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Guidance on exam accommodations for Autistic students

Exam hall 389x267

Autistic students may face additional challenges when taking exams, such as sensory overload.  Having recognised these challenges, the Department for Education commissioned the Autism Education Trust (AET) to develop guidance around accommodations that supports autistic students to demonstrate fully their knowledge and skills in qualifications. The guide was written specifically to support autistic students being entered for GCSEs, but the principles and good practice examples can be applied to all public examinations.  

The guide includes tips on the following:

  • The availability of access arrangements 
    The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) publishes requirements for the most common access arrangements for GCSEs, etc. Access arrangements include reasonable adjustments that are needed to make exams accessible for candidates who have disabilities. A reasonable adjustment may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the JCQ's list of available access arrangements
  • Preparing the student 
    To prepare autistic students for taking exams, teachers should be familiar with the exam content and formatting so that they can provide individualised guidance and support. It is good practice to make use of any available previous papers and practice material. 

View the full guidance document online here.

If you are interested in more general advice around access arrangements, reasonable adjustments, and special consideration guidance and forms, you can access the latest information and updates JCQ page here.

First published 30 October 2018
The DfE has commissioned the Autism Education Trust to develop a project to improve the accessibility of GCSEs for pupils with autism taking public exams