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.
Visit the Special Educational Needs Coordination - National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!