Hi to anyone following this post!
Our exams officer emailed some of the exam boards about this and we received the following response from AQA Irregularities Team:
Q. We wanted to find out if candidates are allowed to use stress balls in exams? We have a number of anxious candidates that are requesting the use of these.
Yes, you can use them but you will apply on AAO using ‘other’ (Access Arrangements).
You must check before each exam to ensure there is nothing written on them that could be used to give them an advantage. This is particularly important if they allow students to bring their own.
You need to make sure that the use of a fidget toy does not distract other students eg nothing that makes loud or distracting noises if they are in a room with others.
If a candidate has a fidget toy and acts in an inappropriate manner to deliberately distract other students then you would be expected to follow the usual procedure for any such behaviour during an exam.