or indisposition that occurred at the time of assessment. Any special consideration granted cannot remove the difficulty the learner faced at the time of assessment and can only be a relatively small adjustment to ensure that the integrity of the assessment is not compromised. Special consideration cannot apply to “license to practice” units within a qualification or to “license to practice” qualifications.


Guidance on Reasonable Adjustment and Special Considerations Reasonable adjustment

A reasonable adjustment helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the learner at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. Reasonable adjustments must not affect the validity or reliability of assessment outcomes, but may involve:

  • Changing the usual assessment arrangements
  • Providing assistance during the assessment
  • Re-organizing the assessment physical environment
  • Adapting or changing the assessment methods
  • Adapting assessment materials
  • Using assistive technology

We understand that reasonable adjustments must be approved (internally or externally) and set in place prior to assessment commencing. It is an arrangement to give a learner access to a qualification. The work produced following a reasonable adjustment must be assessed in the same way as the work from other learners. Below are examples of reasonable adjustment. It is important to note that not all adjustments described below is reasonable, permissible or practical in particular situations. The Learner may not need, nor be allowed the same adjustment for all assessments. Reasonable adjustments permitted by the academy may fall into the following categories:

  • Changes to assessment conditions
  • The use of mechanical and electronic aids
  • Modification to the presentation of assessment materials
  • Use of access facilitators
  • Alternative ways of presenting responses

Please note that a reasonable adjustment must never affect the validity or reliability of assessment, influence the outcome of assessment or give the Learner(s) in question an unfair assessment advantage. Examples of Reasonable Adjustments as defined by the above categories are listed below.

  • Allowing extra time, e.g. assignment extensions (about 2-3 weeks)
  • Use of ICT/Responses using electronic devices
  • British sign language (BSL)
  • Using a different assessment location
  • Use of colored overlays, low vision aids, CCTV
  • Practical assistants/transcribers/promoters
  • Language modified assessment materials
  • The Assessment material in large format or Braille


Academy Recruitment

We take measures to ensure that learners have the correct information and advice on their selected qualifications and that the qualifications will meet their needs. The recruitment process includes the academy assessing each potential learner and making justifiable and professional judgments about the learner’s potential to successfully complete the assessment and achieve the qualification. Such an assessment must identify, where appropriate, the support that is made available to the learner to facilitate access to the assessment.

Where the recruitment process identifies that the learner may not be able to demonstrate attainment and thus gain achievement in all parts of assessment for the selected qualification, this must be communicated clearly to the learner. A learner may still decide to proceed with studying a particular qualification and not be entered for all or part of the assessment.


Ensures that Learners are aware of

  • The range of options available, including any reasonable adjustments that may be necessary, to enable the demonstration of attainment across all required assessment; and
  • Any restrictions on progression routes to the learner as a result of not achieving certain outcomes


Applying Reasonable Adjustment

Reasonable adjustments are approved before an assessment and are intended to allow attainment to be demonstrated. A learner does not have to be disabled (as defined by the DDA) to qualify for reasonable adjustment; nor will every learner who is disabled be entitled to the reasonable adjustment.

Allowing reasonable adjustment is dependent upon how it will facilitate access for the learner. A reasonable adjustment is intended to allow access to assessment but can only be granted where the adjustment does not:

  • Influence the final outcome of the assessment decision
  • Give the learners in question an unfair advantage over other learners taking the same or similar assessment
  • Affect the validity or reliability of the assessment

We apply the reasonable adjustment in a transparent and unbiased manner. All reasonable adjustments made must be recorded using the Academy reasonable adjustment form. Once completed, these would be held by the Academy in the learner’s file and shall be available at all times for scrutiny by the awarding body, if so requested. All reasonable adjustments implemented by the Academy are subject to meeting the requirements of the appropriate assessment strategy and assessment criteria for each qualification and awarding body.

It is the responsibility of the CEO/IAG Officer (or designated nominee) to ensure that any access arrangement implemented by the Academy on behalf of the learner, is based on firm evidence of a barrier to assessment. For further clarification is required in relation to the application of reasonable adjustment, the Academy would contact the applicant by e-mail. For all qualifications that are internally assessed, the Academy applies to the awarding body to request to implement a reasonable adjustment, but it must:

  • Only make reasonable adjustments that are in line with this policy
  • Record all reasonable adjustments made on the appropriate forms
  • Keep all forms on the appropriate Learner’s record
  • Make forms available to the awarding body as required


Assessing Achievement

The Academy ensures that for all internal assessment, achievement is given only for the skills demonstrated by the learners and that reasonable adjustments do not compromise the outcomes of assessment.


Special Educational Needs

The Academy should note that a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) does not automatically qualify the Learner for reasonable adjustment to assessment, as:

The SEN statement may not contain a recent assessment of the needs, and the reasonable adjustment may compromise assessment

Inappropriate use of Reasonable Adjustment

The Academy understands that if they misuse the reasonable adjustment policy, then the awarding body will take appropriate action. Such action will range from advice and action for the centre through to the implementation of steps to manage assessment malpractice; this could ultimately lead to the recall of certificates, removal of qualification approval or removal of centre approval.

