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National Award Special Educational Needs Coordination

Summary 2013/14

  • Join one of the leading providers of postgraduate professional development for Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos) and reach the highest standard of professional practice and scholarship;
  • Benefit from a flexible delivery of online and face-to-face sessions facilitated nationwide at central locations;
  • Enhance your practice, knowledge and understanding of the range of specific issues related to Special Educational Needs and inclusion, enabling you to better support SEN(D) pupils / learners;
  • Engage with a broad conceptual base of current SENCo practice, consider the use of relevant research and its associated ethical issues and examine the nature and place of experiential learning in the role of the SENCo.

As a serving SENCo, this National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination has been developed to provide you with a rich, critical and broad-based understanding of the theories and concepts surrounding inter-professional working with children and young people experiencing barriers to learning. It will help you further develop your practice as a committed, responsible and creative professional, capable of critical thinking and practical action and support you in enhancing whole-school provision for pupils who have Special Educational Needs or disabilities. Over 2,000 SENCOs nationally have benefited from the expertise of the Edge Hill SEN team.

Location: Online study with mandatory conference attendance.
Please note, there are two conference days per module which will be held in central locations such as Edge Hill University, London, Birmingham and Gateshead (subject to numbers).
Course Type: National Award
Attendance & Study Mode:
1-3 years: Online
Start Date: September 2014

2013/14 Entry Requirements

To join this programme, you must hold Qualified Teacher Status and be employed in the post of Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) within a school or setting. Eligible schools and settings include maintained schools (including special schools), non-maintained special schools, city technology colleges, academies, free schools and pupil referral units. You will have your status as a new-to-role or experienced SENCo verified by the head teacher of your setting prior to joining the programme.

If you wish to study on modules where distance learning is required, you must have access to a PC with a suitable broadband connection which provides good internet access; you must also have a secure postal address. All participants joining the programme will be required to meet the Disclosure and Barring Service's (DBS, previously CRB) mandatory criteria of 'Clearance to Work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults'.

How do I apply?

Download the application form (pdf).

If you require any advice or further information about the application process, please contact the SENCo Administrative Office at Edge Hill University on 01695 650997 or email

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Faculty Website

Faculty of Education


What will I study?

This award will begin with an online Training Needs Analysis. This needs analysis will provide a general view of your knowledge, skills and understanding and also identify the particular needs resulting from the context of the setting in which you are in post.

The taught element of the course will comprise two Level 7 modules, one per semester, which provide elements applicable to Special Educational Needs, inclusion, understanding barriers to learning, leadership, and collaborative working.

How will I study?

You will study online and will be required to attend four conference days throughout the programme.


If you are a new SENCo, you will be expected to engage in work-shadowing to observe practice beyond your own setting.

Who will be teaching me?

You will be taught by well qualified and experienced tutors with expertise in the field of special needs, together with potential input from the Local Authority.

How will I be assessed?

The programme will be assessed via two reflective portfolios (one in each module). These will include practice-based assessment tasks and a critical reflection of 2,500 words. You will also be required to collate a portfolio of evidence in relation to the 55 SENCo Standards.

What are my career prospects?

This award has been described as 'mandatory' by the Department for Education for new SENCos working in the mainstream sector. It is also considered as a 'strongly advised' qualification by the Department for Education for experienced SENCos in the same sector. The qualification is therefore central to career progression for all serving SEN Coordinators in schools.

Further study at Edge Hill University

This award is worth 60 Masters level credits (level 7) and, as such, can be used towards the MA Education.

Related Programmes

Still want more?

If you have any questions you would like to ask the programme leader about this course, please contact:

  • Lisa O'Connor, Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP
  • Tel: 01695 650882
  • Email:

For further information on how this programme could enhance your practice, to meet the course team and to browse answers to frequently asked questions, visit

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PBM4015 Excellent Teaching and Learning in Inclusive Learning Environments (30 credits) enables you to investigate, evaluate and reflect on current educational attitudes and policies that will support highly effective practice in inclusive education. The module aims to enable critical reflection with a view to developing a deep understanding of the benefits, and challenges, of providing excellent inclusive educational practices. A structure is provided within which areas of outstanding professional practice can be identified and developed. The practice based research element of the module enables participants to explore theories, concepts and understanding in relation to their own setting which will enable the development of excellent practice.

PBM4016 Developing Excellent Consultative and Collaborative Working Practices (30 credits) considers how, within the present educational climate, where issues of Special Educational Need (SEN) and Inclusion are under review, a flexible response is required from all professional educators. The module provides a structure within which you can identify and investigate areas of professional relevance and begin to develop highly effective practice. You will consider parent and pupil voice, collaboration of professionals, and the theories, concepts and understanding of everyday practice. The module will also involve investigating the issues presented through the diverse needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs.

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Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
L39 4QP
United Kingdom
GEO: 53.559704; -2.87388
+44(0)1695 575171