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To create an inclusive society, different professionals must work together, from education, health and social care to government. This course supports your specialism and prepares you to collaborate. Understand in depth the special educational needs and disability (SEND) requirements of children and young people up to 25 years old. Be clear on SEND rights, ever-complex legislation and specific conditions. Have answers for those under your care, their families and fellow professionals.
The area of special educational needs and disability (SEND) has seen much government interest recently. This course focuses on inclusion. You’ll be able to make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and meet the aspirations of their families.
You’ll join a learning community of committed students, professionals and specialist tutors from a range of related disciplines. Here, the fields of education, health and social care and local and national government combine, as they must in the real world for the greatest outcomes. You’ll understand the perspectives and frameworks of the various stakeholders involved in supporting children and young people with SEND. That means you’ll never work in isolation. You’ll learn about the duties of the different professionals you’ll encounter in your career, and the best practices followed. You’ll be able to see your role, and that of others, within the widest possible context. As SEND professionals, we play an important part in family life through to shaping the inclusive society we wish to see.
You’ll also develop as a specialist in your area of interest, with opportunities to build on the skills you need, alongside understanding. Your role will be to intervene, so we’ll concentrate on maximising your impact, including adopting the right strategies. We’ll help enhance your communication and inter-personal skills too. Rather than sit exams, every assessment will advance the knowledge and skills you need in the field, from report writing to critical reflection and delivering presentations. This assessment work is well-supported; many of the professionals on this course returning to education find this extra help invaluable.
Besides specialist tutors, you’ll benefit from guest lecturers and working alongside other MA education students. The course offers two start dates, so take a look at the Modules below to see what best suits your needs. Existing teaching staff even have the option of using a module as continuing professional development or basing a research project on their own school.
This course will support your career ambitions as a SEND professional. This can be in the areas of education, health and social care, a local authority support role or even national policymaking. For newly-qualified professionals, including tomorrow’s teachers, the MA will enhance employability, helping you on your path to becoming a SEND specialist.
If you’re already a Specialist Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), you’ll increase your understanding further. We will accredit a SENCO award, and the prior knowledge that comes with this programme, so you can progress to an MA with fewer modules. Teachers and those in allied roles, including learning support assistants and teaching assistants, will find this course valuable for personal development and career advancement. It could even help with a move to a related field. The same is true for those committed to delivering SEND health and social care. International students may wish to use the approaches to strengthen and influence policy and provision within their home country, or develop new structures and career opportunities.
Whatever your background, interests and professional needs, you’ll learn how to make a difference by engaging collaboratively. And it’s up to you how far you take this course. Professionally recognised intermediate awards (PG Cert and PG Dip) are available if you don’t wish to study for the full MA.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
SEND in ContextUnderstand the entitlement context for children and young adults with SEND aged up to 25 years. View this against the backdrop of legislative change and evolving models, as well as global perspectives on ‘need’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘personalisation’. Alongside rights, explore the duties, procedures and principles for practice expected from those working in this field to improve quality of life and aspirations. Be clear on the implications of mandates for collaborative working and providing planning that’s centred on an individual. To help grow your general understanding, you’ll look at case studies of children with special education needs and disabilities. This will cover a number of conditions. All viewed from a range of professional perspectives.
Intervention for SENDFocus on specific needs and conditions, as well as intervening to include stakeholders, supported by the principle of equality of opportunity. Consider the tension between identifying need and the philosophy of inclusion. Understand the implications of ‘Quality First Teaching’ within new frameworks and for helping young people up to 25 years of age live life in their communities. To help with this module’s objectives, you’ll explore a range of needs, including communication and interaction; cognition and learning; emotional, social and mental health; and sensory and physical requirements. You’ll consider the implications for children and young people with specific conditions, for example ADHD, autism and dyslexia. You’ll critically assess what such conditions mean to families too, and approaches to intervention. And you’ll appraise working practices for one good reason: the best solutions will mean engaging every relevant stakeholder, building on partnership strengths.
Educational and Social Research MethodsThis module provides you with the opportunity to consider the aims and intentions of educational research, critique published journal articles, and examine the role of evidence from research as a basis for improving education and social care. You will gain grounding in educational research issues, methods and strategies together with knowledge of how to match intended outcomes with specific educational questions and methods of investigation.
Postgraduate Major Project (double module)The Major Project is central to achieving your MA. You’ll show how you’re able to combine learning from previous modules. This learning will give you the basis for planning, conducting and writing up a research or work-based project. This module is also the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to raise significant and meaningful questions in relation to your chosen topic, alongside a critical understanding of research methods and their relationship to knowledge. You’ll be well placed to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in your research or professional practice and to expand existing knowledge, contributing to the development of best practice.
If you start your course in September, you will take the following module
National and International Policy PerspectivesPolicy has a central place in all phases of education at macro, meso and micro levels. Students taking this module will have the opportunity to explore aspects of policy in depth, considering the ideologies, values and evidence that inform policy and the position of individuals and groups when responding to and implementing policy. MA Education and MA Early Childhood Education students take this module together as some global and national policy initiatives have an impact across all sectors and policy developments in one part of the educational system are likely to affect others. Students are expected to be active learners, engaging in group discussion and group presentations in order to share their ideas about both theory and practice.
If you start your course in January, you will take the following module
Specialist Studies in Learning and TeachingThis module is designed to enable students to explore a subject that is relevant to their role as a teacher in compulsory or post compulsory education. Students will be required to focus on one of the specialist areas provided by the course team and to work with other students to successfully achieve the learning outcomes. Students will choose from a range of subject specialisms which will include but not necessarily be limited to: Developing Assessment for Learning in the classroom context; Enhancing learning and teaching using learning technologies; Supporting students with Special Educational Needs; Outdoor Learning; Critical Education and Social Justice. This module may be used as a vehicle to offer an agreed specialist subject for continuing professional development purposes, for example, if a group of teachers in a school wanted to pursue a particular topic to link with a particular issue. In some circumstances this Specialist Studies in Learning and Teaching module could be replaced by the Professional Enquiry module for example, if a group of teachers wished to pursue an action research project in a school context.
We use a range of assessment methods to demonstrate your developing knowledge and theoretical understanding. Assessments will also expand the skills you’ll need in practice to best support children and young people with special education needs and disabilities, alongside their families. And you’ll be able to show how you’ve learned to engage other professionals across disciplines, empowering them to be as effective as possible.
Instead of sitting exams, you’ll benefit from collaborative assessments, including making group presentations. You’ll develop core strengths in valuable appraisal methods, such as the ability to carry out individual critical reflections. You’ll also carry out an extended evaluation of issues applied directly to your specific interests and context.
Each assignment will progress your learning, assessing your ability to communicate with clarity, both verbally and in written reports aimed at a range of audiences. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can meet postgraduate-level study, and have fluent, accurate English. Please see Entry requirements for further details.