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Development and trialling of exam accommodations for schools, teachers and exam officers

The Autism Education Trust has been awarded a contract by the Department for Education to continue its well-established work in building capacity across the education system for children and young people with autism.

As part of this contract DfE requires AET to develop specific guidance on exam accommodations available to pupils with autism and to look at examples of Mathematics and English GCSE exam papers to identify barriers to access for pupils with autism. This brief describes the various elements and required outputs of the work stream and which will be reflected in the contract entered into with the successful provider.

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Purpose

Develop specific guidance on exam accommodations for education providers, teachers and exams officers and examination bodies. A separate strand of the work is to identify barriers to fair testing in sample Mathematics and English papers and potential options for their removal without removing subject challenge.

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Background

The Autism Education Trust
The Autism Education Trust (AET) was founded in 2007 by Ambitious about Autism, The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and The National Autistic Society (NAS) and has received consistent support from government since that time.

The vision of the AET is that all children and young people with autism should receive an education which enables them to engage in society as active citizens and that their families and the professionals who work with them are informed, supported and equipped to enable this to be achieved.

In order to achieve this, the AET has a mission to build capacity in the education system for children and young people with autism.
The AET achieves its mission through:
   •    the identification and promotion of high standards in autism education practice
   •    the identification and promotion of effective practitioner competency in support of those standards
   •    providing a platform for training in effective practice in support of improved competency
   •    disseminating information regarding evidence-based and good practice approaches/services to policy makers, commissioners and practitioners
   •    providing an interface between users, practitioners and policy makers in respect of service development
   •    ensuring that full and proper engagement of stakeholders informs its work and facilitating the engagement of stakeholders with government

The AET is in a unique position to carry out these activities because of:
   •    Its independence
   •    The partnership it supports between voluntary bodies and voluntary bodies and the maintained sector
   •    The active role of people with autism in the work and governance of the AET.
   •    Its national brief
   •    Its focus on practical activity in education contexts

A core element of the AET offer is its professional development (training) programme delivered through its regional delivery partners. This training centres around three ‘tiers’: ‘Making Sense of Autism’, ‘Good Autism Practice’ and ‘Leading Good Autism Practice’ within each of the three education phases – ‘Early Years’, ‘School’ and ‘Post 16’. It is complemented by other training modules.

As a consequence of previous DfE funding, the materials developed to support this training are recognised as being of a very high quality and the programme’s delivery through its regional delivery partners has proven to be successful in securing excellent reach and impact. The outputs of this project should be of the same standard.

Within the context of the Children and Families Act 2014, and the Equalities Act, Schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for children with disabilities. A range of adjustments are currently available for use by schools and exams officers, but their existence and application is not well known or used consistently.

Over the past two years, the DfE has hosted groups of autistic advocates and parents of autistic children sharing their experiences with teachers, researchers, Ofqual, the Exam Officers Association and representatives of the autism sector including the NAS and Autism Education Trust (AET).

The DfE has commissioned this piece of work as a first step in improving fair access to examinations for pupils with autism.

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Key deliverables.

There will be 5 key deliverables:

   1.    Recruit working group on exam accommodations, develop and deliver guidance including the design of print ready PDF guidance in AET house style for communication to education providers, teachers and exams officers.  
   2.    Select a working group to review English and Mathematics paper wording, structure and wording.
   3.    Hold a workshop to review 1 English Language GCSE Paper
   4.    Hold a workshop to review 1 Mathematics GCSE Paper
   5.    Produce Guidance on good practice in setting accessible questions in English and Maths including design of print-ready PDF guidance document for communication to examination-setting organisations

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Key skills and capabilities.

   •    Good understanding of the regulatory and delivery frameworks for public examinations
   •    Experience in applying exam accommodations for public examinations
   •    Good understanding of the issues faced by children with autism when taking exams and the concerns of their families
   •    Ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders including AET Young Person’s Panel
   •    Good facilitation and organisational skills
   •    Good analytical and report writing skills

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Timescales

The delivery timetable is set out below:

 Activity  By when
Provider appointed  June 2017
Identify and recruit working group members and hold first workshop
30th June 2017
Present brief and consult AET Young Person’s Panel
Saturday 9th September 2017
Hold English GCSE workshop
30th September 2017
Hold Maths GCSE workshop
30th September 2017
Deliver Guidance on good practice in accessible question-setting 31st March 2018
Deliver guidance on exam accommodations 31st March 2018

 

 

 

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Budget  

The maximum funding for this contract is £10,000 inclusive of any VAT. This is to include all travel and expenses, room hire and engagement of other parties (see below).

In bidding for the contract, we would advise prospective providers to allow £750 per day to engage an AET partner in delivering existing materials to stakeholders as above. We would also advise allowing an element to meet the travel expenses of parents and carers who agree to engage.
We would anticipate professionals engaging Free of Charge.

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Further information

Organisations or individuals who are interested in competing for this work should submit the proforma available with this brief by  Tuesday 23rd May 2017.   Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Thursday 1st June 2017.

For an overview of the AET please see the AET website at www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk
For individual queries please email our Administrator, Joanne Driver at Joanne@autismeducationtrust.org.uk . We will either respond to your query by email or arrange a phone call if necessary.

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Relevant links

The AET programme

Proforma