Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2013/14 JCQ Regulations

Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2013/14 JCQ Regulations
document is now online.

Following concerns over  abuse of the allocation of 25% extra time (see below), the regulations have become much more prescriptive and demanding. Centres must be satisfied that candidates have an impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect, giving rise to persistent and significant difficulties.


GCSEs: ‘extra time’ rule overhauled to stamp out abuse
Published on August 22, 2013.

ClaroSpeak Predict & Complete

The latest ClaroSpeak update brings Word Prediction and Completion free to
all ClaroSpeak users. Word Prediction and Completion can speed up typing,
help with choosing the right word and let users use words without worrying
about how to spell them.

Word Prediction and Completion in ClaroSpeak takes account of word frequency
and previous words. There is an initial Word Prediction list loaded on
startup, and ClaroSpeak can learn new words as they are typed. The predicted
words appear on the keyboard and can be spoken. Train the word prediction
dictionary or create a new one from a word list.

ClaroSpeak with Word Prediction and Completion is now available in 14
languages. For a full list of our language and voice list available through
in app purchase through ClaroSpeak click here.

ClaroSpeak is a quality text-to-speech app for proofreading text through
listening, helping with reading and literacy development and creating audio
files from any text. Advanced features make proofing and editing more
accurate and users more efficient. ClaroSpeak offers the option of visual
highlighting in sync with the spoken words – and a great range of colour
and font settings to allow for optimum reading.

More Information

ClaroSpeak is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

To find out more go to the ClaroSpeak Web Page

For more information about the rest of Claro Software’s range of apps, go to, email or call +44 (0)1772

Claro Software

Lancashire House, 24 Winckley Square, Preston, PR1 3JJ
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 977 888 Fax: +44 (0) 870 132 7471

EPIC Artful Asks competition

This message was sent to Kate Saunders of the BDA.

Dear Kate,


We thought you might like to know that today EPIC, the young people’s advisory group to the government on SEN reforms, has launched the Artful Asks competition.


The competition is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in the special educational needs and disability (SEND) reform process under the Children and Families Bill. These are the changes government wants to make to the way disabled children are supported.


EPIC wants to hear the views of all disabled young people in England and Wales. We know that government and policy is not interesting for everyone, but everyone has an opinion and wants to ask questions about the changes to education, health and care that will affect them – and we want to hear them too! EPIC wants you to ask a question in a piece of Art. This can be any type of art you want – a video, short film, a song, photo, a collage – anything at all! The only condition is you will need to be able to e-mail the piece of art to


The competition will run between 1st August to 22nd September 2013 and the winner will be chosen by the 14 members of EPIC. Part of the prize is to meet with Edward Timpson, Under Secretary of State for Children and Families. The winner will have the chance to ask their question in person. They will also win a visit to the House of Commons and either a trip on the London Eye or a Thames River tour.


You can access full details about the competition, including rules and a consent form here.


Information about the wider work of EPIC can be found here.


EPIC works in partnership with the Department for Education and is supported by the Council for Disabled Children.


Best wishes,


Joanna Carr

Participation Officer


8 Wakley Street



Tel: 020 7833 6842

Mobile: 07889 173 875

Fax: 020 7843 6313



More money for teaching Maths, English & SEN in FE Colleges

I am grateful to Jean Hutchins for bringing this to our attention:

31 July, 2013 at 11:15pm

Money to improve numeracy and literacy teaching to young people was
announced by Vince Cable.

Press release: Bursaries of up to £20,000 offered to teach maths,

English or Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Non-verbal Learning Deficit: what is this?

Recently, I met a young man who had received an identification of mild dyslexia and Non-verbal Learning Deficit (NLD). When I first met him, I had been impressed by his mature verbal skills, his accomplished drawing skills and his calm and quiet manner. His parents had sought an answer to the combination of difficulties that he was facing each day in his school. The identification of Non-Verbal Learning Deficit was encouraging news for his parents as it recognised some great strengths and gave them a real insight into his difficulties along with some very clear guidance and recommendations for his teachers to help him cope in the busy classroom.

As NLD is not very common it may be difficult for teachers and tutors working with children with dyslexia to identify this subtle learning difference. NLD syndrome reveals itself in impaired abilities to organise the visual spatial field and/or accurately read non-verbal signals and cues. Although academic progress is made pupils with NLD will have difficulty working in situations where speed and adaptability are required.

A pupil with NLD generally presents deviations in three broad aspects of development:

  • motor coordination, including fine graphomotor skills (handwriting)


  • visual spatial organisation, including faulty spatial perceptions and difficulties with spatial relations (mathematics and number concepts)


  • social, including lack of ability to comprehend non-verbal communication, deficits in social judgement and social interaction.


Children with NLD generally have early speech and vocabulary development, remarkable rote memory skills, attention to detail, early reading skills development and excellent spelling skills. In addition, these children have the verbal ability to express themselves eloquently. A child with NLD may present as a very articulate, motivated and cooperative young person who can relate well to adults.

A common problem for children with NLD is a lack of awareness amongst parents and professionals and therefore a delay in obtaining an accurate identification. Often Autistic Spectrum Disorder is suspected. Difficulties are generally picked up late because reading and spelling may be quite strong. However inferential reading comprehension is weak. Mathematics is often the first academic subject to be viewed as problematic because of the spatial and conceptual aspects of mathematics. These can be a problem due to spatial and fine motor difficulties. Generally, handwriting is poor so the whole business of setting out work neatly and in line will be affected. Organisational skills can be weak particularly in written work so writing stories or essays or anything requiring sequencing may be difficult.

