MA Special Educational Needs
Cass School of Education and Communities
The 2015 Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (DfE/DoH) specifies that all teachers must be seen as teachers of pupils with SEN and take responsibility for the progress of all learners in their class.
With an estimated 20 per cent of our young people in school with special educational needs, it is important for teachers to have access to current research and to develop their understanding and confidence in this area.
The MA in Special Educational Needs is designed to critically engage with current thinking and ideas about inclusive and specialist education.
It will allow you to develop your knowledge of specific learning difficulties, and to become a reflective practitioner who is able to use research to inform your own practice.
This course will give you a firm grounding in understanding a range of special needs across a variety of age groups. Subjects include autism, dyslexia, social and emotional mental health issues, inclusion and leadership in SEN.
Flexible course options
The course will give you a grounding in theory about SEN and inclusion, as well as an understanding of current legislation and policy. You can personalise your learning and address areas of interest and challenge in the context of your work, allowing you to develop your own practice.
The course focuses on collaborative learning, which will support you to address current issues and problems through the strength of collective knowledge, experience and expertise. A real strength of the course is the diverse student body. People bring a range of expertise and experience, enriching the learning for all.
Learn from experienced practitioners
Our staff are experienced practitioners in the field of SEN, with expertise including autism spectrum condition, dyslexia, behaviour, inclusion and leadership. They bring a wealth of practical experience and knowledge of the most current research to the course.
What we're researching
Elsewhere in the School, Dr Wayne Tennent, who teaches on the MA Education course, is an expert in reading comprehension, having written two books on the subject and led numerous projects in schools which have demonstrated impact on pupil achievement in this area. He works extensively with the United Kingdom Literacy Association.
The research of Nicole Whitelaw and Julie Gariazzo, both of whom teach on the MA Special Educational Needs course, is in the area of autism, while Dr Margaret Etherington, course leader of the MA Education, is an expert on art and gender in education.
John Macklin, leader of the MA Leadership in Education, carries out research into leadership in schools in relation to complexity theory. Warren Kidd, PGCert Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Course Leader, researches in the area of teacher identity and has published extensively in the area of sociology and teaching and learning.
Our Professional Doctorate (EdD) course draws on the input of researchers from across the Cass school of Education and Communities. It is led by Dr Gerry Czerniawski, who has published extensively in the areas of teaching and learning, teacher and teacher educator identity, continuing professional development (CPD) and pupil voice.
A founder member of the International Forum for Teacher Educator Development (InFoTED), he serves on the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Council and is chair of BERA's British Curriculum Forum. Gerry is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Making a difference
UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.
MA Special Educational Needs Course Leader
Each module is carefully designed to build subject knowledge, for example about dyslexia or autism spectrum conditions, while at the same time supporting students to develop the critical writing skills required for master’s level work. Students can have time with their module tutor to support their writing, as well as attending writing workshops that run each term.
What you'll study
Exploring Behaviour: Theories and perspectives for practice (option)
Exploring Literacy Difficulties and Dyslexia: themes and perspectives (option)
Autism Spectrum Conditions and Educational Approaches (option)
Leadership and SEND (option)
Professional Practice in SEN (option)
SEN Research Methodologies and Dissertation (core)
How you'll be assessed
There are no examinations on this course. We assess you on your coursework for the PG Cert and PG Diploma modules, and a dissertation for the master's module. Each module assessment will typically be a single submission portfolio of 5,000 words or equivalent. There will be a dissertation of 14,000 words.
How you'll learn
There is a focus on collaborative learning, building on the strength of shared experience, knowledge and expertise. During taught sessions, you will be encouraged to interact with your fellow professionals, allowing you to explore theory and practice.
Group activities also help you to develop your ideas through discussion with others before your approach the assessment tasks.
Each module is supported by a virtual learning environment (VLE), where you can access key readings, additional materials and use the discussion board.
In addition to weekly lectures, you have access to the module tutor via email or in face-to-face tutorials. Our tutors have all worked professionally to a high level in the field, and have experience in supporting participants from a wide range of professional contexts and backgrounds.
Each module encourages you to link your developing knowledge and understanding to your own professional context. Professional learning is further developed through the Research and Methodology module, which prepares you to write a 14 000 word dissertation.
To complete the dissertation, you will carry out small-scale research within an educational setting. You can link theory and current research to an area of interest, which allows you to reflect on your own practice and plan for change.
What you'll learn
You will develop detailed knowledge of specific special needs, including autism, dyslexia and social and emotional mental-health issues.
Throughout the course, you will be supported to develop a critical understanding of theory alongside the practical knowledge you will gain.
You will be encouraged to make links between theory and your own practice, and become a reflective practitioner who is able to think proactively and strategically about provision for pupils with special and additional learning needs.
Your future career
These skills include knowledge of theories, legislation, policy and practice, computer literacy, planning and time management and written communication.
It will also demonstrate your ability to design and carry out small-scale research and to engage in critical thinking.
The skills and knowledge developed on this course will allow those working in teaching to gain expertise in the increasingly sought after area of special needs.
However, this course could also support your career in areas such as therapy, support work, social work, educational psychology and work with adults with additional needs.
Autism Spectrum Conditions and LearningVIEW COURSE
English Language TeachingVIEW COURSE
English Language Teaching (Distance Learning)VIEW COURSE
Leadership in EducationVIEW COURSE
Professional Doctorate in EducationVIEW COURSE
Professional Doctorate in Social WorkVIEW COURSE
Special and Additional Learning Needs - PgDip, PgCertVIEW COURSE
Special Educational Needs CoordinationVIEW COURSE
Understanding and Supporting BehaviourVIEW COURSE
Youth and Community WorkVIEW COURSE