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Teachers of Children with Hearing Impairment - MEd/PGDip

Course content

This programme approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) for training teachers of deaf children seeking the Mandatory (MQ) qualification is offered as a distance learning course. Successful completion of this programme leads to General Teaching Council recognition as a qualified teacher of the deaf. An alternative programme is also open to teachers (as well as other professionals with appropriate qualifications) working with children and young people with hearing impairment who are not seeking the MQ.  

Course details

This distance learning programme approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has been offered at the University of Birmingham since 1989. It is open to teachers who are qualified to teach learners in England (from 0 to 25 years of age) who wish to gain the mandatory qualification of teacher of the deaf. The programme aims to equip teachers who are already qualified to teach learners in England to meet the relevant NCTL standards to achieve qualified teacher of the deaf status.

It is also open to other professionals who do not wish, or are not eligible, to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status – for example lecturers of deaf students, communication support workers and educational psychologists. Applicants who are not qualified teachers of school-aged pupils may take the University (non mandatory) Award but will not be eligible to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status from the NCTL.

Study is supported through study packs, tutorial groups, telephone, email, web based learning and online materials, and through an allocated tutor in a small tutorial group which allows students to learn with each other. Internet access is required for the programme. There is a University based study week in January each year, at which attendance is compulsory. 

Students who successfully complete all modules for the Postgraduate Diploma may choose to transfer to the MEd. 

Nature of the Programme

Those candidates who successfully complete the Postgraduate Diploma may use this as credits towards the degree of MEd. The course content is identical for both levels of study, but students studying for the higher Postgraduate Diploma level will be expected to submit assignments which are both longer and display a greater degree of reflection and insight. 

This is a distance education programme and regular attendance at the University is not required. Course content is embodied in a series of written and online course Units with accompanying recommended reading and resource materials. Attendance is compulsory at two annual Residential Schools at the University of Birmingham, and students are expected to attend seminars/workshops held in the students’ region. The most common pattern is six seminars lasting three hours each academic year, held on Saturdays, but there may be some regional groups may negotiate a different pattern. Regional tutors are appointed by the University to organise regional seminars and help in course assessment.

The Residential Schools provide opportunities for demonstrations and practice in the use of materials and equipment, lectures, discussions and tutorials.

Support for Deaf and Disabled students

The University of Birmingham welcomes applications from deaf and disabled students. We strongly encourage students applying to this course who may require support (including communication support) or who may require reasonable adjustments to be made as a result of a physical, sensory, mental health or learning support need to register with the disability, learning support and mental health team. Eligible students are also encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) which may provide funding towards equipment, software and support where required.   

Support for all Students

The University appoints Honorary Tutors who are responsible for organising and providing regional seminars for small groups of students. The University team works closely with these tutors to ensure an effective system of academic, practical and pastoral support. These seminars are essential components of the Programme of Study. Candidates must be prepared to undertake some travelling, within a region, in order to meet with their group.

Also, each student is expected to obtain the services of a local qualified teacher of the deaf who will act as a ‘mentor’ and assist them throughout the course. Mentors are asked to support the student in a number of ways, for example, setting ideas presented in the course materials within a local context, helping with the arrangements for visits, and facilitating access to equipment.

A further level of student support is offered via the programme’s elearning web pages, and students need to have access to the internet. Students must also have regular access to e-mail throughout the course.

The Role of the Education Authority/School

The employing authority/school in which the student is located needs to:

  • Identify for the University a qualified experienced teacher of deaf children who will act as mentor for the student (see above). On average approximately one hour a week of local support is needed. In some small schools and authorities it might be necessary to buy in this support. 
  • Release the candidate from teaching duties for at least half a day per week for work related to the Programme of Study and for the seventeen days practical placement during year 1.
  • Release the candidate for the two annual Residential Schools.
  • Note that as the regional seminars, the visits programme and teaching placements may involve considerable travelling for the student, and authorities might wish to cost such travelling into their estimates for the total cost of the course.

The Teaching Placement

Those teachers who wish to obtain the mandatory qualification of teacher of the deaf will need to undertake a teaching placement.


Visit the Teachers of Children with Hearing Impairment - MEd/PGDip page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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