Education (Special Needs Education) - MA
If you need to get a good grounding in special educational needs, disability and inclusion at postgraduate level, this course will broaden and challenge your existing knowledge. It could be a starting point for a future career in a range of settings or help you to develop in your current role....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
- Level Postgraduate Taught
- Study mode Part Time
- Location City South
- Award MA
- Start date September 2022
- School School of Education and Social Work
- Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences
If you need to get a good grounding in special educational needs, disability and inclusion at postgraduate level, this course will broaden and challenge your existing knowledge. It could be a starting point for a future career in a range of settings or help you to develop in your current role. If you are already a SENCO it will give you many skills for your role and help you develop and expand this in line with the range of special needs you may encounter.
What's covered in this course?
Our course doesn’t aim to provide you with all the answers. Instead it will enable you to explore and develop new thinking and ultimately work towards expertise in your field. If you believe that pupils with special needs have untapped potential, and you want to help them explore this, then this is the course for you. Inclusive learning and teaching are at the heart of any good practice; these modules will help you explore this further and understand the important role of nurturing development in all pupils with special educational needs.
You do not need a teaching qualification to study on this course, nor do you have to intend becoming a teacher. We welcome anyone who wants to expand their understanding, knowledge and skill set in the changing world of special education and disability.
You’ll have the opportunity to explore how the education system works for special needs and disability, how it all evolved and the challenges it poses for these pupils. You’ll broaden your knowledge on the range of conditions and their impact on learning and develop new teaching skills to help pupils overcome their day to day challenges. The focus of all modules will be critical thinking, challenging and developing your knowledge to enable you to become an expert in your field.
Why Choose Us?
This course is delivered by qualified lecturer practitioners from NICE – Centre for Movement Disorders, making it a unique partnership merging theory and practice.
The course focuses on development of pupil potential and how to meet all needs to promote a more effective teaching/classroom environment.
You will develop new ways of thinking and new skills to enhance your impact on the development and learning of these special pupils.
You can use this course to put you at the forefront of professional practice in special education and more importantly explore new potential in your pupils.
This recognised qualification will help you to meet a variety of Continuing Professional Development requirements.
You can use evidence of previous study or relevant experience to claim Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
Applicants should have a degree or equivalent qualification, or professional experience that equates to degree level.
All suitably-qualified candidates will normally be interviewed and selection will be based on ability to benefit from and contribute to the course of study.
Exemption from some modules may be granted for appropriate prior learning, including credits gained on a PGCE course.
We welcome applications from mature students and from members of communities traditionally under-represented in higher education.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2022
- Part Time
- 2 years
Sorry, this course is not available to International students.
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
PgCert and PgDip Stages
This course will develop you as an educator in your practice working with learners with disabilities and special educational needs. It will specifically focus on practical challenges that you may face on a day to day basis. The course will highlight change in policy locally and nationally and will explore underlying theoretical principles relating to policy and practice.
A PgCert requires successful completion of 60 credits at Level 7, while a PgDip requires 120. If you are carrying credit into this course through APCL or APEL, you may not be required to take as many modules, but this will be discussed on an individual basis.
This module focuses on your transition to level 7 work. The transition is important because although a typical taught Master’s programme can look very similar to its undergraduate equivalent there are a number of important differences, such as the greater emphasis on your ability to undertake independent, self-directed study. This is true for all taught units, not just the dissertation project that concludes a typical Master’s programme; we will expect you to prepare for assignments by independently researching your particular areas of interest and experience.
If you work with individuals with disabilities, this module will help expand your understanding of the development of statutory care and education legislation within the UK and develop a wider awareness of the impact these policies have upon the individuals themselves, and those working with them.
The module looks at societal perceptions and misconceptions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in the wider context and explores available provisions for children and young people with SEND. You will be introduced to a range of issues related to social, emotional, psychological and behavioural difficulties as we examine national and local policies in relation to definitions, legislation and guidance documents. You will develop your understanding of the concept of SEND and what is possible to achieve.
This module is can also be taken as a standalone credit-bearing course.
This module is appropriate for teachers/lecturers working within all education roles including schools, HE Colleges, health education, and teaching roles where you want to develop your knowledge and practice to enhance your teaching skills (pedagogy).
This module enables you to consider how, in order to be a successful pedagogue, an understanding of ‘self’ is as crucial as an understanding of the learner. The aim of this module is to guide and help you to develop a deeper level of professional self-reflection and provide a framework within which to challenge your daily work practices. With a focus upon your pedagogical role within your current, or possibly desired work setting, this module has the potential to help you expand your observation and understanding of the needs of the learner. Framed within a special needs context, it aims to develop your understanding and observation of human potential, helps you explore your perception of your role as a ‘transformer’, and so develop your ability to facilitate ‘transformation’ of the learner’s ‘potential’ into ‘actual’ development and learning.
This module is can also be taken as a standalone credit bearing course.
This module is appropriate for teachers and practice-based practitioners working in any setting where they are involved in coaching, team building and leadership skills. In this module, coaching as a collaborative, reflective process of relationship building is explored at both theoretical and practical levels.
This module aims to provide you with a broad and analytical insight into the role of the coach within special educational needs settings. The skills and knowledge developed through this module will enhance your professional qualities and expertise enabling you to explore the ways in which you can expand your ability to support all members of the team, colleagues and others who work with special needs learners.
