SEND and Access Arrangements Policy

SEND and Access Arrangements Policy

1.   Statement
2.   Aims
3.   Related policies, legislation and guidance
4.   Access Arrangements Team and SEND Code of Practice
5.   Procedures and requirements
6.   ‘Reasonable adjustment’ under the Equality Act 2010

Appendix A: Access Arrangements Team – staff members
Appendix B: Codes for Access Arrangements

1. Statement
Ashbourne is an academically selective independent college and is not a specialist centre for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Nonetheless the small class sizes, the high level of one-to-one attention from teachers and Personal Tutors, and the comprehensive support and flexibility provided both academically and pastorally, create an excellent learning environment for all students.

Applications to join Ashbourne are treated equally including reasonable adjustments during the interview process as required, provided the student can satisfy the College’s selection requirements, which include being able to meet the academic and behavioural standards of the College.

These standards are:

  • Attending all classes on time.
  • Submitting all assigned work promptly and to the best of their ability.
  • Showing full commitment to their studies inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Respecting fellow students and staff.

Ashbourne is committed to integrating all students fully into the life of the College, with due regard to individual needs as assessed in consultation with students, parents, teachers and external agencies. If a student presents a special educational need or disability, which is corroborated by the College or by an approved external specialist, Ashbourne will endeavour to make special educational provision and ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate their needs whilst at the College.

(Back to menu)

2. Aims
This policy aims to:

  • reflect current relevant legislation
  • identify staff responsible for the learning support of SEND students
  • detail the procedures and requirements for access arrangements
  • make ‘reasonable adjustments’ according to the Equality Act 2010 and Ashbourne’s commitments in this regard.

(Back to menu)

3. Related policies, legislation and guidance
3.1 Related policies

3.2 Relevant legislation and guidance

  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • Equality Act 2010

(Back to menu)

4. Access Arrangements Team and SEND Code of Practice
4.1 Access Arrangements Team
Ashbourne’s Access Arrangements Team comprises the following roles:

The SENDCo is responsible for coordinating provision for SEND students in collaboration with all members of the Access Arrangements  and Safeguarding teams.

SEND Advisor and Assessor
The SEND Advisor and Assessor is a dyslexia tutor and specialist assessor qualified to carry out the Access Arrangements tests for examination concessions. They are responsible for the review assessments and ensuring all Form 8s, required for Access Arrangements, are processed for SEND applications. They also make the relevant Joint Council for Qualifications online applications.

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Students with SEND are typically entered onto the College’s safeguarding database, as part of Ashbourne’s commitment to safeguarding. The DSL collaborates with the rest of the Access Arrangements Team to help support these students, including ensuring that students with an education care and health plan (ECHP) are adequately supported.

Supporting staff
Members of the Access Arrangements Team liaise with teachers on a regular basis in order to offer advice and support in relation to SEND students and regarding any access arrangements required. The SEND Advisor and Assessor uses these opportunities to introduce new staff to methods for the identification of SEND students and how to meet their individual requirements in the classroom and during online lessons. These interactions also offer staff the opportunity to provide feedback about individual students and strategies to support them.

4.2 SEND Code of Practice
This policy is underpinned by the Children and Families Act 2014 of which Part 3 is the SEN and Disability Code of Practice, 0-25 years 2014 (SEND Code 2015). Ashbourne adheres to the definition in the Introduction to the SEND (2014) Code of Practice with regard to provision, which states that a child has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age or;
  • have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.

Ashbourne is committed to fulfilling its duties in compliance with the Equality Act 2010, and as such will make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for students with SEND.

(Back to menu)

5. Procedures and requirements
5.1 Admissions arrangements
Students with SEND have an equal opportunity to join Ashbourne if they satisfy the College’s selection requirements which include meeting academic and behavioural standards. Please read the Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy and the Admissions Policy for further details. If examination concessions are required for the entrance assessments (e.g. use of a laptop or extra time), evidence should be submitted to the Admissions department prior to the test date. This documentation will be considered by the Access Arrangements Team who will make the necessary recommendations.

