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SEN qualifications

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by punch1966, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Dear all,
    I am interested in furthering my career in SEN and looking at qualifications which will help my future prospects. I have carried out research looking into the different courses/qualifications available - The MA in SEN at Nottingham Trent looks interesting. Are there other courses which people recommend for someone new to the SENCO role (currently sharing the role with a colleague). I am a little concerned looking from the worklife balance angle seemingly having little time as it is.
    Thankyou very much

  2. Dear all,
    I am interested in furthering my career in SEN and looking at qualifications which will help my future prospects. I have carried out research looking into the different courses/qualifications available - The MA in SEN at Nottingham Trent looks interesting. Are there other courses which people recommend for someone new to the SENCO role (currently sharing the role with a colleague). I am a little concerned looking from the worklife balance angle seemingly having little time as it is.
    Thankyou very much

  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    When I transferred from MFL to SEN in the mid-1970s I did the Open University Advanced Diploma in Special Needs in Education and can heartily recommend it. I've a couple of Masters degrees, awarded after part-time study in the 1980s and 1990s, one in German and another in comparative education and I can honestly say that neither made one iota of difference in terms of career advancement. Do a Masters for its own sake, for personal fulfilment, to exercise your brain muscles. Don't do one solely in the hope of better career prospects. If you want the latter, opt instead for a lower-level course that will give you better work/life balance and enable you, say, to administer and interpret objective test results for exam candidates who are eligible for access arrangements.
  4. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Sorry, got my dates wrong, I meant to say that I transferred from MFL to SEN in the mid-1990s and did my OU AdvDipEd in SEN then, so it should be still available.
  5. Dodros,

    Thankyou very much for your reply and your advice. I would like to do a Masters but maybe I will start it once I have a few years Senco experience under my belt. Any chance you could recommend a good lower level course for someone in my position?
    Thanks again
  6. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Have a look at the Open University Advanced Diploma in Special Needs in Education, Punch1966. It gave me the confidence and the knowledge to proceed from MFL to SEN when I did it in the mid-1990s. It took two years to complete part-time and I obtained a "waiver" for my previous qualifications so that I didn't have to do a third course to get the AdvDipEd. I believe the credits accrued with the latter qualification can be put towards a Masters if you still want that higher degree. My school helped me with the fees for the Advanced Diploma because the award was seen to "shoe-horn" me into my new role as a SEN teacher. Masters degrees, on the other hand, are sometimes viewed as more beneficial to the individual than to the institution. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!
  7. Dodros,
    Thanks for your help but unfortunately I spoke to the OU yesterday and the Advanced Diploma in SEN is no longer available. The person I spoke to was unsure as to why the course has been withdrawn. I am sure there will be a suitable course for me.
    Kind Regards

  8. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I'm amazed to hear that the course has been discontinued! I've just been on the OU website and the "Special Needs/Inclusive Education" at
    describes an "Advanced Diploma in Equality and Diversity". This sounds like a successor course to the Special Needs in Education one, with a new emphasis on "inclusive education", the more so because I recall the phrase "Equality and Diversity" appearing in the name of OU coursebooks I used on my own course. The change of name may have something to do with progression from narrower "special needs" matters to broader "inclusion" issues in education. Anyway, have a look the offering on that web page and see if it's along the lines of what you're looking for.
  9. Is the PGCE professional studies (Senco) available through your LA? It is 5 full days attendance over 5 months and passed by the production of a reflective portfolio. I enjoyed it. It count towards a Masters if you want to continue.
  10. aowensey

    aowensey New commenter

    I started the OU's Advanced Diploma in Special Needs Ed last year - did one of the courses - Inclusive Education and found it excellent, now doing Child Development. Yes the title has changed but the content is probably very similar. It has certainly helped me as a class teacher and now as a SENCo and it's been very enjoyable too. Good luck in whatever you decide.
  11. Hi,
    Have you considered doing the Level 5 certificate in Teaching Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties (OCR) ot the Level 7 diploma? A couple of people on my course did both at the same time while holding down jobs as SENCo but that would really throw work/life balance! I did the Certificate and loved every minute - hoping to do the Diploma next year.
    Hope you enjoy it, whatever path you choose to take!

  12. flora1980

    flora1980 New commenter

    Dear all,

    I am a drama teacher and want to do the SENCO course. Is there an accredited course which doesn't require to be working in a school while you do it? I work in Southampton at the moment but I am planning to move in July and might not find a job easily...especially in drama..

