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MCA dyslexia policy updated

In line with the latest guidance, the MCA gives extra time to examination candidates with dyslexia…

In an official statement, The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) updates its dyslexia guidance to ensure that, in its words, candidates have the support they need to succeed. A Marine Information Notice (MIN676) has been issued to all colleges, training providers and companies, candidates and MCA examiners that alter the MCA’s dyslexia policy following the latest guidance from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). 

The updated guidance will ensure candidates with dyslexia are offered a minimum of 15 minutes extra per hour, with extra time now also available. The time per hour can now be extended on the recommendation of experts on a case by case basis, with each candidate assessed and given the individual support they need. The MCA has worked in partnership with the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) as well as consulting with a range of stakeholders, including students, to ensure the guidance anticipates the varied requirements of examination candidates so they are not disadvantaged.

Warsash Maritime School at Solent University bridge simulation training facility 

This is a welcome move and acknowledgement of the difficulties that those with dyslexia may face in exam situations. In the UK alone, around 10 per cent of the population have some form of dyslexia, with four per cent suffering severely. Frequently, those affected suffer adversely in exam situations. Often, this is not due to a lack of understanding of the subject material, but due to the difficulty and slowness in putting the words or numbers to paper. As the industry laments a shortage of qualified crew and strives for more diverse representation, steps such as this may seem small, but they form part of a wider narrative of inclusion by expanding the scope of candidates that may pass through the MCA training programs and forge a career in the industry. 

Warsash Maritime School at Solent University Cadets

According to the MCA, the changes maintain compliance with Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) requirements. The new guidance refers to all MCA written examinations that lead to the issue of Certificates of Competence and are administered by the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) and The International Association of Maritime Institutions (IAMI).

Professor Carole Davis, Assistant Director for Modernising Maritime Education, said: “The MCA is committed to promoting inclusivity and we are delighted to be taking this next step forward in ensuring our educational model offers the necessary support for candidates with dyslexia. We based our updated guidance on the BDA’s latest advice, but we also sent it to targeted stakeholders for their views as well. We got great engagement and revised our guidance to take it all on board, as we value the views of everyone involved. This is just one of a number of measures the MCA are taking to help our candidates to achieve.”

Photo credit: Warsash Maritime School at Solent University

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MCA - Maritime and Coastguard Agency / Ensign

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