Reasonable Adjustments


Considering the Needs of all Learners

TSYP is fully committed to unimpeded access to assessment and will consider the needs of all potential Learners, including those with a range of impairments (which in the case of a teaching qualification would not prevent them from discharging their teaching duties competently on qualifying).  To this end, TSYP strives to make its qualifications and associated assessment tasks accessible to all those Learners who are capable of demonstrating their competence.  However, if it is felt that, despite the accessibility of the qualifications, a Learner with a particular assessment requirement should be offered extra assistance, this will be done.  In such cases, TSYP will make reasonable adjustments for Learners with particular assessment requirements to ensure that they can access assessment and demonstrate attainment. 

Maintaining the Integrity of the Qualification

Whilst the BWY and its Accredited Groups allow a range of reasonable adjustments to accommodate Learners’ special assessment requirements and make every effort to accommodate individual requests, BWY does not authorise adjustments which would prevent Learners on any BWY approved accredited group qualification from functioning effectively or qualifying. Equally, reasonable adjustments that could be seen to provide an unfair advantage will not be granted.  The qualifications approved by the BWY are competence-based, and Learners will therefore be assessed on their ability to meet all the specified assessment criteria in order to attain the awards towards which they are working. This means that the reasonable adjustments allowed by BWY and its accredited groups will not invalidate the assessment requirements set out in the specifications for the qualifications. 

General Principles Underpinning Reasonable Adjustments

  • Reasonable Adjustments are made to an assessment for a qualification to enable a disabled Learner to demonstrate his or her knowledge, skills and understanding of the levels of attainment requirement by the specification for that qualification.  
  • Reasonable adjustments are available for Learners who have a range of difficulties, e.g. speech, physical, visual, hearing impairments and/or learning disabilities.
  • Evidence of the requirement for a reasonable adjustment may be required
  • The Learner’s individual needs will determine the nature of the adjustment decision
  • Reasonable adjustments must not give the Learner an unfair advantage over other Learners
  • Reasonable adjustments must not compromise the quality, integrity and validity of the qualification 
  • It is the Accredited Group’s responsibility to provide adjustments to Accredited Group-devised assessment material/resource or reference materials
  • Where Accredited Groups modify material into alternative formats, they are responsible for the security of the material and for the accuracy of the modifications.  A Learner may be penalised for any errors in his/her work that occur as a result of errors in the material
  • There are no circumstances when the health and safety of a Learner should be compromised in the name of assessment.  Assumptions should not be made about a disability posing a health and safety risk, but the health and safety of all Learners and others must always be of paramount importance.
  • The Learner has a responsibility to raise issues related to reasonable adjustments before a course commences or as soon as a need for such adjustments is identified.  
  • Accredited Groups should ensure that initial assessment and pre-course Learner information encourages Learners to identify any known difficulties that may fall within the scope of this policy.
  • The BWY and accredited groups are only required by law to do what is “reasonable” in terms of providing adjustments.  What is reasonable will depend upon the individual circumstances, the cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment.
  • Failure to comply with the regulations outlined in this policy document may lead to a Learner’s results being invalidated and certification withheld. 

The Process for Making Reasonable Adjustments

There are two routes through which a Learner may be granted adjustments to an assessment.

These are:

  • Use reasonable adjustments permitted at the discretion of the Accredited Group – see Permissions Table in Appendix 1.  In these cases BWY requires Accredited Groups to keep records for inspection (including any declarations that are signed and dated by a member of the Accredited Group’s staff who has formally been given delegated authority for this by the Head of Accredited Group)
  • Contact BWY for support and advice where the reasonable adjustment does not appear in the permissions table

Accredited Groups should keep records of adjustments they have permitted and those they have requested support from BWY.  These records should be kept for 3 years following the assessment to which they apply for audit purposes and to monitor the effectiveness of the reasonable adjustments that have been made.

It is recommended that Accredited Groups nominate a named tutor to take responsibility for demonstrating the implementation and recording of all adjustments to assessments on each course, for monitoring by BWY.

Applying for Reasonable Adjustments

Applications for Reasonable Adjustments will include the following

  • Learner name & registration number
  • Accredited Group name 
  • Qualification
  • Details of the reasonable adjustments requirements and rationale 
  • Supporting documentary evidence of disability, where appropriate

Requests for support from the BWY must be made by Accredited Group on their Learners’ behalf and include the details listed above. 

Requests made to TSYP should be submitted no later than 10 weeks before the assessment takes place. We aim to respond to all requests within 5 working days of receipt.

Any supporting documentary evidence submitted concerning proof of a Learner’s disability must be valid, sufficient and reliable.  Where the evidence of the disability or difficulty and its implications are clear, such as for a Learner with profound physical or sensory impairments the Accredited Group does not need to provide further evidence of these physical difficulties.