So, as a parent of a child with NLD or a tutor supporting the child, the areas which give the most cause for concern would be a very slow processing speed for visual tasks, spatial discrimination and fine motor tasks. The skills which the child excels at: vocabulary skills, attention to detail and literacy skills could be used to the child’s advantage by presenting work verbally as much as possible or using speech to text software. Mathematics should be supported with the use of concrete tools for as long as needed, with a calculator, clear lined and squared paper and addressing specific difficulties using multisensory methods to support the development of number system.

As the pupil develops, and moves onto secondary school and beyond, additional time for work and examinations should be given. Also targeted guidance to understand social and non-verbal communication will be needed. As with all students, but in particular for students with a specific learning difficulty, the use of ICT should be considered at all times.

Sue McKenna. References:

Keeping A Head in School   Dr. Mel Levine .Educators Publishing Service Inc,Cambridge,MA.

Eric Development Team

South Hants Patoss meeting – June 17th – new venue

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF VENUE to that advertised in our latest magazine.

The meeting will now take place at Hounsdown School, Jacob’s Gutter Lane, Totton,  Southampton, Hampshire .SO40 9FT

A ‘hands-on’ demonstration of Crick Software will take place, followed by the AGM. Crick software  is suitable  for Primary, Secondary and home use.

Contact : to book your place.

Going to University with dyslexia? About the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

Who is eligible?

Higher education students living in England with any of the following:

  • disability
  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia (or other SpLD)

What is it?

A non-means tested, non-repayable grant to cover specialist equipment and non-medical helper support.

In dyslexia terms this usually means:

  • specialist 1:1 support from a dyslexia-trained professional
  • assistive software such as text to speech or mind-mapping applications
  • digital voice recorder

How can I apply?

You must have a full diagnostic assessment report done since you were 16 by a specialist assessor with an assessment practising certificate – either a specialist teacher (STA) or an educational psychologist (EP).

Exam Access Arrangements reports are not enough. Your school or college may be able to advise, or you can find a list of specialist assessors through the Hampshire Dyslexia Association or PATOSS.
Try to book early – many assessors do not work over the summer.


A full diagnostic assessment will give an up-to-date insight into your pattern of strengths and weaknesses and clearly state whether you have dyslexia. Assessments typically cost between £350 and £600; STAs are usually cheaper than EPs.  If you also have any medical condition it will help if you get medical evidence from your GP and add it to the same application.

The application process

This can seem a bit daunting – but it is worth persevering.

If you are applying to Student Finance England (SFE) for your student loan, you will also apply to them for DSA and you can use the ‘short’ DSA1 form.
Part-time, self-funded or postgraduate students must use the ‘full’ DSA1 form.
Health Sciences students with an NHS bursary apply to the NHS for DSA.




  1. Send your application to SFE with a copy of your full assessment report.


  1. If your application is accepted, they will tell you to book a ‘needs assessment’. The Wessex Needs Assessment Centre covers the local area:


  1. Your needs assessment report, outlining the support you will need, will be sent to you and to SFE. Check your emails!


  1. SFE will send you a letter or email telling you what funding they have approved and give you instructions for ordering your equipment.


  1. SFE will pay suppliers direct – you do not have to get involved in that side of it. The NHS will credit your account and expect you to order, pay and send them the receipts.

Accessing support at University

Whichever university you go to, it is essential that you register with the dyslexia support services as soon as possible after you enrol.
Take your diagnostic and needs assessment reports with you.
If you have already arranged your DSA, the specialist advisors will be able to help you book specialist 1:1 support and also make arrangements for additional exam arrangements. If you have not been able to get a full diagnostic assessment, they should be able to arrange this – take your old reports with you. The cost may be cheaper than ‘going private’ – it depends on individual university policy – but it is unlikely to be free.

Useful websites:


Jane Warren, MSc (SpLD), AMBDA, APC

Specialist Dyslexia Practitioner and SeniorTeachingFellow
University ofSouthampton

Tough new GCSEs may disadvantage SEN students.

Jean Hutchins has raised our awareness on BDA forum:

Times Educational Supplement, Friday 22 March 2013, pages 12 and 13.
Tough new GCSEs may disadvantage SEN students.

Students with dyslexia and other special educational needs … may need
supervised rest breaks to cope with the longer exam papers.

Sue Flohr, from the British Dyslexia Association, said: “We don’t think
rest breaks will solve the problem for dyslexics, who will be penalised
for their short-term memory and speed of processing. Breaks could
actually exacerbate these problems because they will make exams even
longer and pupils will find it difficult to refocus.”

Adult Dyslexia Report

In the 40 years that the British Dyslexia Association has been campaigning there has been many changes in the world of dyslexia, some of them good.

In light of this milestone, the British Dyslexia Association has produced a report looking back at the last 40 years and has made recommendations for the future.

In partnership with The Dyslexia Foundation and after consulting 100 organisations, this report is a wide ranging and comprehensive assessment of the current provision for adults with dyslexia.

The link to the full report is here:

Lack of evidence puts the brakes on SEN reforms

See this link to the Times Educational Supplement:

Edward Timpson, Minister, admits pilot work on the changes is still ’embryonic’. There is particular concern about the costs of implementing this important new legislation and on seeing the effects of the first education, health and care plans as they are coming into fruition nationally, in the pilot schemes.

The Minister  announced the extension of the SEN and Disability Pathfinders for 18 months to run through to September 2014. The Minister made this statement while giving evidence to the Education Select Committee on the proposed SEN and disability reforms.

The Minister stated that “the overwhelming view is that we are moving in the right direction, but we want to get this right and if that means listening for a little longer, then we will do that.

The Minister also assured the committee that families’ current protections under the existing statementing system will be carried through to the next system. This includes the right to request an assessment, which within the provisions will be extended to GPs also.