5.1.2. Failure to disclose a pre-existing SEND
Before a place is offered at the College, parents of a candidate with any known or suspected circumstances relating to a disability, long-term medical condition or special educational need and/or an educational health and care plan (EHCP) must provide full written details as part of the application process. Should parents or students fail to disclose any relevant information prior to acceptance, the College may be unable to meet the needs of the student and, in some circumstances, this may result in the offer of a place being withdrawn.

Where a student’s SEND is identified or develops after beginning at Ashbourne, the College will continue to support the student under the following conditions:

  • The College possesses the appropriate resources and facilities to provide the support required; and
  • It is in the best interests of the student and the College community for the student to remain at Ashbourne.

When either of these conditions cannot be met the College reserves the right to withdraw any place that has been offered.

Applications to the College by students with an EHCP will only be considered if:

  • the EHCP is fully up to date
  • the EHCP is accompanied by all relevant supporting (section K) documentation
  • the EHCP includes references from previous schools, where applicable the set provisions within the EHCP have been agreed by the College in consultation with the Local Authority, with respect to ‘reasonable adjustments’
  • the EHCP properly discloses any notes relating to child protection and safeguarding issues.

5.1.3 Students with an educational health and care plan (EHCP)
Where a student, who has been accepted at Ashbourne having fulfilled all the admissions requirements, has an existing EHCP with supporting documentation, the College will make all ‘reasonable adjustments’ to support their needs as outlined in their plan.

The DSL, in conjunction with the Access Arrangements Team, is responsible for ensuring EHCP student’s needs are met by:

  • working with all relevant parties – student, parents, teachers, staff and external agencies – to monitor, appraise and review the provision as outlined in the plan;
  • ensuring relevant staff understand how to meet the student’s needs and are offered training and practical support to do so;
  • carrying out an annual review, with input from all relevant parties, if there are any concerns about the student’s progress or if their needs have changed substantially;
  • close and effective liaison with all relevant parties involved.

5.2 Students with pre-existing access arrangements
Any students accepted at Ashbourne who were provided with access arrangements in their previous place of learning will be given a review assessment at the start of their first term at the College; this is a Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) requirement for students transferring onto an A-level programme and/or different place of learning. The review assessment will typically consist of a visual processing test (SDMT), phonological processing test (CTOPP2) and the DASH handwriting assessment, as outlined below. Relevant applications are processed subject to requirement. If a student does not meet the JCQ threshold, further assessments may be carried out to ascertain if there is an ongoing need. Given that JCQ threshold guidelines can vary from one year to the next, students who have previously received access arrangements at their former school should not expect that these will automatically be granted when they transfer to Ashbourne.

5.3 Students without pre-existing access arrangements
It is not the College’s policy to screen and assess each student for specific learning difficulties. To be eligible for a screening test students must be referred by their teacher or an Educational Psychologist to the Access Arrangements Team who will then initiate the process of assessment. If a student develops a medical condition that they believe requires access arrangements they must provide evidence for review by the Access Arrangements Team.

After the October half-term mocks, teachers will be asked for feedback about any students who may have SEND. Teachers should only make access arrangement referrals if they are confident the student has processing issues, not that they simply find it difficult to complete exams under timed conditions. If necessary the Access Arrangements Team will invite relevant students for an initial screening which will typically involve a programme called EXACT (a JCQ recognised assessment tool). Further assessment may follow subject to initial results. Where results yield standardised scores of 84 or less in areas of processing, (e.g. reading speed, visual processing, cognitive function etc.) an application for examination concessions can be made.

For more complex access arrangements such as 50% extra time, further testing would be required and appropriate scores (69 or less) would need to be recorded. Ideally, this would be done by an educational psychologist who would carry out a full diagnostic assessment. However, the SEND Advisor and Assessor could carry out this assessment if required. In the case of students with conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) alternative access arrangements may be given.

All access arrangements are reviewed on an individual basis with consideration to the needs of the student and the needs of the wider student body.