If necessary, external experts may be called upon to assess the Learner.


If you wish to appeal against a decision by TSYP to decline a request for reasonable adjustments, please refer to the Michelle Tarling, Education and Training .

Identifying Learners who are eligible for Reasonable Adjustments

Any adjustment to assessment will be based upon what the Learner needs to access the assessment.  Below are some examples of Learner needs that may be eligible for adjustment to assessments.  This list is not exhaustive and it should be noted that some Learner needs will fall within more than one of the categories set out below.

Communication and interaction needs

A Learner with communication and interaction difficulties may have problems with reading or writing, the effects of which could be reduced through the use of a reader, word processor, scribe, screen reading software or voice activated software.  

Sensory and physical needs

A Learner may need to have assessment material modified for hearing impairment and visual impairment.  They may also need to use a reader or scribe.  In addition they may benefit from the use of assistive technology to complete assessments.

Range of Reasonable Adjustments

The Permissions Table (Appendix 1) lists the most commonly applicable adjustments to standard assessment arrangements.  Neither those listed in the table, nor the examples given below are intended to comprise a comprehensive list and Accredited Groups and External Quality Assurers have a duty to seek advice from BWY in any case where they do not consider that they have the necessary expertise to judge whether a reasonable adjustment is needed and/or how it should be applied.

Accredited Groups should note that:

  • Not all the adjustments to assessments described below will be reasonable, permissible or practical in particular situations.  If in doubt, the Accredited Group is advised to contact BWY for advice.  
  • The Learner may not need, nor be allowed, the same adjustment for all qualifications.  Some Learners may need a single adjustment; others may require a combination of several adjustments.

The list of reasonable adjustments is organised under the following headings:

  1. Use of mechanical and electronic aides
  2. Modifications to presentation of assessment material
  3. Alternative ways of presenting responses
  4. Use of access facilitators
  5. Use of Mechanical and Electronic Aids

Use of assistive technology, for example speech / screen reading software and voice activated software

  • Some Learners may benefit from the use of software that reads the assessment material to them and records their spoken responses
  • Due to the rapid development of such technology, Accredited Groups should seek advice from BWY if the implications of using certain kinds of assistive technology are unclear with regard to the risk of giving the Learner an unfair advantage or invalidation of the assessment requirements
  • It should be noted that the use of such software may introduce a hidden assessment agenda, in that the Learner has to master the use of the software in addition to mastering the assessment criteria.  Some Learners may need extra time if they use such software
  • The Learner should be familiar with how the assistive technology works
  1. Modifications to the presentation of the assessment material

Assessment material in enlarged format

For paper based assessments enlargements may be used.  Examples of these include

  • Unmodified enlarged papers where the standard paper is photocopied from A4 to A3, thus enlarging the whole paper and retaining the original layout and visual presentation
  • Modified enlarged paper where the paper is modified by simplifying the layout and where necessary reducing the content while still meeting the same objective as those tested in the original paper
  • Where the Accredited Group is permitted to make the enlargements to externally set assessment material, it should take responsibility for ensuring that the entire document is enlarged.  The Learner may be penalised for any errors in his/her work which occur as a result of incomplete enlargement of the material

On screen assessments

  • If the default font and text size used for an on-screen assessment is not suitable for the Learner, screen magnification software programmes may provide an option to magnify the text to a suitable size
  • Learners should become familiar with the ways the screen may be adapted in on-screen exams by using practice tests

Assessment material on coloured paper

  • Assessment material may be placed onto coloured paper to assist Learners with visual impairments
  • Accredited Group must ensure that the entire document is copied as Learners may be penalised for any errors made as a result of incomplete copying

On-screen assessments

  • Learners may normally be able to select a screen background in a colour that is suited to their needs.  It is advised that Learners explore the selection available using a practice test before they take an assessment

Assessment material in audio format

  • Where there is evidence of need, assessment material may be provided in audio format
  • It is the Accredited Group’s responsibility to provide Accredited Group-devised assessment material in the precise format suitable for the Learner
  1. 3.Alternative ways of presenting Learner responses

A Learner should be provided with the means to present their responses by a method most appropriate and familiar to them, as long as the use of that method will not invalidate the requirements of the assessment.  The use of ICT is generally perceived to have a positive impact upon helping Learners with disabilities to access assessment.  ICT can normally be used for Accredited Group-devised and portfolio work unless the use of ICT is expressly prohibited by the qualification specification.  

