Hello! It has been a while since I have posted as I have been very busy with school and assessments and the like.

Today I thought I would update you on my SEN findings, which I have been hunting for over a week.

Like most schools, we are getting our heads around the new specification GCSE and although we have begun to get to grips with the controlled assessment tasks we hadn’t really begun to look into the reading and listening examinations until this month. We wanted to give our pupils a trial go at these two skill papers, so that the students have an idea of how the paper works, and also so that we had an idea of how they would achieve. Interestingly, most of my candidates were able to achieve a C grade or higher (bar one or two weaker students, who still managed a D at least).


For me, the greatest difference has been the many red herrings in the Spanish papers. They hide a lot of information in texts, and deliberately put more information in than necessary to weed out the skim readers from the real people who understand, so practice at these papers is certainly vital.

There are two pupils in our current Year 11 who take a language and have a learning need and when we conducted the listening examination we realised that we are no longer allowed to pause the audio playing (AQA) and we began to wonder what we would do for a pupil that required extra time. After a very long hunt, I found out that JCQ/AQA allow the audio to be paused for a pupil that requires extra time, so long as they are accommodated separately to the other candidates, and extra time is provided for quite easily for the reading exam.

“For taped/recorded examinations, the centre must request an extra recording from the awarding body, unless they normally receive enough spares. Centres should contact the awarding body for advice on how the extra time is to be applied” JCQ Access Arrangements document, section .1.6

The speaking controlled assessment task allows for no extra time, as the task lasts between 4-6 minutes any way, however, I believe that extra time is allowed at Stage 3 for the writing task (the writing up moment of the task). “23. Are candidates with a disability eligible for extra time for Stage 3 of the controlled assessment? Yes, candidates with a disability are eligible for extra time at Stage 3 as timing is not part of the assessment objectives.” AQA’s FAQ for CA tasks, Qu 23.




  1. Hi,
    A very useful blog post – thanks! Please can you point me to the location of the info that specifically states that the recording in an AQA MFL exam can be paused? I found the JCQ advice regarding contacting an examining body, but couldn’t find any info from AQA themseles. Many thanks in advance.

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