PGCert Special Educational Needs Coordination
Cass School of Education and Communities
The course is designed to critically engage with current thinking and ideas about inclusive and specialist education, and is designed to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required to be a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). The course fulfils all the requirements for achieving the National SENCo Award. The 2015 Special Educational Needs Code of Practice stipulates that for SENCos new to the role, it is mandatory to gain this award within three years of taking up the role.
The course covers inclusion and leadership within special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and it draws upon current legislation and national and international research.
The course will enable you to study and research current and relevant issues concerning a range of special educational needs and disabilities and to develop your knowledge of inclusive pedagogy and practice.
The course meets the learning outcomes for the National SENCO Award (NCTL, 2015), allowing you to develop your expertise and knowledge in the area of special educational needs and disabilities while fulfilling Department of Education requirements for the role of SENCO.
Understand a wide range of special educational needs
This course will support Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) and aspiring SENCOs to develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It also covers key concepts in leadership, supporting students to fulfil the strategic role required of SENCOs in schools.
Learn from active practitioners
Our staff are practitioners in the field of SEND, with many years of experience of working with children and young people with a range of learning needs. They bring a wealth of practical experience and knowledge of the most current research to the programme. Staff also have extensive experience of the role of SENCO and of leadership within education.
What we're researching
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’.
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, where you can access key readings, additional materials and use the discussion board.
In addition to weekly lectures, you will 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.
A key aspect of the course is the Work Based Practice Portfolio. This is where you gather evidence of your work in schools to meet the learning outcomes of the National SENCo Award.
To help you complete this portfolio, you will be given specific tasks between sessions, alongside workshops where you can discuss your progress and any areas where you feel you need further support.
You will have one year after being awarded your Postgraduate Certificate to complete this portfolio, and you will have continued support from your tutor during this time.
PGCert Special Educational Needs Coordination Course Leader
The role of SENCO is key within schools, and this course supports SENCOs to develop their knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence in the area of SEND and leadership. Students are supported by tutors who have in-depth knowledge of the demands of the role. They are able to access support via email, using discussion boards on the Virtual Learning Environment and through face-to-face tutorials.
What you'll learn
The course will also develop your leadership skills, allowing you to play a key role within your school. You will also explore the role of multi-agency working for pupils with SEND, linking this to current legislation and practice within your own context.
Throughout the course, you will be helped to develop a critical understanding of theory alongside practical knowledge. This is reflected in a work-based practice portfolio, which allows you to meet the learning outcomes for the National SENCo Award (NCTL, 2015).
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 educational needs and disabilities.
What you'll study
Leadership and SEND (core)
How you'll be assessed
Due to the practical nature of the course there are no examinations. The Postgraduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination is assessed by coursework. Each module assessment will be a single submissions portfolio of 5000 words or equivalent.
Assessment tasks will involve critical reflection, professional work-based tasks and research and action planning. You will also critically engage with research and current thinking in SEN.
Each assessment will consist of an aspect of practitioner research, where you will be asked to identify and clarify an issue in your setting, then work with colleagues as appropriate to plan a change that might address the issue.
If you want to receive the National SENCO Award you will also have to complete the Work-Based Practice Portfolio. This will show evidence of how you have met the learning outcomes required for the award, and needs to be completed within one year of being awarded the Postgraduate Certificate.
Your future career
The skills and knowledge you develop on this course will give you expertise in the areas of inclusion, SEND and leadership, whether you are working as or aspiring to be a SENCo.
However, the course will also help you develop a range of transferrable skills that are desirable in a wide range of careers. These 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.
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