Asking for help in exams: Model letter 13

Many children and young people with special educational needs will require ‘access arrangements’ in external examinations – for example, extra time, the use of a laptop, or a scribe to write down their answers for them.

More information about the rules for getting help with exams can be found here. You should first speak to the school or college. If they are not willing to put access arrangements in place, you can write to the chair of governors using our model letter.

As this duty arises under the Equality Act 2010, the child or young person must fall under the definition of ‘disability’ under that act; see our page on disability discrimination for more information.

If the child or young person has an EHC plan or a statement it is important to mention it, but most important is that you make clear that they have had some help of this kind in the past, and that they still need it to be able to show their potential. Provide the governors with the evidence you have put before the head teacher.

You may need to emphasise that you need a speedy response to your letter if time is short, for instance if the child or young person is about to start, or has started, the exam courses.

If the governors will not take action then you may have to consider making a formal complaint under the school’s complaints policy or a claim of disability discrimination against them on the basis of the failure to make reasonable adjustments for the child or young person. The aim of your action should be to persuade the school that it should (if necessary) assess for, and put in place, the necessary access arrangements.

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send. If you don’t get a reply, or if you need further advice, you can book an appointment to speak with us.