The University of Birmingham is a Department for Education and National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) approved provider for the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.
It has been running accredited (Masters level) professional development programmes for special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCos) for over 15 years. Over a thousand SENCos have successfully completed their training over this period and given excellent course feedback!
The University runs partnership versions of the National Award for SEN Co-ordination course with the following Local Authority partners: Birmingham; Dudley, Sandwell & Wolverhampton (combined cohort); Staffordshire (Entrust).
Within these Local Authority areas teachers wishing to apply for a place on the course work in a range of maintained mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, academy and free schools, and pupil referral units (PRUs).
SENCos working in other neighbouring Local Authority areas may also be able to join one of the partnership courses (in 2014-2015 for example, SENCos from Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Solihull, Telford and Wrekin and Warwickshire were participating in versions of the course).
This Masters level course (60 credits) has been updated to reflect changes to the NCTL learning outcomes framework. It is also closely aligned to the changes taking place to special educational needs and disability policy, provision and practice in England including the changes to SEN Code of Practice (2015).
We are currently recruiting to this programme. The programme is inviting applications for the following cohorts.
The National Award is a mandatory qualification, 60 Credit Masters level course which all SENCos who are new in role must undertake. The course meets the requirements of the SEN Code of Practice (2015 Section 6.86).
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations (2014) states:
(1) The appropriate authority of a relevant school must ensure that the SENCO appointed under section 67(2) of the Act meets all of the requirements in either paragraph (2) or (3).
(2) The requirements in this paragraph are that the SENCO:
(3) The requirement in this paragraph is that the SENCO is the head teacher or acting head teacher (or equivalent in the case of an Academy school) of the school.
(4) Where a person becomes the SENCO at a relevant school after 1st September 2009, and has not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than twelve months, the appropriate authority of the school must ensure that, if the person is the SENCO at the school at any time after the third anniversary of the date on which that person becomes a SENCO, that person holds the qualification.
The training courses are 12 months in duration; however, SENCos have up to three years from the point at which they are designated as a SENCo in which to complete the award. Final responsibility for ensuring the school’s compliance lies with the school’s governing body.
The course is designed to support a SENCo’s professional development, giving them an opportunity to reflect upon and improve their practice whilst learning more about the coordination of special educational needs, leadership and management, policy and supporting the individual needs of children and young people.
The course content is related to local and national contexts and the teaching and learning opportunities are delivered by local and nationally based experts such as experienced teachers, Educational Psychologists, school leaders, Inspectors, therapists and service leads.
The National Award covers:
The teaching takes place over ten face to face days during term-time. The days are evenly spread over the school year and sessions are taught in local authority/school centres and at the University of Birmingham. In addition, all students have access to the online virtual learning environment and full library facilities to support their learning.
The assessments have been designed to meet the requirements of the course and enhance school self evaluation procedures.
Specific assignments - course participants all need to complete three 4000 word written assignments at Masters Level:
This course will enable SENCos to meet essential requirements for undertaking the role in English schools. These requirements are set out in regulations and state that:
Governing bodies of maintained mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools and the proprietors of Academy (including Free Schools) must ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as SENCo for the school.
The SENCo must be a qualified teacher working at the school. A newly appointed SENCO must be a qualified teacher and where they have not previously been the SENCo at that or any other relevant mainstream school for a total period of more than twelve months , they must achieve the National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within 3 years of appointment.
This course has been developed for those who are currently working as special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and is mandatory for all SENCOs appointed since 2008. This course will enable you to meet the learning outcomes as prescribed by the government.
You about skills and approaches to leadership; and to develop and evaluate inclusive cultures, systems and approaches to education. These new skills help you to make a difference in your school and to the wellbeing, participation and achievement of children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities.
You reflect on, analyse and respond to current issues of practice through professional learning in the workplace and you are supported by experienced local special educational needs and disability (SEND) professionals as well as a mentor in your own school.
You have access to current SEND practitioners and experts in the field who share up-to-date practice. Your university tutors specialise in SEND and have complementary experience across age phases and special and mainstream schools. Their expertise supports your understanding of inclusive principles and practice, using research and theory to support your reflections, enquiries and study skills.
