The Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (SPMLD)blended learning programme is one of the leading programmes in the field both nationally and internationally and it has has been developed for a range of professionals/practitioners who work with children and adults with learning difficulties in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/ PMLD) including autism (where it overlaps with SLD/ PMLD). Most learners with SLD/ PMLD use specialist services such as special schools or colleges but some use inclusive services in nurseries, mainstream schools or community education. The programme will cover issues for staff who work in any of these services and has particular emphasis on working together to meet needs. The programme will aim to study systematically, critically and in-depth, aspects of educating children and adults with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. In particular, it will emphasis working together to meet needs.
Each module contains a 3 day campus study course and during the study weekends and the study days you will have the chance to be taught by academics from the University of Birmingham and other institutions as well as frontline practitioners, parents, individuals with learning difficulties, former students of our courses, and well-know training providers. For example Peter Imray and Dave Hewett, Jean Ware, Flo Longhorn, Catherine Edwards, Liz Hodges and Neil Hall (Find out more in the Learning and Teaching section).
To attempt to meet the needs of the wide range of people working with learners with SLD/ PMLD, the programme is available at more than one level. Level H (AdCert) is available for those with certificates and diplomas eg: HND, NVQ level 4/5, Foundation degree, whereas Level M (PGCert, PGDip, MEd) is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). The lecture, seminars and online material contain the same material for everyone but participants studying at different levels are expected to respond to ideas and concepts differently. Further reading and critical analysis is required at M level.
Certificate (PGCert or AdCert) – modules 1 – 3 (Total of 60 credits);
PGDip – modules 1 – 3, plus Special Studies (40 credits), Special Studies (20 credits) (Total of 120 credits);
MEd - modules 1 – 3, plus Special Studies, then the module ‘Practitioner Inquiry in Education’ (preparation for dissertation) plus dissertation (Total of 180 credits).
The Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties blended learning programme is a combination of campus face-to-face sessions and online education.
The programme aims to:
As the SPMLD programme is designed for a range of practitioners, it is hoped that participants from different agencies or disciplines who work with the same learners will come on the course together (and thus improve their working together). If you are thinking of studying on the course, invite a colleague to study with you!
In the three videos below, students on the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties programme share their views on why they choose the course and what they enjoy about it.
This programme is for a range of professionals and practitioners who work with children and adults with learning difficulties in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/ PMLD, including autism where is overlaps). Most learners with SLD/ PMLD use specialist services such as special schools or colleges but some use inclusive services in nurseries, mainstream schools or community education and the programme will cover issues for staff who work in any of these services and has particular emphasis on working together to meet needs.
The course begins with a discussion about how the term ‘inclusion’ can be interpreted. You will then explore policies and philosophies of inclusion in both special educational needs and special provision, as well as to theories of social justice and equality in education. This course is for practitioners working in a range of settings, from early years to higher education. It is aimed at qualified teachers, teaching assistants and SENCOs, as well as disability advisers and those in student support settings. The key focus is dyslexia, although the curriculum will also touch on disorders such as autism, ADHD and dyspraxia.Learning is tailored to students who are also in employment, and is delivered by staff who understand the needs of part-time learners. Our experienced teaching staff have specialisms and are research-active, which means your learning will be underpinned by the latest research and analysis. There is a great emphasis on critical thinking and you will be encouraged to question and think independently in order to come up with solutions to support students with specific learning difficulties. You will be encouraged to bring your own professional experiences to discussions, to enrich the learning experience for all students. We are currently working with the British Dyslexia Association towards AMBDA accreditation for this course.
The programme comprises two modules that will enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners in meeting the needs of learners with specific learning difficulties (SpLD):
Assessment is 100% through coursework. This part-time course is not available to international students.
If British Dyslexia Association, AMBDA accreditation is achieved for this course, the assessment will also include an element of observed specialist teaching.
Develop knowledge of specific learning difficulties with a focus on dyslexia.
