Using Texthelp tools for exams access arrangements

At Bett 2023 we hosted live Texthelp Academy sessions at our stand, focused on how our digital tools support inclusive education. Our team presented to educators from schools, colleges and universities about exams, STEM and accessibility. In this blog series, we’ll be sharing our key takeaways from the sessions, starting with exam access arrangements. So whether you weren’t at Bett this year or missed a session or two, we have you covered.

Accessibility in exams

512,085 - this is the number of pupils in all UK school sectors who qualify for Access Arrangements.

In each of these schools, there will be approximately 40 students who require a reader or scribe. If we take the cost of a human reader at £12 per hour and multiply this by these 40 students across 27 GCSE hours, this means the cost of exams with human readers and scribes total on average £13,000.

How do we support students with access arrangements and reduce the cost of exams with technology?

Reading & writing support

Read&Write is the most widely used computer reader in the UK. It’s a software toolbar with an easy-to-use exam mode providing text-to-speech and dictation support.

Text to Speech

“A computer reader is an acceptable arrangement since it allows the candidate to independently meet the requirements of the reading standards.”

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)


Dictation in Read&Write turns the spoken word into text which means students can work independently without a Scribe in exams.

Accessible maths exams

It’s estimated that 60% of individuals with dyslexia will have difficulties with maths. This means that your students who qualify for access arrangements may also need support in maths and science exams.


Our maths software Equatio has features that help students who need to have maths read aloud. With exam mode students can use the Screenshot Reader to provide audio playback for any maths content in exams.

What about Chromebook?

In the UK, more and more schools are moving to Chromebook and Google Workspace for Education. OrbitNote can be used to securely support students with access arrangements working on Chromebooks.


The seamless workflow makes it easy for Exams Officers to set up exams for students to access and complete using text-to-speech, screen masking and a digital typewriter tool.

Why use technology in exams?

“SENCos may wish to consider the use of technology to a much greater extent instead of readers and scribes. Computer readers, examination reader pens, speech recognition technology and word processors not only allow candidates to work independently but are also a better preparation for further and higher education and the world of employment.”


Our tools meet the JCQ/SQA guidelines as a normal way of working accommodation. This means that access arrangements mirror the support that students receive in a normal classroom environment. This helps to promote student confidence and independence, whether they’re in class, at home or sitting exams.

Keep reading


Make maths accessible on every device with Equatio.


Texthelp’s classroom accessibility toolkit.