Frequently Asked Questions

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Storage of Records

Q. How long do I need to keep assessment record forms and reports?

A. Tutors and Assessors who work in a freelance capacity will almost certainly store personal data and student records.

Patoss, in consultation with our legal partners, recommends that records should be kept for as long as the time limit for civil proceedings would apply:

  • Where a service is contractually agreed, for 6 years.
    If it is a matter of a service contractually agreed, records should be kept for younger learners until they reach the age of 24, or for 6 years after the contract finished for those over 18 at the time of the contracted service.
  • For personal injury, for 3 years.
    In this context 'personal injury' can be construed as psychological. If the individual is under 18 then the 3 year period starts from the individual's 18th birthday.

Either paper or electronic records can be kept. When keeping electronic records, it is important to consider security arrangements (just as you would for paper copies) such as encryption or passwords, and also how files are backed up. 

The General Data Protection Regulations [GDPR] require every organisation processing personal data to register with the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office). This can be done online or by telephone and further information can be found here (yearly fee): https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/   If you store any data on your home computer or keep any paper records you will need to register.  If you work for an education provider they will have their own systems in place. 


Career Pathway

Q. How do I train to become a specialist teacher/assessor?

A. Most specialist teacher/assessor courses are offered over two years (part-time) or inmodules, with the first year or first set of modules leading to a specialist qualification in the teaching and support of students with dyslexia. These are generally accredited by the BDA at Approved Teacher Status (ATS) or Approved Practitioner Status (APS). A qualification at this level enables you to apply for a Patoss Teaching Practising Certificate (TPC). It also means you can work as an NMH Specialist Tutor in Higher Education.  The second year, or part of the programme, builds on the first to provide a specialist qualification in the assessment of SpLD/dyslexia. These post-graduate courses are generally accredited at AMBDA level, and will enable you to gain an SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate (APC).  The SASC website contains useful information about course providers:  http://www.sasc.org.uk/SASC_Default.aspx?id=16   
You will need to contact course providers direct for course information including start dates and fees.

Assessment Practising Certificate holders are qualified to assess and diagnose students, including students who are progressing to or studying in Higher Education settings and who require a report to support an application for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). They can also carry out access arrangements assessments. 


Q. I am starting out as an independent tutor/assessor. Do you have any useful tips for becoming self-employed?

A. Becoming self-employed you need to consider: 

DBS
If you work as a freelance teacher or assessor you will need to take out a DBS Enhanced Disclosure. Please let us know if you would like to arrange this through Patoss. 

Insurance
Freelance tutors and assessors need appropriate insurance (professional indemnity, plus public liability if you are working outside of a school or college, e.g. in your own home).  Patoss Professional Memberships have an insurance option. Please contact us if you would like information.

Data Protection and ICO registration
As an independent tuto/assessor you are likely to be storing confidential data on individuals in your own home. You will, therefore, need to register as a data handler. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires every organisation processing personal data to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). This can be done online or by telephone and further information can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/  It costs £35 per year to be on the register.

Self Assessment
From a business perspective, if you are going to be working on a self-employed basis, you will need to register for Self Assessment with HM Revenue & Customs as a sole trader. More information  can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader  
You will need to ensure that you keep careful records of all your expenses and outgoings and you may need to engage the services of an accountant or book keeper.  More details of other allowable expenses can be found on the self-assessment website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/index.htm 

Invoicing
We suggest reports are not released to individuals until after payment has been received. Invoicing procedures should be clarified with client prior to work commencing.  

Charges
Charges should reflect all the additional costs a private Specialist Teacher/Assessor incurs, including those outlined above. There are so many variables it is very difficult to provide advice on appropriate charges.  These can, for example, depend on the skills and experience of the Specialist Teacher/Assessor; what other professionals are charging locally; whether the tuition takes place in a school or college, the student's home or the assessor's home and whether you are able to build a good working relationship with parents and schools and consequently a good reputation in your local area. 

Professional Considerations
It is also worth being mindful that in many areas schools and colleges no longer have access to specialists, e.g. County SpLD Teachers/Advisors or have the budget to buy this sort of expertise in.  Working with families who are not happy with the education system, often because their child's complex needs have not been recognised, is challenging and often requires expertise in the wider SpLDs and conditions such as autism.  It is therefore important to update your CPD regularly (and keep your eye on Patoss bulletins and our website, as well as the SASC website).   Ideally assessors will have access to other professionals/APC holders so they can discuss difficult cases.  Knowing when to refer on is crucial.    


Access Arrangements

Q. Could you send me a recommended list of tests to use for access arrangements for GCSE and GCE students.

A. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) requires that assessors use up to date, nationally standardised, age appropriate tests. They do not publish a recommended list of tests for exam access arrangements, as there are many different options.     

