Teachers of Children with Hearing Impairment MEd/Postgraduate Diploma

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

This programme approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) for training teachers of deaf children seeking the Mandatory (MQ) qualification is offered as a distance learning course. Successful completion of this programme leads to General Teaching Council recognition as a qualified teacher of the deaf. An alternative programme is also open to teachers (as well as other professionals with appropriate qualifications) working with children and young people with hearing impairment who are not seeking the MQ.  

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

This distance learning programme approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has been offered at the University of Birmingham since 1989. It is open to teachers who are qualified to teach learners in England (from 0 to 25 years of age) who wish to gain the mandatory qualification of teacher of the deaf. The programme aims to equip teachers who are already qualified to teach learners in England to meet the relevant NCTL standards to achieve qualified teacher of the deaf status.

It is also open to other professionals who do not wish, or are not eligible, to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status – for example lecturers of deaf students, communication support workers and educational psychologists. Applicants who are not qualified teachers of school-aged pupils may take the University (non mandatory) Award but will not be eligible to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status from the NCTL.

Study is supported through study packs, tutorial groups, telephone, email, web based learning and online materials, and through an allocated tutor in a small tutorial group which allows students to learn with each other. Internet access is required for the programme. There is a University based study week in January each year, at which attendance is compulsory. 

Students who successfully complete all modules for the Postgraduate Diploma may choose to transfer to the MEd.

You may also be interested in four of our other programmes:


Under the University modular system, the Postgraduate Diploma Programme of Study comprises five modules; four 20 credit taught modules and one 40 credit practical module. A further module is required for the mantatory qualification.

Educational Audiology

Language and Communication in Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Pupils

The Development of Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Children

The Educational Management of Deaf and Hearing Impaired Pupils

Teaching and Learning in Deaf Education

Assessed Teaching Placement Those teachers who wish to obtain the mandatory qualification of teacher of the deaf need to undertake this further module.

Students who complete all parts of the programme including the optional module will gain a total of 140 credits rather than the 120 credits required for a PG Diploma.

Related staff

Fees and funding

Fees 2018 - 2019


Mandatory qualification

  • Code 2863 PGDip £4,002

Non Mandatory qualification

  • Code 7094 PGDip £3,348
  • Code 7044 MEd £3,450


International students may only apply for the non Mandatory qualification.

Non Mandatory qualification

  • Code 7094 PGDip £5,430
  • Code 7044 MEd £5,430

Fees for distance learning 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 2018 and fees may change in subsequent years.

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 postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK provides up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning. 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 Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries. 

Entry requirements

Please refer to the School of Education entry requirements web page. Additionally, candidates wishing to gain recognition from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) as a qualified teacher of the deaf must be teachers who are qualified to teach learners in England (from 0 to 25 years of age) and are expected to have a minimum of two years teaching or other appropriate professional experience prior to commencing the programme. In exceptional circumstances, applications will be considered from those who do not meet this criterion. Please note that for enrollment onto this course, Early Years Teaching Status does NOT count as qualified teacher status (QTS).

The course is designed for practising teachers, and some of the course materials are written in a way that assumes regular contact with deaf pupils. Applicants who do not have regular contact with deaf pupils will need to establish links with a local school for the deaf, resource base or service for deaf pupils during the programme to enable them to carry out some of the required activities.

Students wishing to gain the mandatory qualification who do not have regular contact with deaf pupils will normally be required to complete a period of ten days observation in an educational setting for deaf pupils in addition to the normal periods of assessed teaching. Each case will be considered on an individual basis


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

Nature of the Programme

Those candidates who successfully complete the Postgraduate Diploma may use this as credits towards the degree of MEd. The course content is identical for both levels of study, but students studying for the higher Postgraduate Diploma level will be expected to submit assignments which are both longer and display a greater degree of reflection and insight.

This is a distance education programme and regular attendance at the University is not required. Course content is embodied in a series of written and online course Units with accompanying recommended reading and resource materials. Attendance is compulsory at two annual Residential Schools at the University of Birmingham, and students are expected to attend seminars/workshops held in the students’ region. The most common pattern is six seminars lasting three hours each academic year, held on Saturdays, but there may be some regional groups may negotiate a different pattern. Regional tutors are appointed by the University to organise regional seminars and help in course assessment.

