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University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Special Needs Education

We have 3 University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in Special Needs Education

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The . Management of Special Education in Developing Countries . Read more

The Management of Special Education in Developing Countries is a full-time programme for teachers, administrators and non-governmental organisation staff who are working in special education in developing countries and who wish to develop their management or leadership expertise. Although most students are not from the EU, this course is also suitable for UK/EU students.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

Course details

The Management of Special Education in Developing Countries programme is for teachers, administrators and NGO staff who are working in special education in developing countries and who wish to develop their management or leadership expertise. The programme combines modules in Special Education with modules in International Studies in Education, using theory and practice from both in order to enable participants to improve management practice in the national context in which they work. A research dissertation also enables participants to put together management and special education in a uniquely relevant way for them.

This International Studies in Education programme has been taught at the School of Education for 50 years, and the School has one of the largest SEN departments in the UK. In consultation with tutors, you will choose modules totalling 100 credits from those available in the International Studies in Education and Special Education programmes, with a minimum of two modules from either field. You will also need to take the Researching Education module. A research dissertation will enable you to put together management and special education in a way which is uniquely relevant way for you.

Learning and teaching

The course permits a choice of modules from the International Studies in Education, and Special Educational Needs, courses. Students attend regular lectures and seminars for the first two terms, have personal dissertation supervision for the third term, and are assisted to access a wide range of library and online learning resources. The course is assessed by coursework assignments and a dissertation, and topics can be chosen to match the interests, expertise and needs of students. Some students do fieldwork for their dissertation in another country, but this is not a requirement. It is helpful if students have experience of working with disabled children in different countries, and bring relevant materials, which are not available online, for their coursework, e.g. printed project evaluations, reports in local languages, health education materials, photos and videos.

Employability

The MA in Management of Special Education in Developing Countries is ideal for graduates who wish to develop their management or leadership expertise within special education. Upon completion of this course, you will have experience in managing a variety of learning needs within your school and support colleagues to take a more inclusive approach in their own pedagogy. =

With this Master’s degree, graduates will become eligible to apply for a range of international posts in relation to SEN, Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), and project management. Sites such as ‘Devnet’ and ‘UN Jobs’ provide many examples of relevant opportunities. The degree does not give qualified teacher status in the UK or elsewhere, but is a valuable additional qualification for those who have a relevant first degree (e.g. international studies, psychology, social work, development studies, public policy), and/or a teaching or health care qualification.

There is the opportunity to work towards a further professional qualification in the field of Education both within schools and in other settings, including progression to a PhD. The excellent careers advice provided by personal tutors has encouraged many of our graduates to successfully apply for leadership roles related to inclusion and diversity in schools and other educational settings. These include: lecturers, policy developers, head teachers, special educational needs coordinators and managers of community and charitable organisations.



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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. Read more

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.  

  • Birmingham and Black Country based programmes starting September 2018. 
  • Staffordshire based programmes starting January 2019. 

Course details

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:

  • is a qualified teacher;
  • if required to complete an induction period under regulations made under section 135A of the Education Act 2002, has satisfactorily completed such an induction period; and
  • is working as a teacher at the school. 

(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.

Learning and teaching

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 role of the SENCo & the statutory framework for SEND (including relevant policy requirements) 
  • effective approaches to identification, assessment and intervention (principles and practice; differentiation – quality first teaching, waves of intervention, individualised education planning)
  • responding to diversity (areas of need) – cognition and learning; communication & interaction; social, emotional and mental health, sensory and/or physical needs 
  • pupil participation, parent partnership & inter-service collaboration 
  • inclusive provision management (effective use of human resources and interventions, and evidence based practice) 
  • developing and sustaining effective SEND leadership (preparation for inspection; whole-school initiatives such as Achievement for All) 
  • Professional development to improve practice. 

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.  

Assessment

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:

  • An evaluation: focusing on specific course content and aspects of the SENCo’s role and school based SEN procedures. 
  • A case study:  focusing on in-depth work with a young person and their family.
  • A professional development project presented as a brief ‘research report’ focusing on an aspect of professional development carried out by the SENCo in her/his school or setting.

Employability

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.



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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). Read more

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:

  • In years one and three the programme is a distance learning programme, completed wholly online.
  • In year two, the programme is either distance learning or blended learning depending on the pathway taken.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

Course details

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:

  • an overarching understanding of educational inclusion and SEND and associated policies;
  • frameworks for evaluating policies and practice; and
  • introductions to different SEND groupings (as conceptualised in many educational systems).
  • an exploration of the socio-cultural conceptualisations of disability and SEND practice in a global context 

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. 

 Download information on the different levels of award and progression routes (PDF opens new window)

You may also be interested in these programmes:

Learning and teaching

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. 

Employability

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. 



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