This course is moulded to meet the needs of students who are working whilst studying.
The curriculum is delivered by experienced teaching staff with specialisms and who are research-active. This means your learning will be underpinned by the latest research and analysis.
The Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) course is designed for mainstream teachers or those working in an educational setting (including practitioners with a particular responsibility for supporting children, young people and adults with dyslexia) who wish to deepen their understanding of dyslexia and link this learning to the School Improvement Plan.
A flexible framework combines academic study with work-based action learning and action research, where your day-to-day professional activity informs your development through reflection and peer discussion.
The PGCert is a stand-alone qualification and counts as one-third of a masters degree.
The course is accredited by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) and qualifies students to apply for Approved Teacher Status (ATS) or Approved Professional Status (APS) as long as they have completed two years (or equivalent) as a teacher or educational professional by the end of the course.
The programme is arranged to fit in with your working patterns and usually include Saturday sessions.
This course will focus on the following areas of study:
This will enable you, as a practitioner, to:
This postgraduate certificate is a one-year part-time programme comprising three 20-credit modules.
Module 1 focuses on developing criticality in thinking and approaches to learning in the context of dyslexia.
Module 2 provides students with an understanding of how dyslexia is identified and of effective pedagogy for learners with dyslexia in the context of inclusive practice. Students consider the practical application of this learning to their own context and are expected to deliver 10 hours specialist teaching 1:1 with a learner with dyslexia.
Module 3 embeds and develops specialist knowledge, skills and practice while considering the wider issues and debates around inclusion of learners with dyslexia. Teachers will develop a further teaching programme and teach a series of 10 lessons to an individual learner or two learners who are part of a small group.
Students will be expected to deliver 20 hours of evaluated specialist teaching.
The Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) PGCert is based at our Falmer campus. It can also be offered off site to your school or organisation, or delivered as a bespoke programme for a cluster of schools.
Our PGCerts are designed to support your career progression, increase your subject knowledge and help you to make a direct difference to your school and students.
Graduates of the course are well placed to take on subject development and leadership positions.
This leading programme in the field of dyslexia prepares teachers to critically evaluate and develop evidence-based practice to become specialist teachers and assessors of learners with literacy difficulties. This programme is recognised by the British Dyslexia Association for Approved Teacher Status (ATS) and Associate Member of the BDA (AMBDA).
Students will gain an understanding of how learners typically develop literacy skills and how it might go wrong; how literacy difficulties can be identified and how to develop an individualised support programme. As part of this programme students will administer standardised tests (in their own educational setting) and teach (in similar settings) learners with literacy difficulties.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (150 credits) and a research report (30 credits).
All modules are core to this qualification
There are no optional modules for this programme.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a research report of 6,000 to 7,000 words.
Teaching and learning
This programme is delivered via face-to-face daytime and some evening sessions at UCL Institute of Education. It is assessed by coursework assignments and recordings of administering assessments and teaching pupils with literacy difficulties, plus a research report of 6,000 to 7,000 words. Modules 1-3 are taken in the first year on Wednesdays day time. RDM and report in Year 2. RDM module is on Tuesday evenings in the autumn term.
Students will be required to work with children and young people up to the age of 18 years to demonstrate the core competencies of the programme.
Students must find have access to pupils - we do not find placements for students.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) MA
Part-time students may apply for the UK Government Postgraduate Loan.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas. Some are working as specialist teachers of children with SpLD (dyslexia), while others have jobs as specialist teacher assessors; many combine both. Graduates can also be found working as headteachers, special educational needs co-ordinators, local authority advisors and in research roles.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Successful completion of the programme will allow students awarded the ATS to support learners with dyslexia (up to the age of 18 years), and with the AMBDA to undertake diagnostic assessments and support learners with dyslexia.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
This programme is taught by a range of leading researchers and professionals in the field of dyslexia. It uniquely offers a rigorous academic programme combined with professional practice qualifications fully recognised by the British Dyslexia Association and UCL Institute of Education, an internationally recognised university.