You complete a number of assessments that are focused on the development of effective practice in your school. Assessments consist of two practice-based portfolios
Portfolio 1 – SENCO as manager
This consists of
Portfolio 2 – SENCO as leader
This consists of
For more information regarding our routes into teaching, including funding, placements, QTS skills tests and career prospects visit our teach site.
12 months part-time
You attend up to ten teaching/tutorial/study days which are spread over the course duration.
This module enables special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) to engage critically with their management role evaluating, reporting on and developing policy, systems and provision in the context of national legislation and guidance, current knowledge on effective practice and wider equality and human rights agendas.
This module enables special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) to engage critically with their leadership role in the context of the principles of inclusion, person centred planning and working in partnership with colleagues, children and young people and their families.
Modules cover • inclusive principles and values • social and medical modules of disability • the role of the SENCO in analysing organisational needs and managing change • the national policy context for SEN and disability including the SEN Code of Practice • equality and data protection requirements • formulating and reviewing policy • accessing and interpreting school data - tracking progression and participation • provision mapping • designing, evaluating and reporting on systems and provision • lesson study and action research methods • rights and duties under equality legislation • person centred planning and partnership working • the local context for the implementation of Child Assessment Framework (CAF), school support and Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) • leadership • role of the SENCO in leading professional learning • holistic assessment • researching and evaluatiing current knowledge and debates regarding high incidence special educational needs and disabilities • theories of learning and development • identifying needs and barriers to learning and participation • systematic evaluation in professional contexts
Portfolio 1 – evaluation and review of policy, and analysis of additional provision for children and young people with SEN.
Portfolio 2 – evaluation of partnership with stakeholders, and planning for strategic professional learning.
This course enhances your skills as a special educational needs co-ordinator so you can continue to improve the school experience for children with SENs or disability and to support the developing practice of other professionals working in your school or setting. It also develops your leadership skills, enabling you to explore whole issues and development. It is also suitable if you want to work in an advisory or support role in the area of SEND.
Academic credits gained by successfully completing this course can be used towards a masters degree.
The Inclusion and Special Educational Needs programme is part-time and is designed for students who wish to study a range of modules relating to Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (ISEN). The programme is delivered in a variety of modes:
ISEN aims to enable in-service teachers, school leaders, policy leaders, and others working directly or indirectly with children with disabilities in the UK, Europe, and around the world to study across a broad spectrum of inclusion and special educational needs.
There are three core modules within the ISEN programme which you will need to complete in the first year. These modules are Cross-Cultural Issues in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Evaluation and Policy Analysis for Inclusive Education, and Inclusion: Individual and group differences. The aims of these modules are as follows:
Taking these three modules will give you credits for a 60 credit PGCert (ISEN), and will enable you to then follow a more specialist pathway in year 2 (PG Diploma) where you will benefit from studying on our existing programmes such as Autism, LLD (Language, Literacy and Dyslexia), and SEBD (Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties). In year 3, as an MEd student you will work towards completion of your dissertation under the supervision of University of Birmingham staff.
You may also be interested in these programmes:
The Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (ISEN) programme is part-time and in years one and three is completed wholly online. In year two, the programme is either distance learning or blended learning depending on the pathway taken. Blended learning consists of a mixture of both campus-based and distance learning elements.
Please note that we require you have at least 2 years professional experience in the areas you wish to study before you can be considered.
Studies can take between 1 – 6 years, depending the level of study and the individual situation of each student, however most master’s level students complete within 3 years.
This programme is designed to supplement professionals already working in the field, or those seeking a general introduction to topics within inclusion and special educational needs. In general, this includes teachers, education advisors, special educational needs coordinators, head teachers in schools, managers of community and charitable organisations, support workers in places such as a university or workplace disability service unit, social workers or nurses providing care for persons with disabilities, or a staff member of a Ministry of Education or Ministry of Health, amongst other things.
There is the opportunity to work towards a further professional qualification in the field of Education, which includes progression to a PhD or EdD. Many of our graduates successfully apply for roles working with children and young people with special educational needs.
The programme aims to develop participants' professional knowledge and critical understanding of key concepts; and debates addressed in the academic and professional literature in order to lead and co-ordinate special educational needs and disability (SEN and D) provision across an educational setting.
By the end of the programme students should be able to:
Students undertake modules to the value of 60 credits. The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits each).
