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General Certificate of Secondary Education: Special Educational Needs

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in what formats GCSE examinations are available for children (a) with a (i) visual and (ii) hearing impairment and (b) who are dyslexic; and how many times each such format has been used in the last three years. (221705)

The regulation of public examinations in England is the responsibility of Ofqual. Ofqual requires awarding bodies to provide examination papers in appropriate formats to ensure candidates with disabilities have access to examinations.

It is the responsibility of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) to coordinate these formats on behalf of the awarding bodies.

Details of these formats are published in the JCQ guidance “Regulations and Guidance Relating to Candidates who are Eligible for Adjustments in Examinations”. This guidance is available online at

http://www.jcq.org.uk.

The following table sets out how many times these formats have been approved for children with (a) (i) visual and (ii) hearing impairment and (b) who are dyslexic in the last three years.

Number of requests approved for:

2005

2006

2007

Reader

55,640

67,390

80,798

Scribe (including voice-activated computer)

28,324

34,821

40,275

Computer/word processor

14,222

16,996

21,713

Extra time (more than 25 per cent. extra time)

3,383

2,393

2,489

Alternative venue

1,582

1,948

1,993

Use of signer

942

613

952

Practical assistant

814

953

1,049

Notes: 1. These figures cover AQA, Edexcel and OCR only; the three awarding bodies based in England. 2. These figures are for the number of awarding-body approved arrangements rather than the number of candidates. An individual candidate may require a number of arrangements for each examination they take and they may take examinations from more than one awarding body.