Critical engagement with current research and evidence-informed practice, supported by professionals and researchers, will enable the participant to reflect on their learning and enhance workplace practice.
Professional practice is supported by a team of AMBDA specialists. It will provide the understanding, knowledge and skills required to teach children and young people with literacy difficulties.
The inclusion and achievement of students with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) within mainstream education is an important current focus. By acquiring specialist teaching and assessment skills, you’ll broaden your career opportunities within and beyond the school and college context.
The modules combine theory and practice. You’ll study through workshops, case studies and assignments, justifying your professional practice through research. Modules comprise taught sessions and assessed projects, and can be completed full-time in one year or part-time in up to five years.
You’ll develop your theoretical and practical knowledge of SpLD/dyslexia, and will learn specialist approaches to the identification, assessment and teaching of learners with specific learning difficulties.
The first module of the course enables you to assess a learner, compiling an individual profile based on your findings, and design/deliver an individualised programme of support. You’ll also explore methods and strategies to develop the inclusive practices which can support learners across the curriculum.
The second module will develop your ability to undertake full diagnostic assessments for dyslexia to inform programmes and appropriate support, such as Examination Access Arrangements.
A further module will allow you to develop an understanding of the difficulties faced by primary or secondary students with SpLD/dyslexia or dyscalculia when learning mathematics, and provide you with knowledge about how to support them.
If you already have specialist SpLD/dyslexia qualifications and wish to gain a PATOSS Assessment Practising Certificate, a further module can facilitate this.
For more information on careers, please view the Course Handbook: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/media/bathspaacuk/course-handbooks/ife/PG-Specific-Learning-Difficulties-and-Dyslexia-handbook-2016-2017.pdf
Modules are taught through twilight lectures and workshops, usually a three hour session each week from 5-8pm.
Many sessions are led by the Course Leader, who is a specialist in the academic and practical aspects of SpLD/dyslexia. Others are delivered by visiting tutors with particular areas of expertise such as an educational psychologist or dyscalculia specialist
Each module is coursework-assessed (7000-10,000 words per 30 credit module). The dissertation is 15,000–20,000 words and worth 60 credits.
The programme can serve as a stepping stone to becoming a Specialist SpLD/Dyslexia teacher and assessor working either in a school setting or independently. This is also helpful pathway for those working within SEN leadership and management roles such as SENCO in schools. It can also lead onto further PhD studies in SpLD/Dyslexia, education or similar fields.
Areas of career direction include: Specialist learning support and teaching possibilities, Advisory Teacher roles for Local Authorities, educational leadership and management, curriculum design and development, higher education research and teacher training.
For more information on careers, please go to your Course Handbook: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/media/bathspaacuk/course-handbooks/ife/PG-Specific-Learning-Difficulties-and-Dyslexia-handbook-2016-2017.pdf
The SEN, Disability and Inclusive Education programme enables students to investigate the education of children and young people with learning difficulties, disability, disadvantage or other additional needs. Our programme is founded upon a democratic commitment to forms of education which challenge exclusion and enable the participation, learning, development and empowerment of all.
Students studying on the programme will engage with aspects of theory, policy and practice relevant to international and local contexts. With its international profile, this programme brings together those who have significant professional experience working with children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities, disadvantages or other additional needs, either directly in teaching, support or project work, or as policy-makers, advisory workers or managers.
The MA SEN, Disability and Inclusive Education draws on different disciplinary traditions and approaches to theory and practice within the field of Inclusion, SEN and Disability, but is underpinned by rights-based, justice-based and equalities-based principles and a rejection of deficit-based approaches to difference (including the medical model of disability). The specialist modules within the programme include some which have particular emphasis and grounding in social or critical or psychological perspectives as well as other modules which are more generic in their foundation. The compulsory final independent enquiry module – a 60 credit Dissertation - allows the opportunity for a range of research styles and approaches for critically enquiring into an identified question or issue or for developing practice through critical enquiry.
