University of Chester

Programme Specification
Special Educational Needs & Disability in Further and Higher Education PGCert
2015 - 2016

Postgraduate Certificate

Special Educational Needs & Disability in Further and Higher Education

SEN&D in Further and Higher Education

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester campuses;  educational and professional settings

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Triannual - January - May - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Education & Children's Services Academic and Professional Programmes

QAA (2010) Master’s Degree characteristics

Academic and Professional Programmes Postgraduate Module Assessment Board

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

  • To enhance skills, knowledge and understanding about Special Educational Needs (SEN) in a climate of change.
  • To employ a practice-based approach to professional development which will improve outcomes and real-life chances  young people with SEN.
  • To add capacity to professional potential in Higher Education and Further Education (FE) settings.


At the end of the programme students will have:

  • Critically engaged with policy and practice and demonstrated informed perspectives about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in FE and HE educational settings.
  • Interrogated, examined and applied a range of theoretical ideas and frameworks for thinking conceptually about the process of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in different contexts.
  • Developed key knowledge, understanding and skills in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
  • Identified approaches to promote and evaluate impact, influence and outcomes.

In all taught modules

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Critically engaged with theoretical frameworks and literature;
  • Harnessed insights into subject knowledge;
  • Critically reflected on the ways in which research methodology supports professional enquiry;
  • Applied critical considerations when undertaking research;
  • Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.

(CD7710, CD7711, CD7712)

In all taught modules

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

  • Made critical use of research evidence;
  • Formulated valid conclusions that link theory to practice;
  • Thought independently about essential issues, concepts and ideas.

Improving own learning and performance

  • Critically reflected on professional practice;
  • Developed new pedagogical and leadership skills;
  • Used initiative and managed own learning;
  • Made independent use of supervision.

Problem solving

  • Generated and applied new knowledge;
  • Analysed complex concepts.

(CD7710, CD7711, CD7712)

In all taught modules

Practical Skills

  • Critically reflected upon aspects of professional practice in the light of key theoreticalperspectives;
  • Made effectual use of professional learning to assess impact on practice.

Transferable Professional Skills

The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development

Working with others

  • Engaged in group presentations and disseminations;
  • Worked with professional colleagues to share ideas, research and good practice

(CD7710, CD7711, CD7712)

Key Skills in all taught modules


  • Written to academic standards required at level 7;
  • Engaged in meaningful debate and critical discussion;
  • Read critically;
  • Synthesised written and oral information;
  • Maintained a learning journal where appropriate.


Application of Number

  • Selected and used appropriate research methodology, methods and applications for data handling.

Information Literacy and Technology

  • Used the University's VLE to access information;
  • Used electronic research skills;
  • Accessed databases for research and information;
  • Used the University's e-Portfolio to maintain a professional learning journal where appropriate.

(CD7710, CD7711, CD7712)

The Postgraduate Certificate Special Educational Needs & Disability in Further and Higher Education will be of interest to those working in FE, HE and Adult contexts including those supporting young people and adults in transition to independent living or employment.

There are 3 x 20 credit core modules, all at level 7 of the FHEQ.

CD7710: Aspects and Impact of Neurodiversity in Education, Training and Employment considers Specific Learning Difficulties from a Post16 perspective and the legislative framework for disability including the nine protected areas of employment.

CD7711: Adapting to Specific Needs in Education, Training and Employment examines the ways in which barriers to participation can be removed and offers an opportunity for students to engage with a new theoretical framework through which to respond to disability issues with a considered, legitimate rationale.

CD7712: Enabling Access to Education, Training and Employment, considers how prevailing negative attitudes to disabled people in training and the workplace create significant barriers to equity, inclusion and participation and challenge concepts of adulthood, independence and human rights.


Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
CD7710 7 Aspects and Impact of Neurodiversity in Education, Training and Employment 20 Comp
CD7711 7 Adapting to Specific Needs in Education, Training and Employment 20 Comp
CD7712 7 Enabling Access to Education, Training and Employment 20 Comp

60 credits at Level 7 (CD7710, CD7711, CD7712) entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate Special Educational Needs and Disability in Further and Higher Education


The Postgraduate Certificate SEN&D in Further and Higher Education is open to graduates usually with a teaching qualification who have professional experience in working with children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. 

Applicants will normally be working in, or aspiring to, a leadership role in an SEN context or, wishing to acquire specialist knowledge and skills.

International students will need to evidence a recent IELTS score of no less than 7.0

There are no QAA benchmark statements for postgraduate study specific to Education. The Postgraduate Certificate draws on and extends the QAA (2010) Master's degree characteristics at Level 7 assuring the achievements represented by the qualification are appropriate and represented consistently.

Postgraduate awards at level 7 are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of research around educational leadership
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship
  • Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge about leadership
  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship about leadership and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level
  • Continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.

The Postgraduate Certificate SEN&D in Further and Higher Education aims to develop an individual's professional knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to special education in their current context by building on the significant experience and expertise which they will bring with them to the course.

At the heart of all teaching and learning on the Postgraduate Certificate SEN&D in Further and Higher Education are the essential skills of critical analysis and reflection. The programme's learning and teaching strategies aim to enable students to draw on the knowledge and experience they gain in the context of their own professional environment in order to draw out the learning and to help them to link this to theory, research and policy. In doing so, a reflective and critical approach to professional issues and concerns is fostered. To do this, tutors will provide 'safe' opportunities for views and beliefs to be discussed and challenged and for both understanding and insight to be achieved. In particular students will consider personal constructions of difference.

Approaches used on the programme are informed by accepted adult learning principles and learning and teaching methods  are designed to engage self-directed learners in utilising previous and current experience  to address real-life issues and approaches to problem solving in their own workplace. This  approach is characterised by reflective, active learning, participative group work and creative methods of encouraging learning, together with the setting of tasks that are relevant to the individual student's needs.  A range of methodologies is employed which takes account of best practice and is compliant and the Faculty's Pedagogical Position Statement (2015). 

These methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Group work
  • Presentations, discussions, debates
  • Directed tasks
  • Written assignments
  • Independent research
  • Setting-based teaching and learning activities
  • Personal contextualised reflection
  • Individual or group tutorials
  • Students leading parts of sessions
  • Formative self- and peer assessment
  • Use of the University 's Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) including dedicated module sites providing a range of specific materials to support learning.

Blended learning

Learning undertaken at the University is in a technology-rich environment that creates a flexible approach to learning for part-time students.

We will maximise the advantages of module learning spaces for group and individual online activity linked to learning tasks. Reflection and online aspects of teaching, learning and assessment will increase in line with the advancement of the University's VLE. We are committed to offering a range of teaching and learning experiences and will continue to accommodate face-to-face interaction, peer learning and group work.

The Faculty of Education and Children's Services is committed to principles of assessment set out in the Handbook of Requirements Governing the Assessment of Students.


The Postgraduate Certificate employs assessment tasks A and C

Essay and analytical case study

Holders of the qualification will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for leading special educational provision in FE/ HE educational and other settings requiring the exercise of initiative and responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations. They will work from a value system that respects individual differences in children and young people and has a empathetic understanding of family and cultural diversity.

Students will be knowledgeable, reflective professionals with a commitment to their own continuing professional development and that of others.

The University of Chester is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

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