An access arrangements assessor will need a range of tests that cover the areas that provide assessment evidence for each of the access arrangements for which evidence is required. These include: 

  • Untimed, single word reading
    Options include AAB, WRAT4, WIAT-II-UK-T, Single Word Reading Test (SWRT)
  • Reading comprehension of text or sentences
    Options include WIAT-II-UK-T., GORT5, YARC Secondary, WRAT4 Sentence Comprehension, Access Reading Test, Gray Silent Reading Test
  • Text Reading Speed (measures of reading fluency can be used)
    Options include WIAT-II-UK-T (up to 16.11), GORT5 (up to 23.11), YARC (up to 16), AAB (Fluency subtest).
  • Spelling
    Options include HAST2, AAB, WRAT4, WIAT-II-UK-T
  • Free writing speed. This must be taken from a measure of free writing speed only. DASH or DASH 17+ Free Writing subtest (reported as a standard score)
  • Cognitive processing measures that impact on speed of working.
    This could include phonological processing (CTOPP2); short term/working memory (e.g. TOMAL2 ACI, WRAML2 ACI and WMI, TIPS); visual processing (e.g. SDMT), reading efficiency (TOWRE2). 

It is worth noting that there are numerous reading tests (single word, speed and comprehension), spelling tests and processing measures to select from, and those listed above are only some options.   

A useful list of STEC approved tests, albeit compiled for post 16 settings, can be found on the SASC website  http://sasc.org.uk/SASCDocuments/REVISED%20guidelines-March%202016%20a.pdf  Tests on this list which provide assessment evidence in the relevant areas can be used. However, it must be noted that the list does not include tests with a ceiling age below 18 years. 


Q. Who can carry out assessments for access arrangements in JCQ examinations?

A. It is the responsibility of the Head of Centre to appoint assessors for his/her centre. There are now three categories of assessor, as follows:

  • an access arrangements assessor who has successfully completed a postgraduate course at or equivalent to Level 7, including at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment.
  • a specialist assessor with a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate, as awarded by Patoss, Dyslexia Action or BDA and listed on the SASC website;
  • an appropriately qualified psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council;

APC holders and HCPC registered psychologists may conduct assessments to be recorded within Section C of Form 8 and, where necessary, undertake full diagnostic assessments.

Access arrangements assessors may only carry out assessments to be recorded within Section C of Form 8.
Evidence of all assessors’ qualifications must be held on file within the centre and presented to the JCQ Centre Inspector by the SENCo. 


Q. The JCQ requires that access arrangements assessors complete ‘100 hours relating to individual assessment.’ What does this mean?

A. The reference to at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment includes lecture, seminar and tutorial time, study time, assessment time and time spent completing assignments.

  1. Courses accredited at AMBDA or APC Level would meet this requirement, as would post-graduate courses at or equivalent to Level 7 that provide a qualification in access arrangements assessment, such as the Patoss AAA: Assessing for Access Arrangements.

Details on the Patoss AAA can be found here: Link to AAA flyer 


Q. How do I train to become an access arrangements assessor?

A. Access arrangements assessors must have a relevant qualification in assessment (see pages 82 and 83 of the JCQ Regulations and Guidance for more details).  http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance/access-arrangements-and-reasonable-adjustments-2016-2017

The Patoss AAA course provides a qualification in assessing for access arrangements assessor. It meets the JCQ criteria for an access arrangements assessorLink to AAA course information
Holders of a specialist teaching qualification and the Patoss AAA can progress to the Patoss/University of South Wales course to gain an APC. Link to Patoss/USW course

Alternatively, there are a number of training providers who offer a relevant postgraduate diploma in assessment, leading to an SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate (APC).  Assessors who successfully complete this level of qualification can undertake both exam access arrangements and full diagnostic assessments. Details of courses leading to an APC can be found on the SASC website: http://www.sasc.org.uk/SASC_Default.aspx?id=16


Assessment Practising Certificate APC

Q. Do you have any documents to help me with my APC renewal?

A. The SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC) provides clear guidance as to the criteria applied in the review of diagnostic reports in support of renewal of Assessment Practising Certificates. This can be found on the SASC website: http://www.sasc.org.uk/  

In addition, Patoss provides a range of guidance documents exclusively for members, which will be helpful for assessment report writing. These resources can be found within the member’s area of the website and are accessible when you log-in to your account.  


Data Protection - GDPR

Q. I have a lot of questions about the General Data Protection Regulations [GDPR]. Do you have any information?

We have produced a number of documents and FAQs around the new General Data Protection Regulations [GDPR] which can be found on this page: GDPR FAQs. These are available to members only.


Insurance

Q. What can you tell me about  Professional Indemnity insurance through Patoss?

We have a whole page devoted to questions around insurance. Please visit  our Insurance page.