    Any ideas would be really helpful!

    Thank you
  13. helen_tillinghast

    helen_tillinghast New commenter

    You can't do the SENCO course without the backing of a headteacher even online suppliers like REALTRAINING require a SIGNED waiver from the head saying he will support you unfortunately. I'm in a similar predicament where I've been in a job for a while and want to try that route and because we've an encumbent he won't sign off. You need to be in a post to accommodate the course anyway as you have to case studies.
    MarieAnn18 likes this.
  14. marmalade123

    marmalade123 New commenter

    LaraLeeds and JulesDaulby like this.
  15. Urbanfaerie

    Urbanfaerie Occasional commenter

    Can I suggest that if you want to learn something to help with SEN but don't want a full on MA then courses like BSL, Braille etc would probably help. It'd mean you were able to offer specialist knowledge when working with students.
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  16. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Have a look at the OCR Level 5 & 7 quals too - they are really useful for SEND and literacy
  17. longchenpa

    longchenpa New commenter

    I am just coming to the end of my first year on the M.ed Languages, Literacies and Dyslexia at Birmingham University. At the end of this year we get a PGCE and AMBDA. (See link below)

    It is a very tough but rewarding course. You need huge stamina and the total support of your head to do this course. In module 1 it's pretty manageable. Your do reading and research on typical and atypical literacy development and you need 2 case study students. One developing typically and one who has a reading and learning difficulty. This module is assessed via a 4'000 paper where you need to weave in the case study results to the theory/literature.

    Module 2 is tough. Here we had to read, research and learn all about testing. Psychometric testing and statistics. We needed to get 100% in a statistics test before we were able to progress on in the module. We had to write test reports of 5 or 6 of the tests used in diagnosing dyslexia (including one intelligence test) and be really familiar with the literature and research around critically looking at definitions of Dyslexia particularly those using IQ discrepancy. We then had to have access to 3 students all with Dyslexia and then we had to carry out a full and thorough assessment on each one including the entire battery of tests (CTOPP, WRAT-2, DASH, WRIT, etc) the assessment needed to also contain classroom observations, informal interviews, interviews with teachers - qualitative data. This took many many hours. You need to have signed consent and permission from students, parents, teachers, head teachers, the institution. You need to send hours of video recordings of you carrying out the tests to the University for assessment. Finally you need to write a 4'000 paper looking critically at the whole are of assessment.

    The final module is intervention. You need to read up on all the research, then develop 30 hours of one to one intervention for 3 different students (2 of which should be the same as the students you assessed). You need to have a firm understanding of the principles of intervention, phonics, the 3 strand approach and your interventions need to be suitable for you teaching context. My context is secondary so for sure you cannot just sit and go through a published reading programme or phonics programme with the students. The lessons need to be tailored to that students assessment and needs. You must address literacy/subject demands too. You have to send in DVD's of you teaching each learner. You need detailed lesson plans, in depth reflections after each and every lesson and then a teaching diary where you have to weave in all the reading you do with your teaching and development. It is a massive undertaking. For me at least 22 hours a week on top of a full time job! But I have to say, it is worth it and if you have (and you MUST have) the support of your boss/head and teachers, it is well worth doing.

    JulesDaulby likes this.
  18. muncher444

    muncher444 New commenter

    Thank you for all those fine details of what the course entails. I enjoyed reading it and hats off to you too for continuing with all that intensive study along with a job. I start a new role as an SEN Teacher end of August. I spent two days getting to know the students I will support and teach. (upper school) my oldest is 17. I am very familiar with and have used Jolly phonics and Read Write Ink teaching across all 1-5 phases in Primary.I am feeling a little apprehensive, nervous, and of course excited, and would just like to ask if there is anything you could share to enable me to support their limited language and encourage saying full sentences. In 2005 -7 I trained to be an Occupational Therapist and completed the course up to Diploma level. Clinical Reasoning Skills have been a great bonus for me in an SEN environment. Good luck with the rest of your course.
    MarieAnn18 and JulesDaulby like this.
  19. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Occupational therapy training should come in useful when addressing the needs of the growing number of school students with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders.
    MarieAnn18 and JulesDaulby like this.
  20. AadilaB

    AadilaB New commenter


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