Spoken responses using electronic recording devices, e.g. CD Rom, memory stick, audio cassette

  • Where there is evidence of need, the Learner may be permitted to record their responses electronically
  • Spoken responses will only be available for assessments where there is no requirement for the Learner to produce visual material
  1. The Use of Access Facilitators


  • A reader is a person who, when requested will read to the Learner all or part of the assessment material and the Learner’s written responses
  • The reader should not normally be the Learner’s own tutor or assessor, except in exceptional circumstances.  On no account may a relative, friend or peer of the Learner be used as a reader
  • Where there is evidence of need, a reader may be allowed in all assessments where reading is not being assessed
  • The Accredited Group should, in consultation with the Learner, decide whether the use of a reader will be an effective arrangement.  The Learner may be more comfortable with using speech or screen reading software which reads out the material, accessing the material in electronic format
  • The Accredited Group is responsible for making the necessary arrangements for the provision of a reader
  • The Accredited Group should select the reader on the basis of their ability to work effectively with the Learner.  The reader should be able to read accurately and at a reasonable rate and should have sufficient knowledge of the subject to read technical terms accurately
  • A Learner should, wherever possible, have had previous practice in working with the reader and should have used this arrangement during any training programme leading up to the assessment
  • The Accredited Group should ensure that the Learner and reader are clear about the limitations of the reader’s role
  • The Accredited Group should give the reader clear instructions regarding what they are required to do and what they may and may not do during the assessment
  • For a Learner requiring a reader and a scribe, the same person may act as both as long as permission has been given for both arrangements
  • The Learner using a reader may need to be accommodated separately so as not to disturb other Learners
  • The reader is responsible to, and should be approved by the Head of the Accredited Group or delegated responsibility

The reader:

  • Should read only as requested by the Learner.  The Learner may choose to read some parts of the assessment him/herself
  • Should read accurately.  If the reader is working with a deaf or hearing impaired Learner, the reader should articulate clearly
  • Should only read the exact working (instructions and questions) and not give meanings of words, rephrase or interpret anything
  • May consult a dictionary, where this is allowed, at the Learner’s request and read out entries
  • Should read, as often as requested, the answers already recorded but may not act as a proof reader
  • Is permitted to help a visually impaired Learner using diagrams, graphs and tables to obtain the information that the print/amended print copy would give to a sighted Learner
  • Should, if requested, give a visually impaired Learner the spelling of a word which appears on the paper, but otherwise spellings must not be given
  • Should immediately report any problems in communication to the Accredited Group

Scribe / Amanuensis

  • A scribe is a person who, in an assessment writes down or word processes a Learner’s dictated responses.  The most common need for a scribe is where a Learner has injured their arm and is unable to write
  • A scribe should not normally be the Learner’s own tutor or assessor, except in exceptional circumstances.   On no account may a relative, friend or peer of the Learner be used as a scribe
  • The Accredited Group should, in consultation with the Learner decide whether the use of a scribe is an appropriate adjustment.  As the effective use of a scribe requires high level communication skills from the Learner, the Accredited Group is advised to consider whether the Learner would be more comfortable with the use of a computer, especially where the Learner is likely to use a word processor rather than a scribe
  • For a Learner requiring a scribe and a reader, the same person may act as both, provided that permission has been given
  • The Accredited Group should select a scribe on the basis of their ability to work effectively with the Learner.  A scribe should be able to produce an accurate record of the Learner’s responses, write eligibly and/or word process at a reasonable speed and have sufficient knowledge of the subject to be able to record technical terms correctly
  • The Accredited Group is responsible for making the necessary arrangements for the provision of a scribe
  • The scribe is responsible to and should be approve by the Head of Accredited Group or the delegated responsibility
  • A Learner should, wherever possible, have had previous practice in working with the scribe
  • The Accredited Group should ensure that the Learner and scribe are clear about the limitations of the scribe’s role
  • The Accredited Group should give the scribe clear instructions regarding what s/he is required to do and what s/he is not allowed to do during the assessment

The scribe:

  • Must write down answers exactly as they are dictated
  • May not take responsibility for spelling technical words
  • Should not assist the Learner to produce any diagrammatical or graphical material.  If assistance with this is needed, approval should be obtained from BWY in advance of the assessment
  • May, at the Learner’s request, read back what has been written, but no comment must be made about any part of the Learner’s responses
  • Should immediately refer any problems in communication to the Accredited Group

For any further guidance or advice please contact the tutor in the first instance. 

APPENDIX 1 – Reasonable Adjustments Permissions Table

This table outlines the decisions on reasonable adjustments that can be made.  

  • Permitted = reasonable adjustment permitted at the discretion of the Accredited Group
Use of assistive softwarePermitted
Assessment material in enlarged formatPermitted
Assessment material on coloured paperPermitted
Assessment material in audio formatPermitted
Responses using electronic devicesPermitted

Version: 01 Effective date: 



AuthorMichelle Tarling
Ratified byTSYP Education Committee
Date RatifiedAugust 2020
Date issuedAugust 2020
Date to be reviewedAugust 2023