Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities

MEd/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate/BPhil/Advanced Certificate

Start date
September
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning
Fees

2020 - 2021
£3,300 (Home/EU)
£9,060 AdCert/BPhil (Overseas)
£6,150 PGCert/PGDip/MEd (Overseas)
More Fees and funding details.

This programme has been developed for a range of professionals/practitioners who work with children and adults with learning disabilities in educational settings across the severe and profound range (SLD/ PMLD) including autism (where it overlaps with SLD/ PMLD).

The University of Birmingham is a renowned and long-lasting provider of courses on SLD/PMLD from undergraduate to postgraduate level. The Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (SPMLD) programme is one of the leading programmes in this specific field both nationally and internationally.

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 Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities 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.

Each module on the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities programme contains a 2-3 day highly recommended campus study course where you will have the chance to be taught by academics from the University of Birmingham and other institutions as well as frontline practitioners, parents, individuals with learning difficulties, former students of our courses, and well-know training providers. For example Peter ImrayDave Hewett, Jean Ware, Flo Longhorn, Catherine Edwards, Liz HodgesNeil Hall and Joanna Grace.

Awards

To meet the needs of the wide range of people working with learners with SLD/ PMLD, the programme is available at more than one entry level. The lectures, seminars and online content contains 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. 

AdCert

The Level H Advanced Certificate (AdCert) is an undergraduate award. It is for those with certificates and diplomas eg: HND, NVQ level 4/5, Foundation degree. It lasts 12 months part-time and consists of 3 modules (Total of 60 credits). 

BPhil

The Level H Advanced Certificate (BPhil) is the equivalent to the third year of Undergraduate Study. It is for those with certificates and diplomas eg: HND, NVQ level 4/5, Foundation degree. It lasts 24 months part-time and consists of 3 modules together with Special Studies and a dissertation (Total of 120 credits). 

PGCert

The Level M Postgraduate Certficate (PGCert) is a postgraduate award and it is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). It lasts 12 months part-time and consists of 3 modules (Total of 60 credits).

PGDip 

The Level M Postgraduate Diploma Certificate (PGDip) is a postgraduate award and it is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). The PGDip is taken over 24 months and consists of 3 modules, together with Special Studies (40 credits) and an optional module (20 credits) (Total of 120 credits).

MEd

The Level M Masters of Education (MEd) is a postgraduate award and it is available for those who have an honours degree (or equivalent). The MEd is taken over 36 months part-time. It consists of 3 modules, plus Special Studies (40 credits), the ‘Practitioner Inquiry in Education’ module (preparation for dissertation) plus a dissertation (Total of 180 credits).

Admissions Tutor and Programme Lead

Dr Lila Kossyvaki
Email: a.kossyvaki@bham.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1214143464

Additional programmes which cover multisensory impairments

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

Modules

The Modules

Each of the three core modules (each worth 20 credits) cover 5 themes related to the education of learners with severe and profound learning disabilities (SLD/ PMLD). The modules are free-standing and can be studied in any order. For the written assignments in each module, you will be expected to complete around '200 hours of student effort’.

The themes are:

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

SLD/ PMLD: Reflective Practice

SLD/ PMLD: Enhancing Quality

SLD/ PMLD: Developing Innovations 

For those 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.  

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can help you make other choices.

Fees

Fees 2020 - 2021

Home/EU

  • Code 417D AdCert £3,300
  • Code 420D BPhil £3,300
  • Code 115D PGCert £3,300
  • Code 114D PGDip £3,300
  • Code 113D MEd £3,300

Overseas 

  • Code 417D AdCert £9,060
  • Code 420D BPhil  £9,060
  • Code 115D PGCert £6,150
  • Code 114D PGDip £6,150
  • Code 113D MEd £6,150

Fees for part-time programmes are based on students studying 60 credits per year. The fees shown above are the first year fees for students starting their courses September in 2020.

For further information on international tuition fees please view our fees for international students webpage.

Learn more about fees and funding

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

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 £10,906 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. 

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. 


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to eligible financial support via the Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan for the duration of their course. For more information visit the gov.uk website.

You can also visit our EU Referendum information page for more information and updates.

How To Apply

We advise applicants to apply as soon as possible in order to help ensure a smooth admissions process and a swift start to the programme in September.

Monday 1 July 2020 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2020 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is 10 September 2020.

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

Our Standard 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.

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.   

International Requirements


The Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities distance learning programme will enable you to study systematically, critically and in-depth, aspects of educating children and adults with severe, profound and multiple learning disabilities that are relevant to your own practice. As the SPMLD 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). 

In the three videos below, students on the Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities programme share their views on why they choose the course and what they enjoy about it.

Study weekends

The Study Weekends are not mandatory but they are strongly recommended. If one is missed for unavoidable reasons then you can attend in the following year. However, if you opt out you need to be aware that you are missing a lot in terms of tutorial time as well as networking with speakers and colleagues from schools and colleges. 

It is highly recommended that if you wish to undertake the programme, you attend at least the first weekend in October 2019. If this is not possible, you will need to contact the SPMLD Programme Lead, Dr Lila Kossyvaki, via email, phone or skype, before the start of the course.

The SPMLD Resiential Weekends for 2019/20 will be taking place on the following dates:

Year One

  • 16th-18th October 2020
  • 12th-14th February 2021
  • 14th-16th May 2021 

Each module in year one contains a 3 day study weekend. 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.

Year Two

  • 16th-17th October 2020
  • 14th-15th May 2021

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 study weekends usually take place at the beginning of October and after Easter.

Accommodation

Assistance with booking overnight accommodation in the area is provided for students who live too far from the campus to travel daily.   

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 during the campus weekends and online.

Assessment

Each module has a written assignment and all assignments are based on your 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.

FAQ

Can I apply for the AdCert, PGCert or PGDip, and later transfer to a higher qualification?

Yes - Halfway through the first year of study students will be asked whether they wish to extend their registration to work towards a further award.

Can I apply for a Level M programme if I have a 2:1?

You need to hold a 2:1 first degree (e.g. bachelor's degree), as well as have relevant experience with learners who have SLD/PMLD and access to at least one learner with SLD/PMLD during these modules. However, there are exceptions under certain circumstances so if you are unsure please get in touch with the Programme Lead, Dr Lila Kossyvaki. Further information on Entry requirements.

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 with 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.