Students greatly benefit from engaging with the insights, experiences and perspectives of other programme members, from a diverse range of contexts and backgrounds. The combination of their own experiences, insights gained from others on the programme and the theoretical resources offered by learning within the modules, enables students to deepen their understanding of, and to be able to challenge exclusion in education and the barriers that hinder participation, learning, development and empowerment of children and young people with learning difficulties, disability, disadvantage or other additional needs.
The teaching provided on modules is informed by active research and scholarship in the field of Inclusion, SEN and Disability theory and practice. All lecturers leading modules on the programme have high level specialist qualifications, teaching and leadership experience in the field of Education and Inclusion.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year (for those who are not working or working very little) or can be taken part-time over 2 – 4 years.
The programme rests on a critical approach to education in general, with an emphasis on inclusion, enablement, human rights and social justice in the education of those with learning difficulties, disabilities and disadvantage.
The specialist modules within the programme include some which have particular grounding in social or critical perspectives, whilst other modules are more generic in their approach. The compulsory final independent enquiry module – a 60 credit Dissertation - allows the opportunity for a range of styles and approaches for critically enquiring into an identified question or issue within Inclusion and SEND or for developing practice through a critical practitioner enquiry.
All students complete a common module which takes a broad view of key perspectives and issues in Inclusion, SEN and Disability. Optional modules are available to students, some of which focus specifically on the education of pupils with particular learning difficulties or disability, and some of which focus on issues such as pedagogy, social and emotional development and behaviour.
Students may also have the opportunity, instead of taking a taught optional module, to take a (non-taught) Independent Study module to learn about a specific issue relevant to their interests or needs, which is not taught about in the programme. Most modules carry a 20 credit value apart from the Dissertation, so the full programme comprises six 20 credit modules plus the Dissertation.
It is possible for students to withdraw from the programme with an award short of the full MA (180 credits) if they wish. The Postgraduate Diploma is achieved with 120 credits and the Postgraduate Certificate is achieved with 60 credits.
Required modules (must be taken)
Compulsory module (must be passed)
Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.
The Programme supports and enables those with significant professional experience to:
We are a key provider in the field of specific learning difficulties with over 20 years experience.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Dyscalculia, which is new this year, is a nationally recognised qualification designed for teachers of children and adolescents who are experiencing specific learning difficulties in mathematics. It can be taken with or without BDA accreditation and gives 60 credits towards a PG Diploma in SpLD: Literacy and Numeracy or an MA SpLD.
This course consists of two 30 credit units, one on nature, identification and assessment and the other on supporting learners with dyscalculia and other specific learning difficulties in mathematics. An additional (optional) 10 practice credits leads to a 'PG Certificate in Dyscalculia with Practice Credits' which is accredited by the British Dyslexia Association at Approved Teacher Status (ATS) Dyscalculia level or Approved Practitioner Status (APS) Dyscalculia.
The course is principally designed to enable classroom practitioners to gain a high level of knowledge and skill so that they can expertly meet the needs of learners with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) in mathematics.
There is a supervised teaching practice consisting of 20 hours one-to-one teaching for those wanting BDA accreditation, which forms part of a portfolio of practical tasks including an assessment report, an Individual Learning Plan and 20 lesson plans and evaluations. There is an additional fee of £325 for the practice credits which covers the observation and assessment of two one-hour lessons, two individual tutorials with AMBDA tutors, and support with report writing and lesson planning via feedback on drafts.
The Language, Literacies and Dyslexia programme, is aimed at teachers, language teachers, speech and language therapists and other professionals working with children, young people and students in further and higher education at pre-16 and FE/HE education levels who have difficulties with learning literacy skills.
This distance learning masters level programme is essential for practitioners seeking to become specialist practitioners, employable to assess and teach learners with dyslexia and literacy difficulties of school age or in further/higher educationin monolingual as well as bi/multilingual contexts. Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) level of the course meets the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) criteria in practical assessments and allows students to apply for the BDA professional qualification.
The University of Birmingham offers three awards at master's level.
Halfway through the first year of study you will be asked whether you wish to extend your registration to work towards a further award.
The programme provides a broad and critical perspective of language literacies and literacy difficulties/dyslexia through sociocultural and cognitive research, as well as education policies. It embraces school and further educational demands of literacy skills, the demands of family and social literacy practices, and peer demands of new literacies, such as digital literacies. The programme establishes the fundamental relationship between language and literacy in typical and atypical development. Students study literacy difficulties/dyslexia in contexts of monolingual, multilingual (e.g. FL/SL/AL) and multimodal (e.g. digital literacies).
Studying at a distance means you can work from anywhere, such as in your home or workplace in the UK or overseas. All your studies will be in English and it is a requirement that you practice in an educational context of monolingual, additional English (EAL/ESL/EFL) or other languages. Reference would be made to contexts that are bi/multilingual and multimodal.
Specialist professional practice in dyslexia/specific learning difficulties
Successful completion of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) award, meets the specialist professional practice competencies in teaching learners with dyslexia/literacy difficulties at school and FE/HE levels of provision required by the British Dyslexia Association’s ATS/APS, ATS FE/HE accreditation.
Successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) award, meets the specialist professional practice competencies required by the Joint Qualifications Council UK, and the British Dyslexia Association’s AMBDA accreditation, in diagnostic assessment, and intervention/ specialist teaching with learners with literacy difficulties/ specific learning difficulties at school and FE/HE levels of provision. So, the PGDip award will allow practitioners to apply for the BDA’s accreditation (AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE) depending on their professional qualification – please visit the BDA website http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk for further information.
For students who follow the AMBDA, AMBDA FE/HE routes, some of the programme and module requirements will be different for study and assessment to develop knowledge and practice in specialist assessment and teaching for learners with literacy needs and difficulties.
The Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) in the School of Education, has a very strong profile in professional development, regionally, nationally and internationally. The tutors who run this programme have national and international profiles in the field of research and practice in language and literacy difficulties and dyslexia. The department also runs a number of other courses in special education which may interest you.
At the beginning of each year of study, there is an online induction module to the University of Birmingham programme. This module will give all the necessary information to induct students into the programme so that a residential visit is not required.
The method of learning involves online reading, literature searches, enquiry based learning through activities and discussion with fellow students in your tutor group, and your tutors. Learning is orientated to relating your study to your professional practice.
Study activities include reading chapters and articles on research and practice, quizzes, online discussion of case studies, tutorials and lectures. Developing studying skills include online searches for research papers, policies and teaching materials, critical reading, problem-solving, and writing skills. There is personal online tutorial support through ‘reflective journaling’ and discussion with your tutor. Regular group monthly tutorials with your tutor group and tutor are held through online conferencing (simliar to Skype).
We recruit students to the programme from the UK, EU, USA and other countries. Study is through English and students can study literacy difficulties with learners who are learning through EFL or EAL. The programme covers all education phases: primary / secondary, and Further Education /Higher Education. Students are supported in tutor groups with other students who work in the same phase, (where possible in the same region/country) and with a tutor with specialist qualifications in dyslexia and professional experience with learners with dyslexia in the educational phase.
This new programme will interest graduates who want to make a difference to the lives of a wide range of children in education. You will compare inclusive educational practices in Scotland, the UK and across the world. You will study particular approaches to removing barriers to learning and including all children.
The programme has specific pathways for Postgraduate Diploma (visually impaired learners), Postgraduate Diploma (deaf learners) and Postgraduate Diploma (bilingual learners).
You will choose three option courses from this range:
The programme aims to:
Suiting newly qualified teachers and experienced practitioners alike, this programme provides a qualification that can open doors to a new career in inclusive and special education, or an advanced role in the field.
It can also provide the foundations for a career in policy formation and development, as well as a broad range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.