The Access Arrangements Team will assess a student for access arrangements only. The specialist assessor does not offer a full diagnostic assessment; this should be done by an educational psychologist. In addition, students who require testing for dyscalculia will need to be assessed externally (e.g. with an educational psychologist).

Any students who have not received prior access arrangements but do have an educational report detailing a need will meet with the SEND Assessor for further testing. This will typically involve two tests in processing, and a handwriting test if Word Processing is required.

5.4 Testing process for SEND
Ashbourne follows statutory timescales for assessments. Provision for remote assessment is available via online programmes.

5.4.1 Tests
No prior access arrangements

  • EXACT – online program to test reading speed, writing speed, typing speed plus single word reading and reading comprehension. This test takes approximately 40 minutes. EXACT can be accessed remotely, which means that students who are learning remotely and/or cannot attend the small group assessments that take place from mid September on, will be able to be assessed for access arrangements during this period.

Existing prior access arrangements

  • Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT) – Visual processing;
  • Rapid Naming subtest of Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing 2II (CTOPP2II) – Cognitive processing;
  • Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH) (10 minute free-writing assessment, usually followed up with a typing test of similar length).

Further assessments

  • Wechsler Individual Achievement TestIII (WIATIII) – tests of attainment.
  • Test of Memory and Learning2 (TOMAL2) – assessment for memory.
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Test2 (ADHDT2) for attention deficit and impulsivity.

5.5 Access arrangements for exams
Ashbourne facilitates a number of different access arrangements for examinations for SEND students, which include:

  • Extra time
  • Word processing
  • Prompters
  • Rest breaks
  • Special seating arrangement within the exam hall

Ashbourne’s criteria for extra time are in line with the JCQ guidelines and are subject to regular review by the Access Arrangements Team.

Ashbourne does not have the resources to offer separate invigilation for any examinations nor does the College have provision to offer scribes. Those students who have previously required a reader will be issued with a specialised reader pen and headphones to allow them to complete their examination in the same room as other candidates.

(Back to menu)

6. ‘Reasonable adjustment’ under the Equality Act 2010
Ashbourne will endeavour to make any ‘reasonable adjustment’ for the provision of education to any SEND students accepted at the College to enable them to perform at their academic potential within the learning environment. In accordance with guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission relating to ‘reasonable adjustment’, the College considers the following factors when assessing provision:

  • The extent to which special educational provision complies with Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
  • The resources of the College and the availability of financial or other assistance.
  • The financial and other costs of making any relevant adjustments.
  • The extent to which taking any particular step would be effective in overcoming the substantial disadvantage experienced by the student.
  • The practicability of any adjustments.
  • The effect of SEND on the individual.
  • Health and safety requirements.
  • The need to maintain academic, musical, sporting and other standards.
  • The interests of other students and prospective students.

(Back to menu)

Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2023
Effective date of the policy September 2023
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2024

Appendix A: Access Arrangements Team – staff members

Role Staff member
SENDCo Lee Kirby
SEND Advisor and Assessor Simone Shaw
Designated Safeguarding Lead Fran Burns


Appendix B: Codes for Access Arrangements

Ashbourne uses internally-set Access Arrangement abbreviation codes that can be easily viewed within the College’s secure system, e.g. in Attendance Registers.

25ET – 25% Extra Time
50ET – 50% Extra Time
BDI – Bilingual Dictionary: Italian
BDP – Bilingual Dictionary: Persian
CD – Clock on Desk
EC – Enlarged Calculator
EP – Enlarged Papers
LT – Laptop
HP – Headphones (noise-cancelling)
PS – Padded Seat
PT – Prompter
SB – Scribe
SRB – Supervised Rest Breaks
SSABM – Special Seating Arrangement: Back and Middle
SSABS – Special Seating Arrangement: Back and Side
SSAFM – Special Seating Arrangement: Front and Middle
SSAFS – Special Seating Arrangement: Front and Side
SSASR – Special Seating Arrangement: Separate Room
TL – Towel

(Back to menu)

Menu ☰