Children with certain difficulties and conditions can apply for additional time to complete exams.  If your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, for example, the school can apply for 25% extra time to complete their exam.

Clearly it’s not just a case of submitting an application and getting a tick in the box, but many pupils may not be getting that additional time, who need it.  The first step is to establish that your child has a valid reason and make the application.

How does a pupil qualify for extra time?

It must be established that the pupil has a significant and long-term impairment that causes them to be well below average in relation to the speed at which they are able to work, whether that’s reading, writing or comprehension.

This will result in an assessor reviewing their case – and that will require provision of evidence that covers health records, care plans, educational track record and will need to be supported the child’s teacher.  The teacher will need to show that this pupil normally needs extra time for their work, so this is not just a ‘one-off’ situation.

The bodies that monitor and assess these applications are the exam regulator, Ofqual and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).  They do have systems in place to carefully check applications, so it’s not easy to get this extra time – but many children who need it don’t get that time, simply because they don’t submit an application.

The latest surveys suggest that private school pupils, by percentage, are more successful in getting extra exam time.  This is not because they are privileged, but because private schools often have the staff resources to make applications that state schools don’t always have available.

If you think your child need more time to complete their exams, it’s time to start a conversation with the school well before the exam ‘season’ gets going.