In November 2018, following discussions with members and partners around the difficulties of the Life in the UK test (for permanent residency in the UK) for dyslexic people, we wrote to the Home Secretary requesting information on what support someone with dyslexia could access to help them sit the test.
We're pleased to be able to share the Home Office's response to our query here.
Our original query can be read here.
According to the Home Office:
The tests have a number of accessibility features built in which candidates can self-access when they attend the centre. These are:
• background and font colour: the candidate can select a light grey background with black text, a cream coloured background with black text, or a black background with yellow text.
• audio: headphones are provided at every workstation and the candidates can press the 'Play Audio' button to hear the questions
If additional access arrangements are required then these are determined on a case by case basis and we request that the candidate provides evidence such as an Educational Psychologist Assessment or documentation confirming previous Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) agreed exam arrangements, to support their request.
As these are based on the individual there are no set arrangements in place to support dyslexia but examples of arrangements that can be delivered are:
• 100% extra time (where rest breaks are required 100% extra time is given to allow for the breaks)
• online test with reader and scribe who will select the answer as given by the candidate
• British Sign Language interpreter
• closed session with no other candidates
• use of own coloured filter on the screen
• adaptive equipment such as high contrast keyboard, larger screen or ergonomic mouse
The list above is not exhaustive but covers the most common access arrangements. We would advise people with dyslexia to contact their local test centre to discuss their specific needs.
There is discretion to waive the knowledge of language and life in the UK requirement if, because of a person's long-term physical or mental condition, it would be unreasonable for them to meet it. To apply for a waiver the applicant would need to ask a relevant medical practitioner to complete the medical waiver form which can be found on the Gov.UK website.
Each application is considered on its own merits and will depend on the facts in each case.