The Residential Schools provide opportunities for demonstrations and practice in the use of materials and equipment, lectures, discussions and tutorials.

The residential dates are:

8-12th January 2018. 
2019 TBC


Support for Deaf and Disabled students

The University of Birmingham welcomes applications from deaf and disabled students.  We strongly encourage students applying to this course who may require support (including communication support) or who may require reasonable adjustments to be made as a result of a physical, sensory, mental health or learning support need to register with the disability, learning support and mental health team. Eligible students are also encouraged to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) which may provide funding towards equipment, software and support where required.    

Support for all Students

The University appoints Honorary Tutors who are responsible for organising and providing regional seminars for small groups of students. The University team works closely with these tutors to ensure an effective system of academic, practical and pastoral support. These seminars are essential components of the Programme of Study. Candidates must be prepared to undertake some travelling, within a region, in order to meet with their group.

Also, each student is expected to obtain the services of a local qualified teacher of the deaf who will act as a ‘mentor’ and assist them throughout the course. Mentors are asked to support the student in a number of ways, for example, setting ideas presented in the course materials within a local context, helping with the arrangements for visits, and facilitating access to equipment.

A further level of student support is offered via the programme’s elearning web pages, and students need to have access to the internet. Students must also have regular access to e-mail throughout the course.

The Role of the Education Authority/School

The employing authority/school in which the student is located needs to:

  • Identify for the University a qualified experienced teacher of deaf children who will act as mentor for the student (see above). On average approximately one hour a week of local support is needed. In some small schools and authorities it might be necessary to buy in this support. 
  • Release the candidate from teaching duties for at least half a day per week for work related to the Programme of Study and for the seventeen days practical placement during year 1.
  • Release the candidate for the two annual Residential Schools.
  • Note that as the regional seminars, the visits programme and teaching placements may involve considerable travelling for the student, and authorities might wish to cost such travelling into their estimates for the total cost of the course.

The Teaching Placement

Those teachers who wish to obtain the mandatory qualification of teacher of the deaf will need to undertake a teaching placement.

Tutor Angela Wootten 

Student Chris Mackintosh

Assessment methods

Assessment is organised on a modular basis. Each of the taught modules has an assessed written assignment. The teaching and learning module is examined by an assignment, plus a portfolio comprising an activities file, a log of observations and visits, and evidence of successful completion of a practical test of audiology skills.

The assessed teaching module requires pass grades on the practical teaching and the teaching files, as well as a pass grade on a 2,000 word assignment, evidence of INSET work, and evidence of signing competence equivalent to CACDP/Signature Stage 1 (or SLA 1 for students from Ireland).

Practical Work

An integral part of the programme is the school-based work. All students are required to complete in their own time a programme of visits to educational establishments for deaf pupils, and clinics concerned with diagnosis of hearing impairment and prescription of hearing aids. The log of these visits and observations is assessed as part of the Teaching and Learning in Deaf Education module.

Students taking the Assessed Teaching Placement module are required to complete two periods of assessed teaching totalling approximately 40 days of teaching over the two years of the course. For those working as teachers of the deaf the second of these placements will normally be in their own place of work. Students must be prepared to undertake some travelling in order to fulfil the requirements of this element of the programme.

Release for Observations/Visits/Private Study

Course members are expected to be released from their normal duties for the equivalent of least half a day per week. Some of this time will be taken up with visits and observations, and the rest will be used for private study.

The MEd and PGDip for Teachers of Children with Hearing Impairment is ideal for teachers who are already qualified to teach school-aged children in England but require the mandatory qualification to achieve qualified teacher of the deaf status from the General Teaching Council for England. The non mandatory MEd and PGDip qualification is suitable for professionals who do not wish, or are not eligible, to obtain qualified teacher of the deaf status – for example lecturers of deaf students, communication support workers and educational psychologists.

There is the opportunity to work towards a further professional qualification in the field of Education both within schools and in other settings, including progression to a PhD or EdD. The excellent careers advice provided by personal tutors has encouraged many of our graduates to successfully apply for leadership roles working with hearing impaired children and young people. These include: specialist teachers, educational audiologists, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists, youth workers, social workers, counsellors and BSL interpreters.