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MA Specific Learning Difficulties/ Dyslexia

Course Description

The opportunity to combine an academic but practically oriented course alongside (on completion of the required professional practice):

Gaining Approved Teacher Status (ATS) or Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).
Applying for the Patoss Practising Assessor’s Certificate.
Bath Spa University offers a Professional Master’s Programme pathway in Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) / Dyslexia which focuses upon identification, assessment and practical support for learners of all ages with SpLD / Dyslexia.

Are you a teacher or teaching assistant who would like to develop specialist skills?
Do you have a minimum of two year's experience within an educational context and are you looking for a higher specialist qualification?
Does your work involve vulnerable learners?
Would you like to develop the skills to support learners with SPLD / Dyslexia?
Would you like the opportunity to apply to the British Dyslexia Association for their sought after Approved Teacher Status (ATS), Associate Membership (AMBDA) and Assessment Practising Certificate (APC)?
Would you like to be able to combine this with working towards a part or full-time PG Master’s Degree or PG Diploma?

Course structure

The course is offered in both full and part-time modes. It is normally one year duration in full-time mode or the master’s can be completed in up to six years in part-time mode.

The three SPLD/Dyslexia modules (TT7364, TT7365 and TT7369) comprise taught sessions and assessed projects.

Completion of the first 60 credit module on the course (TT7364 – Identifying and Supporting Learners with SpLD/Dyslexia) leads to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate in SpLD/Dyslexia, and subsequent completion of the 30 credit second module (TT7365 – Assessment Methodology for SpLD/Dyslexia) alongside the taught module (TT7369 – Identifying and Overcoming Maths Difficulties) or a 30 credit Independent study, leads to the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in SpLD/Dyslexia. Successful completion of modules TT7364 and TT7365 alongside successful submission of research training (PR7101 and PR7102) and a Dissertation (PR7120) in the final part of the course will lead to the award of a Master's in SpLD/Dyslexia.

The course combines theory and practice through workshops, case studies, research, analysis, assignments and the justification of your professional practice and experience through the application and evaluation of research.


The MA in SPLD/Dyslexia focuses upon identification, assessment and practical support for learners of all ages with SpLD/Dyslexia. The modules can combine direct academic teaching and study at master’s level at the University to obtain the academci awards of PG Cert/Dip or Masters in SpLD/Dyslexia with the optional development of practical competence required to obtain AMBDA accreditation from the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) through professional practice supervised by expert tutors.

Alongside research training modules (PR7101 and PR7102; 30 credits) and a supervised dissertation (PR7120: 60 credits), the full time programme includes:

Identifying and Supporting Learners with SpLD / Dyslexia (TT7364):
The first phase of the pathway provides 60 M-level credits on submission of the academic assignments. It develops the ability to carry out assessments to compile an individual learning profile to underpin the development and teaching of individualised programmes for learners with SpLD/Dyslexia across a range of contexts. Methods and strategies to develop the inclusive practices which can support learners across the curriculum are also explored. The module consists of two master’s level units of 30 M level credits, each, amounting to 60 hours face to face tuition, assignments plus a commitment to independent study time. The total of twenty 3 hour sessions (60 hours) will run as twilight sessions on Tuesdays from 5-8pm at the Newton Park campus.
Semester One – October to December 2012 – will focus upon the identification of the learning differences underpinning SpLD / Dyslexia and their impact upon the development of literacy.
Semester Two – January to March 2013 - will focus upon the experience and evaluation of programmes and methodologies to support the development of literacy and cross curricular study skills for learners with dyslexia.

Assessment Methodology for SpLD / Dyslexia (TT7365):
This module will develop the ability to undertake full diagnostic assessments for dyslexia to inform programmes and appropriate support, such as Examination Access Arrangements. This module comprises 36 hours face to face tuition, professional practice based assignments, plus a commitment to private study. It is likely to be delivered through three full day workshops (two Saturdays and one weekday TBC) and seven twilight sessions on Tuesdays between October 2012 and January 2013. Places on this module are strictly limited for 2012-13. Submission of the (optional) professional practice portfolio alongside academic practice-based assignments will obtain dual accreditation enabling suitably qualified teachers and speech and language therapist professionals to gain the sought after BDA Approved Teacher Status (ATS), on completion of TT7364, or AMBDA (TT7365). Tutor support for the portfolio will cost £360 for each of the two modules (Total £720).

Identifying and Overcoming Maths difficulties
TT7369-30: The focus is upon developing an understanding of the difficulties faced by primary or secondary students with SpLD/dyslexia or dyscalculia when learning mathematics and how to help students overcome these challenges. It will be led by Julie Kay an international expert in maths and dyslexia. You will use observation, discussion, standardised and informal testing, along with the research of other professionals to identify the difficulties and develop the skills and strategies needed to overcome them using a multi-sensory approach. You will be helped to select suitable written and concrete materials to be used when teaching pupils with these learning profiles. You will learn to develop, deliver and evaluate individualised structured, multi-sensory numeracy programmes based upon interpretation of assessment data.

Course assessment

There are no written exams and each module is assessed by coursework. This typically involves 5,000 words for a 30 credit module. The dissertation is 15,000–20,000 words and worth 60 credits. It focuses on an area linked with SpLD/dyslexia mutually agreed with a specialist tutor who also offers guidance and support in the writing of the dissertation. To achieve the award you will need 180 credits in total.

Visit the MA Specific Learning Difficulties/ Dyslexia page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants (with the exception of speech and language therapists and psychologists) should have a first degree in Education or linked pedagogy and, ideally, two years of teaching experience.If you already have a recognised SpLD / Dyslexia qualification at ATS level, you can apply to use this prior qualification to gain entry to the Assessment Methodology module as Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL) towards the Masters or PG Dip in SpLD / Dyslexia as well as using this to top up your BDA qualification to AMBDA level.

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