Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties MEd/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate/Advanced Certificate

Quick links: Modules | Fees and Funding | Entry Requirements | How to apply

The Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties blended learning programme has been developed for a range of professionals/practitioners who work with children and adults with learning difficulties in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/ PMLD) including autism (where it overlaps with SLD/ PMLD). Most learners with SLD/ PMLD use specialist services such as special schools or colleges but some use inclusive services in nurseries, mainstream schools or community education. The programme will cover issues for staff who work in any of these services and has particular emphasis on working together to meet needs. The programme will aim to study systematically, critically and in-depth, aspects of educating children and adults with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. In particular, it will emphasis working together to meet needs.

If you are interested in this programme and work in a country other than the UK, please note that the term severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties refers to what is described as mental retardation, severe developmental disabilities or severe intellectual disabilities elsewhere in the world. The course covers the most disabled children and adults in our society. In many countries these children and adults live in institutions and do not attend school nor join in community activities such as paid work.

Download information on all the postgraduate study programmes in the School of Education (PDF)

Admissions Tutor and Programme Lead

Dr Lila Kossyvaki
www.birmingham.ac.uk/lila-kossyvaki

Email: a.kossyvaki@bham.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)1214143464

Tutors

Helen Bradley
https://uk.linkedin.com/in/helen-bradley-aa584828 

Martin Goodwin
http://independent.academia.edu/MartinGoodwin

The Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties blended learning programme which is a combination of campus face-to-face sessions and online education. Each module contains a 3 day campus study course and during the study weekends and the study days you will have the chance to be taught by academics from the University of Birmingham and other institutions as well as frontline practitioners and well-know training providers such as Peter Imray and Dave Hewett (Find out more in the Learning and Teaching section).

The programme aims to: 

  • enable participants to study systematically, critically and in-depth, aspects of educating children and adults with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties that are relevant to their own practice 
  • provide the support needed for participants to analyse critically and improve their own theory and practice with children and adults with severe, profound and multple learning difficulties 
  • encourage participants to evaluate critically and develop their collaborative work across disciplines and agencies 
  • facilitate participants in developing rigorous evidence-based practice

As the programme is designed for a range of practitioners, it is hoped that participants from different agencies or disciplines who work with the same learners will come on the course together (and thus improve their working together). If you are thinking of studying on the course, invite a colleague to study with you!

In the three videos below, four students on the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties course share their views on why they chose the course and what they enjoy about it. You can also find out more about their background in relation to SPMLD.

Awards

To attempt to meet the needs of the wide range of people working with learners with SLD/ PMLD, the programme is available at more than one level. Level H (AdCert) is available for those with certificates and diplomas eg: HND, NVQ level 4/5, Foundation degree, whereas Level M (PGCert, PGDip, MEd) is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). The lecture, seminars and online material contain the same material for everyone but participants studying at different levels are expected to respond to ideas and concepts differently. Further reading and critical analysis is required at M level.

Certificate (PGCert or AdCert) – modules 1 – 3 (Total of 60 credits);
PGDip – modules 1 – 3, plus Special Studies (40 credits), Special Studies (20 credits) (Total of 120 credits);
MEd - modules 1 – 3, plus Special Studies, then the module ‘Practitioner Inquiry in Education’ (preparation for dissertation) plus dissertation (Total of 180 credits).

Find out more about the different levels of award (PDF)

You may also be interested in these programmes which cover multisensory impairments

Modules

The Modules

Each of the three core modules cover 5 themes related to the education of learners with severe and profound learning difficulties (SLD/ PMLD). The modules are free-standing and can be studied in any order.

The themes are:

  • Understanding SLD/ PMLD
  • Assessment and Planning
  • Interventions
  • Curriculum
  • Facilitating Learning.

Each 3 core module is worth 20 credits. Successful study of the 3 modules will lead to either AdCert (H level) or PGCert (M level).

SLD/ PMLD: Reflective Practice

SLD/ PMLD: Enhancing Quality

SLD/ PMLD: Developing Innovations 


Students who wish to carry on and gain the MEd, a practical project (Special Studies), a dissertation and the Practitioner Inquiry in Education (PIE) will also need to be completed.  