Special Considerations

A special consideration is a consideration given following a period of assessment for a learner who:

  • Was prepared for and present at an assessment but who may have been disadvantaged by temporary illness, injury or adverse circumstances that have arisen at or near to the time of assessment
  • Misses part of the assessment due to circumstances outside their control

It is important to note that it may not be possible to apply special consideration instances where:

  • Assessment requires the demonstration of practical competence
  • Criteria have to be met fully
  • Units/qualifications confer a license to practice

Where assessment is in the form of on-demand assessment, such as electronic tests set and marked by computer, then it is probably more appropriate to offer the learner an opportunity to take the assessment at a later date. A special consideration cannot give the Learner an unfair advantage, nor must its use cause the user of a certificate to be misled regarding a learner’s achievement. The Learner’s results must reflect real achievement in assessment and not potential ability. To this end, special considerations can only be a small post-assessment adjustment to the mark or outcome.

The awarding body’s decision will be based on various factors, which may vary from learner to learner, and from one subject to another. These factors may include the severity of the circumstances, the date of the assessment, the nature of the assessment (e.g. practical, oral presentation, etc). A learner who is fully prepared and present for a scheduled assessment may be eligible for special consideration if:

  • Performance in an assessment is affected by circumstances beyond the control of the learner, e.g. recent personal illness, accident, bereavement, serious disturbance during the assessment
  • Alternative assessment arrangements which were agreed in advance of the assessment proved inappropriate or inadequate
  • Part of any assessment has been missed due to circumstances beyond the control of the learner


A learner will not be eligible for special consideration if:

  • No evidence is supplied by the center that the learner has been affected at the time of the assessment by a particular condition
  • Any part of the assessment is missed due to personal arrangements including holidays or unauthorized absence
  • Preparation for a component is affected by difficulties during the course, e.g. disturbances through building work, lack of proper facilities, changes in or shortage of staff, or industrial disputes.


The following are examples of circumstances which might be eligible for special consideration (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Terminal illness of the learner
  • Terminal illness of a parent
  • Recent bereavement of a member of the immediate family
  • Secures and disruptive domestic crises leading to acute anxiety about the family
  • Incapacitating illness of the learner
  • Severe car accident
  • Recent traumatic experiences such as the death of a close friend or distant relative
  • A flare-up of severe congenital conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, server asthmatic attack
  • Recent domestic crisis
  • Recent physical assault trauma
  • Broken limb on the mend

Unlike reasonable adjustment, there are no circumstances whereby the Academy can apply its own special consideration. Applications must be made to the awarding body.


Applying for Special Consideration

We put arrangements in place to enable a learner, in extenuating circumstances, to complete assessment and thus achieve the qualification. Only when this is unsuccessful should an application for special consideration be made. All applications for special consideration can only be made on a case-by-case basis and thus separate applications must be made for each learner. The only exception to this is where a group of learners has been affected by a similar circumstance such as a fire alarm during an assessment; in this case a group application is permissible. In this situation, however, a list of learners affected should be attached to the application. Applications for special consideration should be submitted to the awarding body:

  • Application Form
  • The Student Report Form
  • Evidence to support the application such as a medical certificate, a doctor’s letter, a statement from the invigilator (if relevant), or any other appropriate information

The CEO/IAG officer authorize all applications for special consideration. Applications must be submitted to the awarding body within seven days of the assessment having taken place. Following receipt, the awarding body usually gives a decision within a further ten working days. Where a case is complex, the awarding body usually informs the Academy if a decision cannot be made within the time scale specified. During the processing of an application, the awarding body only liaises with the Academy who is considered to be acting on the learner’s behalf and not with the Learner or their designated third party.

It is important to note that special consideration applications will not be considered where learner achievement has been claimed and certificated.


Lost or Damaged Work

When a Learner’s work has been lost or damaged, the awarding body may consider accepting a grade for which there is no available evidence. In all cases, we would be able to verify that the work was done and that it was monitored whilst it was in progress.


Complying with Policy

We understand that failure to comply with the requirements contained within this policy document could lead to assessment malpractice, which will impact on the learner’s result. Failure to comply is defined as any or all of the following:

  • Where applicable, putting in place arrangements without the awarding body’s approval
  • Agreeing delegated adjustments that are not supported by evidence
  • Failing to maintain records
  • Failing to report delegated adjustments when required to do so by the awarding body
  • Implementing delegated adjustments when requested to do so by the awarding body
  • Implementing delegated adjustments that affect the validity and reliability of assessment, compromises the outcomes of assessment or gives the learner in questions an unfair assessment advantage over other learners undertaking the same or similar assessment

For further information about malpractice in assessment, please refer to the Policy Assessment Malpractice on the course directory.

Right to appeal

If we fail to agree with the awarding body decision made in respect of this policy, and then we have the right to appeal. Upon receipt of an appeal, the awarding body will usually acknowledge receipt within two working days and adjudicate within further 10 working days.