6 days' attendance per module, 9.30-4.30 - usually on alternate weeks over two terms
There are no optional modules on this programme.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Each module is delivered over six days. A Learning Log needs to be completed as the practical component. Assessment is through a practitioner enquiry assignment for both modules consisting of 4,500-5000 words each. The focus is on the practitioner as researcher within the participants’ own education institution.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination PG Cert
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Upon successful completion of this programme, students are able to transfer the 60 credits into UCL's MA in Special and Inclusive Education or MTeach in Special Educational Needs.
This programme will prepare participants for progression to employment as SEN co-ordinators or for senior leadership roles within schools in a variety of settings.
This programme is run by the Department of Psychology & Human Development - Centre for Inclusive Education, formally SENJIT (Special Educational Needs Joint Initiative for Training) at UCL, which has a national and international profile in delivering Master's programmes in special educational needs (SEN). It is delivered by specialists who currently practise in the field along with researchers with international profiles in SEN, disabilities and inclusion.
Students will get the opportunity to meet regularly with colleagues working in different local authorities in London and further afield.
The Centre for Inclusive Education (formerly SENJIT) offers research-informed and practice-orientated courses and knowledge exchange activities and fosters strong links with local authorities, academy federation trusts and teaching school alliances.
This programme is mainly aimed at qualified teachers who want to gain a deeper knowledge of special educational needs (SEN) to develop effective teaching and learning strategies.
You’ll choose whether to focus on SEN issues in England or internationally so you will either study areas such as inter-agency working under Every Child Matters or how SEN provision compares between different countries. You will expand on this knowledge when you choose from our optional modules, allowing you to focus on topics that interest you or are relevant to your career.
You could study developmental disorders and inclusive provision, and you’ll benefit from sharing the ideas and experiences of teachers from around the world as well as the local area. This programme will give you an understanding of the latest concepts approaches to effective, inclusive approaches, while equipping you with the skills to analyse the evidence that informs them.
You’ll be taught by members of the Childhood and Youth research group, which has a long-established, international reputation for research. The course distils the expertise within the team and draws on research that we have conducted, funded by agencies such as the ESRC, Action Research, and private and charitable UK organisations that work with children.
We offer students a vibrant intellectual and academic experience. Not only will you benefit from weekly research-led teaching, but you’ll have the chance to attend seminars with leading academics, hosted by the School of Education or other departments.
You can also apply for the PGCert in Provision for Children with Developmental Disorders that allows you to study the modules on developmental disorders from the MA Special Educational Needs. If you decide to move on to this MA programme afterwards, you can use the credits gained from the PGCert to count towards your MA.
From the start of the programme, you’ll build your understanding of the context of SEN education. You’ll complete one core module, allowing you to focus on SEN provision within England and worldwide, and consider issues such as inclusive education, how schools and local authorities interpret national education policy, and the ways that SEN provision differs between countries.
This lays the foundations for the rest of your studies, which will allow you to choose from a range of optional modules. You could focus on developmental disorders, or complete a directed study on a topic relevant to your interests and experiences.
Throughout the year, you’ll develop sophisticated skills in research and analysis that you’ll apply to your critical study – an independent piece of research you’ll submit by the end of the programme, on a topic of your choice which may be related to the needs and priorities of your school.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods. For this course, most modules are taught with a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials, which will take place in the evening. However, independent study is crucial to this degree as it allows you to build your skills, prepare for lectures and pursue your own interests more closely.
These are no exams on this course. Instead, assessment works through written coursework such as essays, case studies and other assignments.
Teachers and specialists take this qualification at different points in their career and their motivations and ambitions vary.
For some teachers, it helps them to critically reflect on classroom activities and enhance their teaching practices; for others, it provides the foundations for moving into a more specialist role or opens up the opportunities for progress onto doctoral studies.
We encourage applicants who are not in full-time work to undertake some volunteer placements to help them to contextualise their studies and strengthen their CV.
This course incorporates the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination (SENCO). It is for aspiring or existing SEN Coordinators.
It will enable you to acquire advanced professional knowledge and skills for implementing and leading change in provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.
