Published: 11 May 2021

A reasonable adjustment relates to any actions that help to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty, which may place the learner at a disadvantage during the delivery of a qualification or an assessment situation. 

This time, we explores how reasonable adjustments can be used to support learners who do not have English as their first language: 

“We live and work alongside people who are perfectly capable of doing their jobs, of communicating with others and otherwise functioning as a full member of society, but do not have English as their first language.  

Excluding people from learning opportunities that can improve their prospects, where their first language might be seen as a barrier, is not only often illegal in the UK, but also short-sighted and limiting, both for the learner, the community they live in and society as a whole. 

“RLSS UK is dedicated to helping people enjoy water safely: more people trained to save lives is a boon to any community, so where RLSS UK can support a learner in this situation through a written assessment, I believe we should do what we can, without compromising the integrity or rigour of the assessment process. 

Here’s a quick reminder of the four guiding principles that we adhere to when we grant reasonable adjustments, the adjustments should: 

  • Not invalidate the assessment requirements of the qualification 
  • Not give the learner an unfair advantage 
  • Reflect the learner’s normal way of working 
  • Be based on the individual need of the learner 

“And when the agreed principles are implemented during the assessment, they must ensure that: 

  • They do not impact on any other learner 
  • Will only provide the intended learner with the necessary assistance, without giving them an unfair advantage over others 
  • The ATC/Ps are clear about the extent to which the learner is affected by the disability or difficulty 

“So once again, the candidate and the ATP/C are secure in the knowledge that as much as been done as possible, to support the leaner, without impacting on the qualification. 

“I speak from experience when I say, that there have been many times in my life where English phrases and terminology have left me baffled as to their true meaning or context, and I have English as my first language…imagine if I didn’t! 

“So for those people, here are some examples of reasonable adjustments available for written assessments: 

  • Use of a paper-based bi-lingual dictionary 
  • The presence of a reader (not used as a translator) 
  • The use of a scribe to write the answers in English 

Like all RLSS UK ATP/C policies, the ‘Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations Policy’ has been created as a template for ATC/Ps to use to create their own policies, in order to comply with the ATC/ATP Terms and Conditions. All policies have been agreed by the regulators too. 

“There are always anomalies or situations that don’t easily fit into the policy’s framework, in these circumstances we encourage the candidate or ATC/P to get in touch with the Compliance Team, as soon as possible prior to the assessment. We’re here to help.” 

You can access the ATC/P policies here: