Special Educational Needs Coordination (National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination)

The University of Birmingham is a Department for Education and National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) approved provider for the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.

It has been running accredited (Masters level) professional development programmes for special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCos) for over 15 years. Over a thousand SENCos have successfully completed their training over this period and given excellent course feedback!

The University runs partnership versions of the National Award for SEN Co-ordination course with the following Local Authority partners: Birmingham; Dudley, Sandwell & Wolverhampton (combined cohort); Staffordshire (Entrust). 

Within these Local Authority areas teachers wishing to apply for a place on the course work in a range of maintained mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, academy and free schools, and pupil referral units (PRUs).

SENCos working in other neighbouring Local Authority areas may also be able to join one of the partnership courses (in 2014-2015 for example, SENCos from Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Solihull, Telford and Wrekin and Warwickshire were participating in versions of the course).

This Masters level course (60 credits) has been updated to reflect changes to the NCTL learning outcomes framework. It is also closely aligned to the changes taking place to special educational needs and disability policy, provision and practice in England including the changes to SEN Code of Practice (2015).

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

We are currently recruiting for our January Start which takes place in Stafford.

 

 

The National Award is a mandatory qualification, 60 Credit Masters level course which all SENCos who are new in role must undertake. The course meets the requirements of the SEN Code of Practice (2015 Section 6.86). The law states that SENCos in all mainstream, state-funded English schools must either be “experienced”, hold the award, or be working towards the award. All prospective applicants must refer to the detailed eligibility criteria for the Award which is available in the how to apply section.

The training courses are 12 months in duration; however SENCos have up to three years from the point at which they are designated as a lead SENCo in which to complete the award. Final responsibility for ensuring the school’s compliance lies with the school’s governing body.

The course is designed to support a SENCo’s professional development, giving them an opportunity to reflect upon and improve their practice whilst learning more about the coordination of special educational needs, leadership and management, policy and supporting the individual needs of children and young people.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees 2016-17

Course code: 8905 £2,190 (Home/EU), £4,950 (overseas).

Sources of funding

Prospective students find their funding from a number of different sources:

  • Funding by employers or schools
  • Self funding
  • A combination of the above 

There is no central DFE funding available

Entry requirements

Applicants should be SENCos or aspirant SENCos. All applicants must have qualified teacher status (QTS) or be teachers with QTS working in pupil referral units.

As this course has been designed to enable participants to fulfil this strategic role, all applicants must have full support of their school leadership team and access to both an appropriate setting and relevant school based experiences.

Partnership programmes

The course is delivered as part of a partnership between The University of Birmingham and different local authorities and services. We welcome students from outside of these local authority areas.

‘Birmingham’ – This programme is delivered alongside Birmingham local authority. The course takes place in local authority centres in Birmingham and at the University of Birmingham. 

The next cohort for this partnership starts in September 2016.

‘Black Country’ – This programme is delivered alongside Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton local authorities. The course takes place in local authority centres in these localities and at the University of Birmingham.

The next cohort for this partnership starts in September 2016.

‘Staffordshire’ – This programme is delivered alongside Entrust (The traded arm of Staffordshire local authority) in Stafford.

The next cohort for this partnership starts in January 2017. 

Please make it clear in your application which version of the course you are applying for.   

How to apply

Please complete the online application ('Apply now').

Guidance to support completion of the registration form:

Personal Statement

Please record a brief statement of no more than 200 words describing your current role and also record your DfE teacher number in this section.

References

Upload a brief statement from your Headteacher or line manager to evidence their support for you to attend this programme. You do not need to upload a second reference.

Cohorts

We are currently recruiting for our cohort delivered in Stafford which will commence in January 2017

Our 2016 September start Birmingham based cohorts are now full. If you would like to register your interest for the September 2017 entry please contact the programme administrator on Senco@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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 course content is related to local and national contexts and the teaching and learning opportunities are delivered by local and nationally based experts such as experienced teachers, Educational Psychologists, school leaders, Inspectors, therapists and service leads.

The National Award covers: 

  • the role of the SENCo & the statutory framework for SEND (including relevant policy requirements) 
  • effective approaches to identification, assessment and intervention (principles and practice; differentiation – quality first teaching, waves of intervention, individualised education planning)
  • responding to diversity (areas of need) – cognition and learning; communication & interaction; social, emotional and mental health, sensory and/or physical needs 
  • pupil participation, parent partnership & inter-service collaboration 
  • inclusive provision management (effective use of human resources and interventions, and evidence based practice) 
  • developing and sustaining effective SEND leadership (preparation for inspection; whole-school initiatives such as Achievement for All) 
  • Professional development to improve practice. 

The teaching takes place over ten face to face days during term-time. The days are evenly spread over the school year and sessions are taught in local authority/school centres and at the University of Birmingham. In addition, all students have access to the online virtual learning environment and full library facilities to support their learning.   

Assessment

The assessments have been designed to meet the requirements of the course and enhance school self evaluation procedures.

Specific assignments - course participants all need to complete three 4000 word written assignments at Masters Level:

  • An evaluation: focusing on specific course content and aspects of the SENCo’s role and school based SEN procedures. 
  • A case study:  focusing on in-depth work with a young person and their family.
  • A professional development project presented as a brief ‘research report’ focusing on an aspect of professional development carried out by the SENCo in her/his school or setting.

This course will enable SENCos to meet essential requirements for undertaking the role in English schools. These requirements are set out in regulations and state that:

Governing bodies of maintained mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools and the proprietors of Academy (including Free Schools) must ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as SENCo for the school.

The SENCo must be a qualified teacher working at the school. A newly appointed SENCO must be a qualified teacher and where they have not previously been the SENCo at that or any other relevant mainstream school for a total period of more than twelve months , they must achieve the National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within 3 years of appointment.