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

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 a summary of the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties programme (PDF, 167KB)

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

This part-time programme is 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.

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 is available for those with certificates and diplomas (eg: HND, NVQ level 4/5, Foundation degree), whereas Level M 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.

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!

Four students on the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties course share their views on why they chose the course, what they enjoy about it and also provide details of their background in relation to SPMLD.

Aims of the Programme

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

Awards

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

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: Developing Innovations 

SLD/ PMLD: Enhancing Quality


Students who wish to carry on and gain BPhil or MEd will need to complete a practical project (Special Studies) and a dissertation.

For those students who decide to who study for the MEd, the Practitioner Inquiry in Education (PIE) will also need to be completed.  

Fees and funding

Fees 2016 - 2017

Home/EU

  • Code 8884 AdCert part time £2,190
  • Code 8895 PGCert part time £2,190
  • Code 8896 PGDip part time £2,190
  • Code 8897 MEd part time £2,190

Overseas 

  • Code 8884 AdCert part time £6,930
  • Code 8895 PGCert part time £4,950
  • Code 8896 PGDip part time £4,950
  • Code 8897 MEd part time £4,950

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 2016. 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

The new postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced for students commencing in the 2016-17 academic year. The government-backed student loans 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.

2016-2017

  • Module 1: Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd October 2016
  • Module 2: Friday 17th - Sunday 19th February 2017
  • Module 3: Friday 26th - Sunday 28th May 2017 

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. 

2017-2018

  • Special studies 2 day study course: October 2017 (exact dates TBC)
  • PIE/ dissertation 2 day study course: April 2018 (exact dates TBC)

 

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.