Education, Employment and Training - GCSEs and Help in Exams - Transition Guide

GCSE Subjects

In mainstream schools you usually decide in Year 9 (age 13 to 14) which subjects you want to study in Year 10 and 11 (when you are age 14 to 16). If suitable, these will be the subjects you will take for GCSE exams.

You can ask your school about other accredited qualifications.  This is you are not working at the levels needed for GCSEs.

Special schools have a curriculum for the needs of their pupils. Some focus on teaching life skills. Most offer fewer opportunities to get qualifications like GCSEs or vocational courses.

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Help in exams

Talk to your SENCO and/or the school’s examination officer if you think you will need extra help in exams. For example:

  • extra time
  • a computer
  • smaller/ individual room.

You should do this as soon as possible. The extra help is known as Access Arrangements.

Some Access Arrangements can be given by a school or college based on your normal way of working.

Access Arrangements like extra time are given by exam boards. Students must reach certain levels in approved assessments.  Official assessors complete them so that you can be given this. Your school or college can arrange these assessments.

Access Arrangements allow students with SEND or temporary injuries to do exams.  This is without making changes to the level of the exam.

Access Arrangements should have been talked about and put in place from Year 10.

Access Arrangements must be suitable for the exam and the student. For example, a student with dyslexia may need extra time for a written exam, but not for a practical one.

Any kind of Access Arrangement must follow your normal way of working, except in the case of injuries. For example, you would only be allowed to use a laptop in exams if you use one in class. The arrangement must not suddenly be allowed at the time of the exam.

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Talk to your school or college if you need further help. For example, with exam stress.

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