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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

6.2.8: Concessions Procedure for Formal University Examinations


1. No party involved in the concessions process should presume that a concession will be granted.

2. A concession may be sought to accommodate the following:

a. to allow additional time (see below);

b. to allow a student to be in a different room;

c. to provide a scribe/amanuensis, a computer or other specialist equipment;

d. to allow supervised rest breaks.

3. Guidance on concessions for students with sporting commitments is outlined in Section 2.4.6.


4. If a concession is sought for physical circumstances under which a student may sit a University Examination, the following procedure should be followed:

a. The Chair of the Board of Examiners and/or Durham University Disability Support (DS) are responsible for applying for a concession. This should be done in consultation with the student's college/society;

b. The request should be sent to Student Registry;

c. Student Registry will ensure that support is requested from all other departments for whom the concession is relevant;

d. Student Registry should send a copy of the outcome of the concession request to the student's college/society, all the departments responsible for the programmes/modules for which the student is registered, and, where appropriate, the Director of Combined Honours/Deputy Head of Faculty (Natural Sciences);

5. Examination concessions should only be applied for in exceptional cases; i.e. cases where there are medical reasons or other good cause;

6. Where such concessions are foreseeable they should be requested no later than the end of February.

7. Special arrangements cannot be made for students who fail to attend the examination at the proper time.

8. Disability Support is authorised to request examination concessions for students with disabilities. The concession request form should be forwarded to Student Registry and a copy should be sent to the student, the college, and all the academic departments concerned.

9. A concession may be granted for the whole duration of a student's programme of study where the disability itself is relatively unchanging and where the effect of the disability on the examination situation is unlikely to vary much from year to year.

10. Where the disability and/or its effect on the assessment situation is likely to vary, a new concession must be applied for each year. In such cases the student must return to DS during the Michaelmas Term so that his/her situation can be re-evaluated and appropriate support recommended.

Standard Guidelines for the Allowance of Additional Time

11. The standard guidelines for concession requests in respect of additional time to be allowed for examinations are:

a. Hearing impaired students: 15 minutes additional time should be allowed, if requested. Some students may also be allowed additional writing time, to a maximum of 25% of the duration of the examination.

b. Visually impaired students: additional time of up to 50% of the duration of the examination.

c. Students with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) or Autistic Spectrum Conditions:

i. normally, 25% additional time;

ii. in ALL cases a full psychologist's report, or appropriate medical evidence, is required.

12. An assessment of a SpLD carried out in accordance with SASC guidelines should be considered valid for University purposes.

13. A student with an assessment/diagnosis over 3 years old at the time of entry to the University should have it checked by the DS Advisor in the first instance.

14. If the student, DS or the Board of Studies feels that this is not satisfactory, a new psychologist's assessment will be required.

15. Additional time may need to be allowed for individual circumstances and the Disability Adviser/Examinations Officer should always be able to exercise his/her judgement when considering individual cases.

Outline of Responsibilities


Section responsible


Concession applied for

DS, or Chair of Board of Examiners in consultation with the student's college/society


Concession processed

Student Registry


Concession granted

Examinations Officer


Concession letter despatched to student, college and all module departments

Student Registry


Examinations pack prepared

Student Registry


Delivery of examination pack each session from Examinations Office to College/Department

Invigilator approved by Student Registry



College, department or Student Registry



Student Registry


Completed script returned to Student Registry