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  • Study Type

    Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    12 months part time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    02 August 2017

Course content

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 develop

  • a critical understanding of the values, principles and dilemmas of inclusive practices and policies
  • a specialist knowledge base enabling you to obtain, evaluate and communicate current information regarding special educational needs and disabilities.
  • an active community of practice with SENCOs and experienced SEN professionals supporting your leadership of change
  • the skills and practices of reflective practice to develop effective partnership working with pupils, families and colleagues
  • the skills and practices of professional enquiry to enable you to evaluate the impact of practice

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

  • an evaluation of school policy relating to special educational needs and disability in relation to current national policy and guidance. This involves engaging with parent's in order to inform policy.
  • an evaluation of the school’s additional provision for children and young people with special educational needs. This includes an analysis of school data and lesson study to inform effective provision mapping

Portfolio 2 – SENCO as leader

This consists of

  • developing the role of SENCO as leader through evaluating and developing effective partnerships with other stakeholders
  • engaging with pupil voice in order to inform professional learning developments and to support colleagues in making effective provision for children with particular SEN or disability

Further information

For more information regarding our routes into teaching, including funding, placements, QTS skills tests and career prospects visit our teach site.

Course structure

12 months part-time

You attend up to ten teaching/tutorial/study days which are spread over the course duration.

Core modules

  • SENCO as manager: evaluation and developing policy and provision

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.

  • SENCO as leader: people, principles and partnerships

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.

Visit the Special Educational Needs Coordination PgCert page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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