PgCert in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs

Across the globe schools are seeking dynamic and highly qualified teachers to support pupils learning into the future.

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long-standing reputation as a centre of excellence for teacher training programmes and research in a wide range of areas of educational practice and policy.

This programme is designed to supplement professionals already working in the field. In general, this includes: teachers, education advisors, special educational needs coordinators, head teachers in schools, managers of community and charitable organisations (NGOs), support workers in places such as a university or workplace disability service unit, social workers or nurses providing care for persons with disabilities, or a staff member of a Ministry of Education or Ministry of Health, amongst other things. 

Staff within the School of Education have been working closely with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which is responsible for the growth and quality of education, on the development of this high-quality teacher training programme which leads to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate (PGCE).

The teacher training programme, which has been approved by KHDA, will support the Ministry of Education's aim of enhancing the status of teachers in the UAE and provide opportunities to share the School’s high quality provision internationally.

Further information

Alternatively view General FAQs for the University of Birmingham Dubai.

If you are a student or teacher and wish to receive further information and updates about this teacher training programme, please register your interest with Dr Christine Szwed, Strategic Director of Overseas Programmes (Dubai). Email

Mohammad Abdullah

Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City

“As Dubai International Academic City celebrates a decade of excellence, we are honoured to welcome one of the world’s top 100 universities, University of Birmingham, to our vibrant and diverse higher education community. University of Birmingham’s commitment to knowledge transfer through cutting-edge research makes it an ideal partner of choice, contributing to the enhancement of the UAE’s vision of creating innovative and enduring solutions that meet the demands of key sectors of development such as STEM and Education.”

The Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (ISEN) programme is a 60-credit postgraduate certificate designed for in-service teachers, school leaders, education policy leaders, and others working directly or indirectly with children with disabilities in the UAE, the UK, and around the world.

The ISEN programme is a synthesis of topics, specifically: cross-cultural disability theory, inclusive policy and evaluation, and inclusive classroom practices. Students in the ISEN PgCert programme will take three 20-credit modules over the course of 1 year:

  • Cross-Cultural Issues in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Inclusion: Individual and Group Differences
  • Evaluation and Policy Analysis for Inclusive Education

Through our teacher training courses we will help you become aware of issues relating to planning lessons, assessment, the difference between telling students information and teaching students, standard misconceptions students have about mathematics topics, how different approaches to teaching a topic can change the learning experience for students and how choice of resources and technology can change the sort of mathematics with which students engage.

We have an excellent record of students gaining teaching jobs at the end of the course. Our teacher training programme is designed to meet recognised teacher standards in the UAE and UK and time is spent in placement schools to develop the necessary experience and skills.

Why study this course

  • ·         Increase knowledge and awareness of inclusion and special educational needs to support all students in the classroom
  • ·         Understand cross-cultural and global issues in inclusion and special educational needs
  • ·         Learn from globally-recognised experts on inclusion and special educational needs
  • ·         Develop assignments and projects to support Continuing Professional Development (CPD) portfolios
  • ·         Opportunity to progress to PgDip and MEd in ISEN (based at the UK campus, but offered online)
  • ·         The programme has been approved by KHDA



The ISEN programme is taught through a blended approach of digital and face-to-face learning. Students will engage in one module per term and modules are designed on activity and project-based learning strategies that engage students to reflect on, and innovate, their professional practices to promote the inclusion of all students.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee which is (TBC Octboer 2018) for 2019/20 entry.


There is no bursary for these courses but there is a chance to apply for a scholarship. Find out more about the scholarships

Entry requirements

To be considered by the University of Birmingham you will need to meet our general entry requirements. 

Applicants for this programme are expected to have an undergraduate degree and relevant professional experience, training, or other qualifications and experience deemed suitable for entry onto this programme. The minimum undergraduate degree result must be at least a 2:1 or equivalent (GPA 3.0/4.0; or 75%). In order to undertake the ISEN programme of study, you will need to demonstrate that you have a fluent level of written and spoken English. You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS or alternative qualifications (TOEFL, PTE, Cambridge English). The minimum IELTS score for consideration is 6.5, with a 7.5 and above preferred.

If you are unsure about the equivalences of your qualifications do get in touch with us as Admissions tutors are happy to consider applications on a case by case basis. 

Find out more about international entry requirements 

All shortlisted candidates who meet the criteria will be invited to an interview in either Dubai , Birmingham or by SKYPE.

Additional information:

As part of the admissions process you will need to provide the following information on your application form. 

  • Name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Country of residence
  • A personal statement
  • Evidence of your qualifications
  • References 

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should outline your previous academic achievements and experience of working with children. It should include details of any schools you are already working in or schools you are associated with. You should also include details of what you to gain from the course and how it will help you develop as a teacher (approximately 500 - 700 words). 

Evidence of qualifications

You need to supply evidence or transcripts of your degree in the medium of English as specified by the entry requirements outlined on the course page. This will normally be a minimum of a 2.2 or equivalent. 

You will also need to provide evidence that you achieved 6.5 (5.5 in each subject) in your IELTS test. For those without a first degree studied in the medium of English an IELTS score of 6.5 is required.


Two references will be required one academic and one professional. The references should provide supporting evidence in relation to the personal statement and suitability for the course. You will therefore need to approach your referees to ensure that you are able to provide current contact details. 

How to apply

To find out more information about our application process please visit our 'How to apply page' before starting your application. 

Applications for this programme open in October 2018.

The programme is founded on our long-standing expertise in teacher education and combine the phase, curriculum and learning and teaching expertise of specialist tutors with centre-based training at the University.

A variety of teaching styles and approaches to learning are used in the programmes. These include university-based lectures, small group seminars and workshops, school-based work with pupils and teachers, and work undertaken individually or with other groups of students.

Specialist university tutors are experts in their field and lead dedicated subject programmes. Assessment is based on coursework undertaken during the year.

The ‘whole school issues’ part of the teacher training programme is concerned with aspects of education that are of importance to all intending teachers, irrespective of their particular teaching subjects. It is designed to provide a breadth of awareness, depth of insight and development of skills through a range of themes studied by all students.

As the University of the Year for Graduate Employment in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015-16, Birmingham is the UK’s number one university for securing a graduate-level job. Your University of Birmingham qualification is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. 

Helena - Mathematics

“I decided to train to teach at the University of Birmingham, largely because of the reputation it has. I know that teachers who qualify from here are very highly respected and are snapped up very quickly in terms of getting jobs.”

Helena Mandleberg, Alumni, School of Education