This module is can also be taken as a standalone credit-bearing course.
Doing a Master’s degree involves many skills, which will be familiar from an undergraduate programme of study; however, there are some crucial differences. This core module is designed to introduce you to the principles of educational research at Masters level encouraging you to build on your experiences of conducting independent research. The module covers everything you need to know in order to conduct research effectively.
This module is designed for a range of professionals working with groups of children or adults with disabilities who wish to understand how to maximise the potential of group work. These may include teachers working in mainstream or special education settings, group therapists, or anyone interested in analysing group work as a critical tool in helping achieve and develop potential.
The purpose of the module is to gain an in-depth understanding of social learning theories and the practical application of these within a learning environment. The focus of the work is around Vygotskian psychology and how this can be used in a modern-day practical based context, enabling the teacher to challenge how they can support learning within a social context. Topics include differentiation of activity, use of language, social construct of groups as well as detailed understanding of the impact of sensory disorders such as dyspraxia and autism on learning in a group environment.
This module is can also be taken as a standalone credit-bearing course.
This is the culmination of your Master’s programme. It provides you with the opportunity to develop a systematic understanding of research in relation to your chosen area, and to develop your professional practice through the processes of educational research. You will be encouraged to use self-direction and originality in pursuing your development focus through this independent piece of independent research.
The course aims to give you a postgraduate qualification, whether you are interested in early years, primary, secondary further or higher education. You do not need a relevant degree to do it if you have the appropriate experience. The course will be run part-time and is designed for those who want to study alongside their current workplace. Individual modules can be studied separately and/or combined with other MA modules from BCU as a part of a full time MA Education.
You could use evidence from previous study, which relates to this subject, to claim Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning (APEL). This process involves mapping evidence against the learning outcomes for specific modules. You will need to speak to the Course Director first if you are considering this option.
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods on this course. You will attend regular lectures and seminars, where students can share their learning and develop an understanding of different international contexts.
You will attend some whole class and small group sessions and benefit from one-to-one support and online collaboration – using our virtual learning system, Moodle.
Our course team has a wide experience of the educational system and also in teaching, leadership and research.
We believe the development of transferable skills is a priority. It is a very important aspect when teaching at Masters level and all modules will contribute towards this.
NICE is a unique charity which believes that every person with a movement disorder has both the potential and the right to specialised services which recognise their needs, desires and wishes.
We teach children and adults with movement disorders strategies to gain greater control over their movements leading to increased confidence, skills and a higher level of potential. To achieve this we use a systematic programme of conscious movement strategies called Conductive Education. We have been working in partnership with BCU since 2012 providing both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the field of Conductive Education.
This course allows those in the field of education to fulfil their continuous professional development needs by providing relevant courses for career enhancement.
Some pathways within MA Education include opportunities to undertake voluntary work experience in local schools and other educational institutions. There is also a Placement Experience module which can be used to gain credits for experiences like this as part of your studies.
This module provides opportunities for you to undertake a work experience in educational settings as part of your programme of study. You will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced teachers and other education professionals to develop your knowledge, understanding and skill in the classroom and/or the wider school environment.
It will help you understand that professionals who continue to learn themselves, recognise that continual development can positively impact their own and others learning experiences.
You can complete this module at any time during the academic year and the number of days to be completed will be negotiated with individual module tutors and the programme team.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Facilities and Staff
Our School of Education and Social Work is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.
We’ve spent £41million expanding the education facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice. Alongside classrooms and lecture theatres, we also have a range of specialist teaching and learning spaces for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.
As well as subject-specific rooms, our facilities include the Primary Innovation Lab, which houses £24,000 worth of LEGO. This room is a special resource for our education students, offering an innovative and creative way to approach subjects across the curriculum – from computing to English, mathematics to art. The lab responds to research that children and young people learn best from practical experience.
Our Social Work students have access to a home environment room and mock hospital wards which offer an opportunity to gain experience of working with service users in different situations.
The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.
Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:
- Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
- Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
- Microsoft Office software
- Research and statistical software
- Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home
Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.
In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.
Dr Louise Lambert
Associate Professor, and Director of Post Qualifying / Postgraduate Teaching, Professional Development and Enterprise
Louise is currently the Director of Post Qualifying / Postgraduate Teaching, Professional Development and Enterprise. Prior to this, Louise led the Masters in Education course at Birmingham City University and she has worked on a range of Initial Teacher Education programmes across three universities. Before working in Higher Education, Louise worked in secondary schools in senior leadership and for many years as a Head of English and teacher of English and Drama.
Louise’s professional doctorate explored Initial Teacher Education through a post-human lens. Her research interests are around the professional development of teachers in all education sectors, including Higher Education. She is also interested in creative, arts based and participatory methodologies and in practise as research or close to practice, practitioner research.More about Louise
Dr Amanda French
Amanda has worked in higher, further, adult education and the voluntary sector for 30 years as a lecturer, writing developer and researcher. Her research interests include academic writing, learner development in higher education, participatory research, transition experiences in education, employment literacies, widening participation and social justice, radical methodologies, critical pedagogies, postgraduate teaching and learning.More about Amanda