Fees and funding

Fees 2017 - 2018

Home/EU

  • Code 8884 AdCert part-time £2,800
  • Code 8895 PGCert part-time £2,800
  • Code 8896 PGDip part-time £2,800
  • Code 8897 MEd part-time £2,800

Overseas 

  • Code 8884 AdCert part-time £7,605
  • Code 8895 PGCert part-time £5,220
  • Code 8896 PGDip part-time £5,220
  • Code 8897 MEd part-time £5,220

Fees for part-time programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. 

The fees shown above are the annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2017. Please note that where courses last more than one year, the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.

Please view our fees for international students page for further information.  

Learn more about fees and funding

For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries

Scholarships, Studentships and Loans

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK has been introduced. This government-backed student loan will provide up to £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available, please view the Scholarships webpage in the School of Education. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the international scholarships page.

For further information contact the School directly or Fees and Financial Support university webpages. 

Entry requirements

Please refer the School of Education entry requirements webpage 

Applicants need to have relevant experience with learners who have SLD/ PMLD and access to at least one learner with SLD/ PMLD during the modules.

International students

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language support - before your course starts

The University offers Presessional English courses for students whose IELTS score does not meet the entry requirements. If you successfully attend one of these courses you won’t need to retake IELTS.  

English language support - during your studies

BIA provides free English language services to international students who are currently studying on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Birmingham.  Services include Open-access English classes, online self-assessment, online materials through CANVAS, email answers to quick questions and individual one to one tutorials.  For a small fee, BIA also offers classes for partners of international postgraduate students and staff, social events including day trips and HOST visits.   

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The 3 core modules are taught through Blended Learning which is a combination of campus face-to-face sessions and online education. Each module contains a number of taught sessions with online study. For the written assignments in each module, a student would be expected to complete around '200 hours of student effort’.

Study weekends

Attendance at each study weekend is compulsory but if one is missed for unavoidable reasons then you can attend in the following year.

Year one

Each module in year one contains a 3 day study weekend. They take place immediately before half terms for most people. You will be expected to carry out reading and online activities both before and after the study weekend in order to explore further the other aspects of each module. Written assignments will usually be due at the beginning of January, April and September.

2017-2018

  • Module 1: Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017
  • Module 2: Friday 16th - Sunday 18th February 2018
  • Module 3: Friday 25th - Sunday 27th May 2018 

Year two

There are two 2 day (Friday and Saturday) study weekends for students who continue to the MEd or BPhil and who wish to take Special Studies followed by PIE (for MEd). These usually take place at the beginning of October and after Easter. 

  • Special studies : Friday 20th to Saturday 21st October 2017
  • PIE: Friday 25th to Saturday 26th May 2018 

Tutorials

Tutorials are mainly held through phone, Skype and email but there are group tutorials during the study weekends and online discussions. Students are organised in small study groups and encouraged to support each other both in the campus weekends and online.

Accommodation

Students who live too far from the campus to travel daily are assisted to book overnight accommodation in the area.   

Assessment methods

Each module has a written assignment and all assignments are based on students own practice. There is a free choice of topics (but some of the learning outcomes of the module must be met through the assignment). Suggestions for suitable topics will be made.

For example, for the first module:

Level H AdCert (3,000 words)
Choose an aspect of your own practice in SLD/ PMLD and reflect on it in the light of theory. Evaluate the success of your current ways of working and make recommendations for the future. You could focus on either an individual child/ adult or on a small group.

Level M PGCert, PGDip, MEd (4,000 words)
Critically analyse the current theoretical discourse on a personally chosen aspect of working with learners with SLD/ PMLD and in the light of this, rigorously reflect on and evaluate your practice and/ or the practice in your organisation. Make sure that you provide a sound rationale for any plans for the future.

This programme is for a range of professionals and practitioners who work with children and adults with learning difficulties in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/ PMLD, including autism where is overlaps). Most learners with SLD/ PMLD  use specialist services such as special schools or colleges but some use inclusive services in nurseries, mainstream schools or community education and the programme will cover issues for staff who work in any of these services and has particular emphasis on working together to meet needs.

Comments from former students

Thanks again for such a wonderful weekend of campus study. Fascinating, rigorous and inspiring.

I just wanted to email to say a massive thank you for last weekend. You really are so inspiring and I left feeling very refreshed. It is so nice to be around other professionals who understand and have the same teaching approaches as myself.