It provides opportunity for critical enquiry into specialist sources and the use of reflective tools to develop insight into complex professional and interprofessional, working within and beyond organizations. It draws on appropriate theoretical constructs to examine practice-oriented issues and to enhance teaching, learning and assessment through research-based interventions. A peer network is facilitated on the course by using the practice and principles of dialogic pedagogy.
The course will enable you to gain an overview of Special Educational Needs and disabilities in the context of policy, practice and professionalism.The critical evaluation of specialist sources will be undertaken to understand the range of perspectives which impact on the work of SEN coordinators. Ways of enhancing learning for pupils with SEN and disabilities will be a central feature of the course.
Reflective practice will be supported by maintaining a learning journal which will evaluate practice-based scenarios. The leadership of change in professional settings will draw on appropriate theories and resource management will be examined with reference to both professional and interprofessional working. Overall, the course is designed to enable SEN coordinators to better meet the needs of learners who have special educational needs and disabilities.
Summative assignments will include a critical commentary on the implications of legislative interventions for the role of the SENCO and the critical evaluation of sources to develop strategies for the leadership of SEN provision in situated practice.
Formative assessments will include tutor-facilitated online discussions, creating and maintaining a reflective journal, the collaborative exploration of specialist sources in workshop sessions and work in progress papers arising from assignment preparation involving tutor and peer feedback.
Please note you can apply for both modules at the same time or sign up for one module at a time.
This qualification is a requirement for special educational needs coordinators (SENCO) working in state-maintained schools in England and Wales. The course is also highly relevant to inclusion and special educational needs leaders and managers who wish to improve the quality of inclusion and special educational needs and disability provision in their setting, whether they are working in the UK or abroad.
Developed in collaboration with academic staff and expert practitioners, the course provides an exceptional distance learning programme coupled with opportunities to participate in workshops and conferences available to all students in the Carnegie School of Education. Working closely with your tutor, you will undertake a thorough self-evaluation to identify gaps in your knowledge and understanding. This will help to link your learning to your professional practice and will enable you to steer the direction of your development.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will allow you to regularly connect with your personal tutor and share your experiences with your peers. You will be encouraged to collaborate with fellow students on the course and colleagues in your school in order to refine your knowledge and get the most from the programme. Throughout the year, you will be provided with online resources and support materials, including recorded expert presentations, to help you meet your learning needs.
Our vision for children with special educational needs and disabilities is the same as for all children and young people - that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college, and lead happy and fulfilled lives.
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Research Excellence Framework 2014: twice as many of our staff - 220 - were entered into the research assessment for 2014 compared to the number entered in 2008.
Special Educational Needs Coordination
Having developed essential skills in diagnosis and intervention, provision management and coaching and having also refined your ability to work effectively with outside agencies and stakeholders, you will be able to practise as a SENCO in any school. You will also have the confidence to take on a high-profile leadership role in your school, and you will be able to successfully motivate other teachers to promote inclusion in their classrooms.
Gain the qualification you need to teach in the area of special educational needs in Post-16 and Further Education, previously known as Post-Compulsory Education and Training (PCET), and including 14-19 provision.
It is suitable whether you are new to teaching and need us to find you a placement, or if you are already working as a teacher or trainer within the SEN context and want to become qualified.
The course maps to the national framework for teaching qualifications in Post-16 and Further Education, the new Diploma in Education and Training for Disabled Learners (DET, previously DTLLS). The course is recognised by the professional body, currently the Institute for Learning (IfL) and sector body the Education and Training Foundation (EtF). It enables you to apply for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status for Post-16 and Further Education, which is equivalent to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in schools. QTLS is currently awarded by IfL who charge a fee for membership and QTLS registration. An employer may be willing to pay the fee for you.
On the course, you
You apply the course theory through your teaching practice. This consists of at least 120 hours teaching over either one year or two. During the course, University staff and your placement or workplace mentor assess your teaching practice eight times.
Key areas covered include • planning and preparing to teach • assessment for learning • teaching methods • behaviour for learning • using technology in teaching and learning • progression against the professional standards • understanding your wider professional context.
Settings of Post-16 and Further Education and Training include • further education colleges • school sixth forms • higher education institutions • adult and community learning providers • private training companies • public services • 14-19 educational providers.
