The Solicitors Regulation Authority and its exam provider Kaplan have acted to allay criticism that they risked ‘wilfully excluding’ disabled people in the profession’s new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
A variety of ‘reasonable adjustments’ has been introduced as the first assessments get under way, Julie Brannan, director of education and training, revealed in an article for the Gazette on Friday. These include use of popular assistive technology products, dispelling initial fears that these would be banned.
One of the most popular screen reading software packages, JAWS, will now be available to candidates. Some types of technology are already integrated at Pearson VUE test centres, said Brannan, such as providing adjustable fonts, magnification software and contrast/colour adaptations. The regulator wants to hear from applicants which technology works best for them ‘so we can find a solution that works’.
About one in 12 candidates for the first SQE assessment applied for a reasonable adjustment. Some were easy to accommodate, such as extra time for dyslexics. For most straightforward applications, decisions were made within five days.