After successfully completing the course, you gain a level 7 qualification equivalent to DTLLS or the new Diploma in Education and Training, but at masters level, and you can use these 60 credits towards a masters course.
We have partnerships with a range of settings across the Post-16 and Further Education sector, who provide you with a wide range of placement opportunities.
If you do not have an undergraduate degree or equivalent and need an initial teaching qualification, you can study our CertEd Post-16 Education and Training. This route is not available with the special educational needs specialism.
For more information regarding our routes into teaching, including funding, placements, QTS skills tests and career prospects visit our teach site.
The course is recognised by the Education and Training Foundation (EtF).
We have an excellent graduate employment record. On average 95% of our PGCE graduates are teaching or in further study within six months of graduating.
Previous students have gone on to teach in • further education colleges • sixth form colleges • schools • public services • private training organisations • voluntary sector.
Others work as educational development officers or similar for local education authorities, non-governmental organisations and charities.
The Special Educational Needs (SEN) programme investigates issues involved in the education and development of children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and disadvantages. Our programme is founded upon a commitment to forms of education which enable the participation, learning and development of all.
Students studying on the programme engage with aspects of theory, policy and practice relevant to international and local contexts. With its international profile, this programme brings together teachers and other professionals working directly with children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities or disadvantages, as well as policy-makers and managers in areas of SEN and Inclusive Education.
On the MA Special Educational Needs, students choose between two distinct pathways, Inclusive Perspectives or Psychological Perspectives, which reflect different theoretical traditions and approaches to practice, provision and policy within the field of special educational needs, disability and inclusion. Both pathways are relevant to mainstream and special education contexts.
The Inclusive Perspectives pathway emphasises the application of inclusive and person-centred values and critical educational analysis. Concepts and theories such as person-centred education; participation and ‘voice’; the social model of disability and difference; and human rights and equalities are used to consider educational practice, provision, policy and systems relating to pupils experiencing difficulties in educational settings.
The Psychological Perspectives pathway emphasises the use and application of psychological theories. Concepts and theories of cognition, educational testing, and social and emotional development are central in developing psychologically informed understandings of children and young people experiencing difficulties in educational settings.
Students greatly benefit from engaging with the insights, experiences and perspectives of other course members, from a diverse range of contexts and backgrounds. The combination of their own experiences, insights gained from others on the course and the theoretical resources offered by learning within the modules, enables students to deepen their understanding of, and to be able to challenge, the barriers that hinder the learning, development and participation of children and young people with learning difficulties, disabilities or disadvantages.
The teaching provided on modules is informed by active research and scholarship in the field of Inclusive Education and SEN practice and policy. All lecturers leading modules on the programme have high level specialist qualifications, teaching and leadership experience in the field of Education, SEN and Inclusive Education.
All students complete a common module which takes a broad view of key perspectives and issues in SEN, it also introduces the psychological and inclusive perspectives. From here, students undertake specialist modules within the programme, depending on their chosen pathway.
Inclusive Perspectives Pathway content: Students critically explore the issues involved in children’s behaviour using sociological approaches. You will reflect on your own and society's beliefs about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour, which often relate to medical and psychological foundations of schools’ policies and practices. The social pedagogical approach is also explored as a basis for inclusive teaching and learning. A critical analysis of instrumentalist/functionalist approaches to teaching is developed with a view to enhancing holistic development and the participation of pupils as a means of addressing barriers to the inclusivity of the classroom.
Psychological Perspectives Pathway content: On this route students engage with the idea that socially and emotionally well-adjusted students perform better at school, whilst social and emotional aspects of learning have become marginalised in a highly competitive education system. The use of psychometric testing is covered, with an exploration of its appropriate uses (students can gain a Certificate of Competency in Educational Testing, accredited by the British Psychological Society, from successfully undertaking this module).
Optional modules are available to students on both pathways which focus on Dyslexia as a Specific Learning Difficulty and on Autism in Education. Students also have an option, instead of taking a taught optional module, to take a (non-taught) Independent Study module to learn about a specific issue relevant to their pathway and interests, which is not taught about in the programme.
The final module is an independent research-based enquiry (either a Dissertation or Practice-Based Research Project), which is founded upon the pathway perspective chosen, but is also subject to the student’s choice of topic.
Required modules for both routes
The Programme supports and enables: